November 2019 Newsletter

This November issue highlights the successful Nebraska trade mission to Germany and gives details for January's Nebraska Women In STEM Emotional Intelligence Workshop as well as the latest bioscience news in Nebraska and the world.


November 2019  |   Member Newsletter




Bio Nebraska Playing a Global Role

Guten Tag! November was a busy and exciting month. The highlight was being included on Gov. Pete Rickett’s trade mission delegation to Germany. Promoting Nebraska’s quality agricultural products and thanking German companies for creating jobs in our state were at the forefront of our mission. This was Bio Nebraska’s first opportunity to be part of a trade delegation.


Nebraska trade mission delegation visits Evonik in Germany.

Our visit started in Berlin and concluded in Dusselfdorf. Along the way, we visited German companies with investments in Nebraska like Graepel, CLAAS, Bayer Crop Science and Evonik (Bayer and Evonik are Bio Nebraska members). The delegation also attended AGRITECHNICA, the world’s largest ag equipment trade fair, in Hanover. Think of Husker Harvest Days, but on steroids.

Promoting Nebraska and its products were not the only points of discussion on the trip. Expanding the Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) apprenticeship program in our state was also a hot topic. ICATT apprenticeships, established by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, help high-tech companies with complex technologies or logistics fill a sustainable pipeline of talent. In Nebraska, CLAAS and Graepel are involved with the ICATT apprenticeship program.

The trip to Germany also involved cultural investigation! We were introduced to new foods like currywurst, schnitzel and pork knuckle, and learned about German heritage. Most interesting to me was the Peace of Westphalia Treaty, which was signed in 1648 in Münster to end the Thirty Years’ War. For clarification, Muenster cheese is not from Münster and you shouldn’t ask that question if you ever visit Münster.

"Overall, it was a very successful trade mission. Germany is an important trade partner and our visit demonstrated that business and cultural ties between Germany and Nebraska are strong."

Overall, it was a very successful trade mission. Germany is an important trade partner and our visit demonstrated that business and cultural ties between Germany and Nebraska are strong.

It is hard to believe that 2019 is coming to a close. This year has been full of change, but I am excited about what Bio Nebraska has to offer in 2020. Please visit our website regularly to see what is coming next.

Finally, Bio Nebraska wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Best Regards,

Rob Owen

Executive Director
Bio Nebraska

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126863833f53203b427e72ca26212856 Emotional Intelligence Workshop for Nebraska Women in STEM 

January 23, 2020
Omaha, NE

126863833f53203b427e72ca26212856 Bio & Beers (Omaha) 

January 30, 2020
Omaha, NE

126863833f53203b427e72ca26212856 2020 Partnering for Growth | Iowa BIO

March 10-11, 2020
Ankeny, IA

126863833f53203b427e72ca26212856 Bio Nebraska Annual Meeting (TBD) 

April 2020
Omaha, NE

126863833f53203b427e72ca26212856 Life Sciences on the Links (Iron Horse Golf Course) 

May 2020
Ashland, NE 

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Growing Strong Leadership Skills

In the spotlight this month is a new Women in STEM program. Sasha Forsen, assistant director of Bio Nebraska, describes the program.

Q.    Bio Nebraska’s Women in STEM program has added a workshop on emotional intelligence in January. How did this come about?

A.    To expand our successful fall luncheon into an entire initiative devoted to Nebraska’s women in STEM careers, we knew we had to start by having conversations with our own members. After talking with women representing various member companies, themes began to emerge, including opportunities for professional development. After conferring with the ICAN team about a desire to build our Women in STEM program, the idea of hosting an emotional intelligence workshop aligned with the needs of our members.

Q.    What is emotional intelligence and why is it important to our member organizations? 

A.    Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), describes an individual’s ability to recognize emotions, understand their impact and use them to guide thoughts and behavior. EQ is critically important in determining a person’s success at work and in life. IQ determines only around 6 percent of your success, while EQ can predict up to 46 percent of your success. This can help an organization recognize success and leadership traits in employees.

