What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is considered as the use of biological processes, organisms, or systems for manufacturing products that are intended to improve the quality of human life. It is the broad area of biology which involves living systems and organisms to develop products, or “any technological application that makes use of biological systems, living organisms, or any derivatives thereof, to modify products or processes for any specific use.”
Károly Ereky was a Hungarian agricultural engineer, and he coined the term ‘biotechnology’ in the year 1919.
Why should I study Biotechnology?
Biotechnology combines the subjects of biology and chemistry and also utilizes mathematics and physics to offer the right tools for modern biology and biomedical research. The domain utilizes living cells and cellular materials to create pharmaceutical, agricultural, diagnostic, environmental, and other products for the betterment of society. It is also used to study and to change genetic information in animals so that human diseases can be modeled and also analyzed further.
Biotechnology is nothing but a combination of primary and applied science. The technologies are used in agriculture, health care, forensics, industrial processing, and environmental management in many useful ways to improve the quality of human life.
Biotechnology is instrumental in improving food quality, quantity, and processing. It also finds applications in the manufacturing industry, where simple cells and proteins can be used to produce chemicals. The subject is also considered necessary for its usage in the health and medicine sector.
Through genetic engineering, that is the controlled alteration of genetic material, scientists have been able to create new medicines, which include interferon for cancer patients, synthetic human growth hormone and synthetic insulin, among others.
So if you have an immense interest in the way of improving human life in terms of health care, agriculture, industrial or environmental aspects, biotechnology is the subject you must opt for.
Why is biotechnology important to humans?
The importance of biotechnology has come to prominence owing to the technological advancement in terms of research and development. It is a field in biology which is extensively used in engineering, science, medicine, and technology, agriculture and other valuable forms of applications. Some of the reasons for which biotechnology is essential to humans are as follows-
Application of biotechnology in modern era includes the field of genetic engineering. The technology is used to culture cells and tissues for the alteration of a living organism for human purposes. So, the importance of biotechnology in agriculture increases crop production, thereby making it double or even higher than the regular harvest.
Benefits of biotechnology can also be seen in the medical sector. Its technological application includes pharmaceutical products, medicines, along with individual therapy. Biotechnology has offered modern medical devices for diagnostic and preventive purposes, which include diagnostic test kits, vaccines, and also DNA fingerprinting.
With the help of genetic engineering, that is the controlled alteration of genetic material, scientists have been able to create new medicines, which include interferon for cancer patients, synthetic human growth hormone and synthetic insulin, among others. In recent years, scientists have also strived to employ the methods of genetic engineering to correct certain inherited conditions.
Application on biotechnology can also be seen in industrial plants. They are used to give improved effectiveness and support in the production process while reducing the impact on the environmental issue.
Decades of documented evidence talks about agricultural biotechnology, which is a safe and beneficial technology to contribute to both environmental and economic sustainability.
Biotechnology has made it possible with halliophic bacteria, growing in the seawater to be able to re-engineer and grow faster to produce useful products including chemicals, fuels and polymeric materials.
Biotechnology also makes it possible for waste streams to be processed at bio-refineries and converted to valuable chemicals and fuels, thereby closing the production loop with no net waste.
By making use of the power of these natural biological systems, scientists are engineering new methods to transform waste CO2 and C1 molecules into energy, chemicals, fuels, and new materials.
Based on biomaterials, the right combination of tissue engineering and stem cell technologies will replace damaged, old human organs with functional ones soon.
Advances in biotechnology have generated technologies like bio-remediation, bio-regeneration, and bio-augmentation- which are being developed, augmenting their potential in terms of environmental aspects.
Identification of better targets and combining nanotechnology and information technology it will be possible to develop rapid, accurate, and inexpensive diagnostics and prognostics systems.
What are the different color codes of biotechnology?
Red biotechnology is the biotechnology applied to medical processes. Some examples include designing of organisms to produce antibiotics, and the engineering of genetic cures to cure diseases through genomic manipulation. It is the use of biotechnology in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, along with health preservation. This branch also involves the production of vaccines and antibiotics, the recreation of artificial organs, regenerative therapies, and new diagnostics of diseases. It also consists of the development of hormones, antibodies, stem cells, siRNA, and diagnostic tests.
