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Excellence in Biotech Education Awarded at 2016 BIO International Convention


WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The BioGENEius Challenges and Leadership Awards are organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education, and will be announced during the 2016 BIO International Convention, which is being held June 6-9 in San Francisco. Generous support from sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.  

The Biotechnology Institute recognizes that its important constituencies aren’t just students that will be the future leaders of biotechnology, like the BioGENEius Challenge participants, but also those teachers, mentors and learning ecosystems that shape students’ education, and with them, their future and the future of biotechnology. 

The Biotechnology Institute formally recognizes those who expand our collective horizons of opportunity by inspiring the next generation of biotechnology innovators: 

  • The BioGENEius Hall of Fame Award honoring past finalists with a track record of outstanding accomplishments 
  • The BioGENEius Mentor Award honoring a STEM teacher or other significant influencer in the participating communities that serve the BioGENEius program 
  • The BioSTEM Leader Award honoring an outstanding K-12 school for their promotion and support of biotechnology education 

This year, the BioGENEius Hall of Fame Award, honoring past finalists with a pioneering spirit and determination to use biotechnology to make a difference in our lives was presented to Johnny Fells from New York. A past 2007-2009 BioGENEius finalist, Johnny just graduated from Columbia University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. He embodies the BioGENEius spirit by “giving back” - a BioGENEius who dedicates his free time to engage, excite and inspire young researchers in biotechnology by acting as a science fair judge, student mentor, inspirational speaker and personally granting special awards for students in less advantaged STEM educational environments. 

The BioGENEius Mentor Award recognizes STEM teachers and members of the BioGENEius community for their impact on the future growth of the biotechnology industry through career development. This year’s awardee, Marc Pedersen from Paulding County High School in Dallas, Georgia exemplifies it best. Marc has been recognized at the national, state and local levels for his excellence as a teacher and “covers it all” at Paulding from biotechnology to biology, chemistry, environmental science and AP physics. As a career mentor, he focuses students to utilize technology to investigate real problems within their own community. The value of their original research is reflected in their achievements at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair and nationally at events such as the Siemens Math, Science and Technology Competition. To his students, Marc is simply “the best teacher!”

The Institute’s BioSTEM Leader Award honors outstanding K-12 schools for supporting biotechnology learning and the BioGENEius community through their “bio” STEM programs. This year, the Institute recognized Abraham Lincoln High School, in San Francisco, CA for the excellence of its STEM education programs and the dedication of its administration in its support of Lincoln’s Biotechnology Academy founded in 1995. The Academy has grown to 180 participating students who successfully compete nationally and internationally at events such as iGEM before moving on to college and career opportunities in many of California’s biotechnology companies. An essential lesson at the Academy is learning both the promise and limitations of biotechnology in order to develop the best solutions to real world problems. 

“The success of today’s STEM students, the future leaders of the biotechnology industry, rests on our ability to inspire, engage and promote their desire to realize the solutions that science can offer,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of Biotechnology Institute. “This year’s awardees are exceptional and we are delighted to honor them at BioGENEius during the 2016 BIO International Convention.” 

For additional information about the 2016 Leadership Awardees, visit

About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national non-profit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit



For the Biotechnology Institute
Alexia Sikora (202) 295-8788