Q.    Life sciences are driven by collaboration between specializations and organizations. How does EQ help people with differing agendas?

A.    People with high EQ typically make great leaders and team players due to their ability to understand, empathize and connect with other people. That includes the ability to work with varying interests or stakeholders across a given project or goal. They can see differences as an opportunity.

Q.    How does EQ training help highly trained specialists who are thrust into roles managing people?

A.    Developing EQ can help professionals become good leaders by not only having the ability to recognize their own emotions, but by also recognizing the emotions of others. High EQ leads to good relationship and coping strategies, which are key to success in every area of humanity. This includes the ability to bring out the best in employees and is impactful on influencing, mentoring, coaching and ultimately leading.

Q.    What will the workshop do for an individual’s emotional intelligence?

A.    Everyone has varying levels of emotional intelligence and this workshop will help improve a person’s understanding of their own emotional and effectiveness in social functioning. The half-day workshop will cover how EQ applies to decision-making, will address limiting beliefs, how to be responsive vs. being reactive, and much more!

Q.    Who should attend the workshop in January and what are the meeting details?

A.    This workshop is for Nebraska women in STEM careers. The workshop will be held Jan. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. Registration is now open with limited spots available. Participation cost is $189 per registration, with group discounts for Bio Nebraska member companies. Sponsorship opportunities are also available which include complimentary registration. Email Sasha Forsen at to get sponsorship details or obtain a group discount code. (Group discount for Bio Nebraska members: 4 or more registrations – 10 percent off; 8 or more registrations – 20 percent off.)




Bob Hutkins, far right, rings the bell to celebrate his team’s first licensing agreement with NUtech Ventures. From left: Brad Roth, Tim Brummels, Jeewan Jyot and Bob Hutkins. 

Nebraska Faculty Launch Synbiotic Health
Nebraska faculty have founded a spin-off company to develop a combination of beneficial gut bacteria and the fuel that feeds them. Working with NUtech Ventures, the startup licensed its first synbiotic strains and will begin human clinical trials next year. Food scientist Andy Benson said the new company is an important result for the Nebraska Food for Health Center. 

SCC Receives $500,000 USDA Grant
SCC received a $500,000 USDA grant to help rural students get resources to learn about healthcare fields, said Jill Sand, SCC’s dean of health sciences.

UNeMed Drug Conference A Success.
UNeMed’s drug development conference featured 42 presentations from 18 universities to 30 different companies and investor groups. Around 240 one-on-one meetings were held. “I know we got a lot of value out of the conference, and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from just about everyone I talked to,” said Matt Boehm, UNeMed licensing director.


An international award for best collaboration dedicated to developing or underserved populations was presented to UNMC’s Michael Wiley.

UNMC Wins International Award for Epidemic Work
UNMC is part of an international consortium that won a Prix Galien Award for solutions to prepare better and respond faster to epidemics. UNMC worked with the Praesens Foundation, the Institut Pasteur, the Institut Pasteur de Dakar and Twist Bioscience Corporation. UNMC developed a pandemic assay for immediate pathogen identification and a mobile lab.

USPTO Director Discusses Patent Gender Gap
NUtech Ventures hosted Molly Kocialski, USPTO regional director, who discussed the current state of female patent inventors and lectured on business-related intellectual property.

Nebraska Indicator Shows Solid Confidence Amid Pockets of Concern
Consumer confidence bounced back in Nebraska during October while business confidence moderated, according the UNL Bureau of Business Research. The October survey of Nebraska households indicated consumer confidence rose to 104.2, above the neutral level of 100 and the September value of 97.7. Nebraska business confidence stood at 106.9 in October, above the neutral value of 100 but down from a reading of 110.9 in September.


Ross Warren, founder-in-residence at Google's Area 120, speaks during a panel on workforce development at the new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

 Panel Discusses Carson Center's Impact on Changing Workforce
Industry experts from across the country gathered at UNL’s Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts to discuss today's rapidly changing workforce and emerging tech jobs in virtual production, interactive and mobile media, film special effects, game design, and augmented and virtual reality. The center was dedicated Nov. 17.

