Cal State LA recognizes biotech leader and LA BioStart graduating fellows

Wendie Johnston was recognized by the LA BioStart training program at California State University, Los Angeles for her contributions to the region’s burgeoning bioscience industry.

Johnston, lab director for the Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator, was awarded the first LA BioStar Award during the Feb. 16 graduation ceremony for participants in the LA BioStart Bioscience Entrepreneurs Boot Camp. The award was created to honor the contributions of bioscience leaders in the region.

“The real message is: It takes a village,” Johnston told the gathering at Cal State LA. “It takes collaboration, it takes partnerships, it takes negotiations.”

Johnston’s contributions to bioscience education and training span decades. She retired from the faculty of Pasadena City College, or PCC, in 2011 after nearly 44 years and now also serves as director of the Pasadena Bio Collaborative’s training program, the Los Angeles/Orange County Biotechnology Center. The center provides biotechnology workforce development and hands-on training through local community colleges. At PCC, Johnston mentored scores of students, a number of whom have enjoyed successful careers in the bioscience industry.

“Wendie has been a great partner of Cal State LA and we are very excited to honor her and recognize her contributions and tireless efforts to help the bioscience community in Southern California,” said Howard Xu, director for incubator development and programming for LA BioSpace and a microbiology professor at Cal State LA.

Among the guests who attended the event and spoke about Johnston were Susan M. Baxter, executive director of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology; Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator President Robert C. Bishop; and Poseidon LLC CEO Raj Perera.