Biotech has a major presence in our lives, especially here in the Bay-to-Valley region, even if it isn't as visible as other big influences like housing, traffic, or lately artificial intelligence. Last week, giant biotech company Roche said it plans to pull out of its huge Genentech plant in Vacaville, west of Davis, and today’s Davisville uses the news of that change to update our conversation with Jim DeKloe about biotech: its inventions, careers, potentially enormous impact, potential, and risks.
That plant was a big story when it opened 25 years ago.
Dr. DeKloe, a biotech instructor with a long string of achievements and accolades, started the Industrial Biotech Program at Solano Community College. Stick around for the end, when he draws a lesson from 1970s films Soylent Green and King Kong — he was an extra in both to help pay for his studies at UCLA — on how to address the problems that technology presents.
Program note: You’ll hear barks from a friendly dog during this interview, a sound familiar to anyone conversing (or recording) online while working from home these past few years. The dog is happier, and quiet, starting halfway through.