USCIS Proposes Fee Increases and Immigration Labor Changes
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service proposes to increase fees by 21 percent, including the H-1B program used by technology companies, plus add new fees, make other changes and shift $207 million from immigration to enforcement. The proposed rule is open for a 30-day comment period, according to the Brown Law Firm.

BWBR Architects: Hey Siri, Where’s My Healthcare?
Disruptors in the health care industry include companies like Amazon (Amazon pays for employees to travel for cancer treatment); CVS Health (CVS offers in-store clinics); UnitedHealth (FTC approves UnitedHealth-DaVita deal); and Walmart (company gives employees incentives to use higher quality doctors). These kinds of changes are challenging traditional healthcare organizations and may fundamentally change healthcare spending, services distribution and market power.

CRB Expert Addresses Energy Savings in Food Manufacturing
In the November Food Engineering coverage of sustainable practices by food manufacturers included CRB’s Jeremy Gualdoni, who explains how heat recovery at a confectionery client saved thousands and cut energy use.

TricorBraun Joins Amazon's Packaging Network 
TricorBraun is now a certified provider of packaging design, supply and testing services in compliance with Amazon programs that help vendors with frustration-free packaging and other innovations for ecommerce.


Evonik Screening Chicken Waste for Genetic Data on Sickness
Evonik’s precision livestock farming is bringing big data and biotech to poultry farming. The aim is to produce meat from fewer resources and improve animal welfare. The technique analyzes pathogen gene markers in chicken dung and alerts producers to modify diet with probiotics to head off disease.

Zoetis Adds ZNLabs to its Diagnostics Portfolio
Zoetis announced the acquisition of ZNLabs, a full-service veterinary clinical reference laboratory network. Zoetis is building a comprehensive diagnostic service for veterinarians.  ZNLabs has a hub in Louisville and labs in Boise, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, New Orleans and Salt Lake City. Zoetis said vet diagnostics is a $4 billion market growing 10 percent per year.

Evonik and Siemens Team Up to Use CO2 to Make Chemicals
Evonik and Siemens intend to scale up a pilot plant that converts carbon dioxide into specialty chemicals with electricity and bacteria to see how the process can be used on an industrial scale. They aim to show artificial photosynthesis is feasible using renewable energy from carbon dioxide, water and energy by combining chemistry and biology.

Zoetis Establishes Research Facility with Texas A&M
Zoetis is collaborating with Texas A&M to help reduce the threat of foreign animal disease, such as the potentially devastating foot and mouth disease, and accelerate vaccine development. 

BIO Partners with LCFC To Drive Adoption of Low Carbon Fuel Policies
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has teamed up with the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition (LCFC) to advance green-energy solutions in transportation.

Partnership Set with CLAAS and Bayer Ag Tech Products
CLAAS announced a global partnership with The Climate Corporation, Bayer’s digital farming arm, and its FieldView digital farming platform, providing farmers with machine-generated agronomic data. Customers will gain secure cloud access insights like yield reports and maps, average grain moisture and digital field records.

Amgen And Duke Initiate Large-Scale Lipid Registry
Amgen and the Duke Clinical Research Institute will initiate the first large-scale real-world study of lipid management and PCSK9 inhibitors on cardiovascular outcomes. The study will follow 8,500 patients in the U.S. and Canada for five years.

ViiV Healthcare Presents HIV Portfolio
ViiV Healthcare, a global HIV company owned by GSK along with Pfizer and Shionogi, presented 17 abstracts from its portfolio of late-stage pipeline and approved HIV treatments at the 17th European AIDS Conference in Basel, Switzerland.

Combating Ebola: How J&J Is Helping
J&J will donate up to 500,000 doses of an investigational vaccine to help citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—the site of the world's second-largest outbreak of Ebola. The West African Ebola epidemic of 2014 to 2016 was the worst outbreak recorded and killed 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Since 2014, governments, NGOs and private industry partners have been working together on new vaccines, diagnostic tools and therapies.