White biotechnology, also considered as grey biotechnology, is the sector of biotechnology which applies to industrial processes. An example is to design an organism to produce a useful chemical. White biotechnology usually aims to consume less in resources than traditional methods when used to manufacture industrial goods.
Green biotechnology is that domain of biotechnology which applies to agricultural processes. An example is designing an organism to grow under specific environmental conditions or in the presence (or absence) of specific agrarian chemicals. Green biotechnology may produce more environmentally friendly solutions than traditional industrial agriculture processes. An example is the engineering of a plant to express a pesticide, thereby eliminating the need for external application of pesticides.
The term blue biotechnology has been used to describe the marine and aquatic applications of biotechnology, but its use is relatively rare nowadays. It is the application of molecular biological processes to marine and freshwater organisms. For example, the luminescent properties of a species of jellyfish Aequorea victoria are now being used to help to map neurons in the human brain.
Another application of blue biotechnology is that it be used for cosmetic products. For example, a company which makes cosmetics from algae known as ‘sugar kelp.’ The researchers grow, harvest, and ferment the algae, extract a variety of minerals, sugars, and iodine, and develop products which include perfumes and facial and body care products.
What are the four major applications of biotechnology?
The significant applications of biotechnology include:
Medical biotechnology is the use of living cells and other cell materials for the betterment of the health of humans. It is used for finding a cure as well as getting rid of and preventing diseases. The science that is involved include the use of these tools for research to find different ways of maintaining human health, understanding pathogen, and also understanding the human cell biology.
Here, the biotechnological techniques are used to produce pharmaceutical drugs as well as other chemicals to battle diseases. It also involves the study of bacteria, plant, and animal cells to understand the way they function at a fundamental level.
The field usually talks about the development of new drugs and treatments, specific to the field.
Agricultural biotechnology usually focuses on developing genetically modified plants to increase crop yields. It also involves introducing characteristics in those plants which offer them with an advantage growing in regions that face some stress factor on the plant, including weather and pests.
The industrial applications of biotechnology usually vary from production of cellular structures to the production of biological elements for diverse uses. Examples include the creation of new materials in the construction industry, washing detergents, manufacture of beer and wine, and personal care products.
The environment can be affected by biotechnological aspects, both in positive and adverse ways. Cleaning up environmental wastes can be considered as an example of the importance of environmental biotechnology. On the other hand, loss of biodiversity or loss of containment of harmful microorganisms are examples of ecological connections of biotechnology.
The regulation of genetic engineering involves the approaches taken by the government to evaluate and manage the risks that are associated with the use of genetic engineering technology, development, and release of genetically modified organisms (GMO), along with genetically modified crops and genetically modified fish. There are differences when it comes to the regulation of GMOs between countries, and some of the marked differences that occur between the USA and Europe.
How do I pursue a career in biotechnology?
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Prospective biotech biologists can begin their career training by earning a bachelor’s degree in biological science or a related field, including chemistry, molecular biology, or biochemistry. Some universities offering a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences allow students to choose a specific area of concentration, such as genetics and molecular biology, plant biology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, or neurobiology.
Step 2: Try to get relevant experience.
Learn about the job and try to get hands-on training in the field that interests you. While some students choose internships during their college years, others seek out part-time or full-time work with biotech companies or labs.
Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree
Master’s degree programs in the biological sciences allow students to receive advanced training in a specialty of their choosing, as well as tailor their educational experience to fit their career goals.
Step 4: Complete a Doctoral Program
Studying in a doctoral program, such as the Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences, may qualify biotech biologists for leadership roles in industrial, governmental, and academic settings. These doctoral programs are designed to give students advanced training in the ethical conduct of research, writing research papers and grant applications, professional skill development, and presenting lectures.conduct of research, writing research papers and grant applications, professional skill development, and presenting lectures.
Step 5: Try to stay up to date.
Technology is always ever-changing, growing at the same time. Some fields of biotechnology are so fast that they can change by the week. That’s why it is crucial to stay up-to-date by subscribing to industry publications and other magazines in this domain. Try to become active with industry associations; keep in touch with network contacts to excel in this field.
