Clemson University to Open Healthcare Packaging Lab

Spurred in part by increased interest in medical and pharmaceutical packaging from students in the wake of the pandemic, the facility is expected to debut in August 2024.

June 5, 2024

2 Min Read
Brennan Lytle and Haley Appleby, Clemson University packaging
Brennan Lytle and Haley Appleby, with Clemson University's packaging program, presented at SouthPack in Charlotte, NC.Informa Markets – Engineering

At a Glance

  • Student interest in healthcare packaging has increased in the wake of the pandemic.
  • The new healthcare packaging lab will focus 75% on research and 25% on teaching.
  • The university is still looking for industry partners to help build it out.

Anyone who lived through the COVID-19 pandemic would be hard-pressed to name much good that came from it, but healthcare packaging could prove to be a bright spot.  

In a talk Wednesday at the SouthPack trade show in Charlotte, NC, two representatives from Clemson University’s Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences provided details about an expansion of the school’s healthcare and pharmaceutical packaging offerings set to debut later this summer.

“We’re seeing that as a big area,” said Brennan Lytle, manager of the Clemson Package Dynamics Lab.  

The expansion, he explained, was spurred in part by the pandemic and resulting uptick in thermal shipping for vaccines.

“Now we see our students' desire to get into those spaces,” Lytle said.

Clemson has long offered coursework on healthcare packaging, added Haley Appleby, co-director of the university’s Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics and a lecturer and capstone course coordinator in the packaging science program. But the university decided to beef up in this area in the wake of spiking interest.

“Students were getting hired by medical device and pharmaceutical companies, and we saw this as a weakness of the program that we wanted to expand into,” Appleby said. “Now we’re building an entire research lab around it.”

It also helped that a large medical device manufacturer, orthopedics player Arthrex, has a facility less than 10 miles from the university.

The new research lab will focus 75% on research and 25% on teaching and is expected to open in August. A faculty leader has been hired, but their name has not yet been released publicly. Clemson is still working with industry partners to build out the lab.

“If there are any companies that are interested in being part of it, reach out,” Appleby said.

The best person to contact is Greg Batt, director of the packaging program at Clemson.

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