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About Biocom Institute


Biocom Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that supports life science innovation and success in our local and state-wide community by strengthening the workforce and leaders of tomorrow. For nearly ten years, Biocom Institute has ensured the sustainability of this vital industry and inspired the STEM leaders of tomorrow by providing programs ranging from K-12 student and teacher STEM outreach, to innovative industry-vetted entrepreneurial and workforce development programs, to key veteran focused mentorship programs.


The mission of Biocom Institute is to advance life science innovation and success in California through development of the industry’s most valuable current and future assets, people.

Biocom Institute

Brandon Leck
Grant Writer and Development Specialist
Brandon Leck
Grant Writer and Development Specialist — San Diego

Brandon is responsible for grant writing, research and development for the Biocom Institute’s programs and outreach initiatives.

His background is in corporate and foundation grant writing, fundraising and development. He obtained a degree in English Literature from The Ohio State University.

Personal Interests:

  • The work of David Simon,
  • David Halberstam,
  • and Larry David.
Karmin Noar
Executive Director, Biocom Institute
Karmin Noar
Executive Director, Biocom Institute

Karmin oversees strategies, programs and staff and drive initiatives focused on STEM education and workforce development. Her priorities include serving job seekers and employers as well as leveraging community partnerships to prepare the emerging workforce talent and advance the incumbent workers of the life science industry.

Noar has more than a decade of volunteer and work experience in the nonprofit sector, working on issues from public health and education to youth and workforce development. A leader in education and workforce development fields in San Diego, Noar is experienced in building partnerships to provide employers with a highly skilled workforce and expanding access to careers in San Diego’s priority sectors for underrepresented individuals.

Noar holds two bachelor’s degrees in political science and ethnic studies from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in education from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education & Psychology.

Personal Interests:

  • Hiking Torrey Pines
  • Travel
  • Family time
Karen Overklift
Education and Industry Outreach Manager
Karen Overklift
Education and Industry Outreach Manager — San Diego

Karen joins the Biocom Institute team with a wealth of skills and experience within the San Diego non-profit arena. Most recently with the San Diego Workforce Partnership; her career has included positions in community outreach, HR management and operations management for various local non-profit organizations.

Karen has a love for educational programs and in particular is very passionate about employer outreach and connecting students to internships.

Personal Interests:

  • Watching her daughter play water polo
  • Volunteering
  • Riding her quad in the desert
Sara Pagano
Managing Director, Biocom Institute
Sara Pagano
Managing Director, Biocom Institute — San Diego

Sara is responsible for the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering and K-12 STEM outreach initiatives with the goal of empowering the next generation of innovators and future talent of San Diego.
Sara has over a decade of non-profit and event experience, including executive leadership positions with USO San Diego and Discover Pacific Beach – Business Improvement District. She graduated from Westfield State College with a Bachelor of Science in Education and also holds a certificate from University of San Diego’s Event Management Program.

Personal Interests:

  • Chasing her toddler
  • Her best furry friend Miles
  • Getting outdoors


Learn More

View our STEM initiatives

Workforce and Entrepreneurship
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View our Workforce and Entrepreneurship initiatives

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View our Veterans initiatives

Professional Development
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View our Professional Development initiatives

Get Involved

See the many ways you can get involved with Biocom Institute’s events, programs, and initiatives.