RCCC to get biotech equipment

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will use a $95,000 grant to buy advanced biotechnology laboratory equipment and develop a curriculum on how to use the equipment at the North Carolina Research Campus.

The grant is from the N.C. Community College BioNetwork.

The Salisbury-based college will use the money to obtain a flow cytometer. Researchers use the device to study microscopic particles, such as cells and chromosomes, by suspending them in a stream of fluid and passing them by an electronic detection apparatus, college spokesman Jeff Lowrance said.

Flow cytometry is routinely used to diagnose various health problems, including blood disorders.

The grant will cover the purchase and installation of the cytometer, and will pay to develop curriculum to give students hands-on experience with the device.

The college's partners at the Research Campus have indicated that graduates with flow cytometry experience will be even more attractive to potential employers, Lowrance said.

The college will locate the cytometer in its new $26million classroom and laboratory building on the research campus in Kannapolis. Gov. Bev Perdue helped dedicate the building Sept. 16.

The three-story building, which opened Aug. 16, houses the college's associate degree program in biotechnology and planned programs in health information technology and agricultural biotechnology.