Step 6: Look out for new opportunities in this field
Biotechnology careers comprise of a bit of overlapping. For example, a soil and plant scientist can choose to work as an agricultural and food scientist eventually, and the education might support both the paths. Seeking out new opportunities to expand on this current profession can be considered as one of the perks of working in the biotechnology field, and this can lead to many new exciting possibilities.
What skills do you need to be a biotechnologist?
Critical skills for biotechnologists are as follows:
- To design and implementing research studies
- Work with lab technicians on research
- Develop new research procedures
- Set up the laboratory equipment to conduct and monitor experiments
- Collect, study and test samples such as food, tissues, cells, blood samples, bacteria cultures, and living organisms
- Record findings and also analyze the results
- Identify how the research can be applied to improving human life
- Complex problem-solving skills
- Teamwork and communication skills
- An investigative mind
- Attention to detail
- Innovative thinking
- Analytical skills
Do you need a Ph.D. to work in the biotech industry?
While you can start work as a researcher even without a doctorate in any medical institution or research institute, if you want to climb up the ranks of the scientific community, invariably you need Ph.D. degree. It is challenging to practice top-levelBiotech research without one too.
What is the eligibility for masters in biotechnology?
To qualify for the Master of Science in Biotechnology program, an applicant should have a bachelor’s degree (minimum GPA 3.0) with a minimum of two semesters of biology or other related life science courses. Also, applicants will provide three letters of recommendation from teachers, supervisors, or researchers.
What degree do you need for biotechnology?
The expectation in the academic field is that students need to pursue a first degree in a relevant applicable field, such as chemistry or biology, and then opt for a master’s program in biotech. However, the bachelor’s programs that do exist gives importance to a particular aspect of biotechnology.
How many years does it take to study biotechnology?
Most master’s in biotechnology programs consist of 30 credits, and full-time students usually earn their degree in two years. Part-time students may require up to four years to finish these programs.
Which university is best for biotechnology?
Some of the best universities across different countries are as follows:
John Hopkins University
The University Of Pennsylvania
The University of Wisconsin
The University of Georgia
The University of Rhode Island
The University of St Andrews
The University of Oxford
The University of Cambridge
The University of Warwick
The University of York
The University of Dundee
University of British Columbia (UBC)
The University of Toronto
The University of Calgary
The University of Alberta’
The University of Lethbridge
University of Freiburg
University of Würzburg
FH Darmstadt, University
The University of Bonn
Flensburg University of Applied Sciences
Munich University of Applied Sciences
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
La Trobe University
University of Wollongong
The Australian National University
University of Technology Sydney
The Chalmers University of Technology
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
University of Boras
University of Canterbury
Victoria University of Wellington
University of Otago
University of Auckland
National University of Singapore
Nanyang Technological University
Management Development Institute of Singapore
What is the cost of MS programs in biotechnology around the world?
The cost of MS programs in different countries are as follows:
USA- 25,000 EUR/year
UK- 35,000 EUR/year
Sweden- 15,000 EUR/year
Australia- 28,000 EUR/year
Singapore- 23/000 EUR/year
New Zealand- 25,000 EUR/year
What are the different courses in biotechnology?
- Master in Biotechnology
- Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
- Master of Engineering in Bioengineering
- MA in Biotechnology
- Master Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
- Master in Molecular Biotechnology
- Master in Life Science Management
- Master of Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
- Master in Protein Science and Biotechnology
- Master Degree in Molecular Biotechnology
- Master in Plant and Forest Biotechnology
- Master Advanced Pharmaceutical Engineering – ADPHARMING
- Sensor System Engineering
What is the scope for biotechnology?
Biotechnology is regarded as one of most of the emerging career fields with ample opportunities in terms of research and job. Some of the popular areas in biotechnology are Food Technology, Medicines, Nutrition, Healthcare, Forensic Sciences, and others.
Biotechnology is considered as an interdisciplinary branch of science which is popular among youngsters as it is providing ample opportunities in terms of research and engineering. For those who wish to explore the new and modern frontiers of science, the applications of Biotechnology is vast as it provides to various industrial sectors like food, pharmaceutical, textiles, agriculture, animal husbandry, and others.
Biotechnology also includes diverse subjects apart from biology, making it an interdisciplinary field. Apart from the technical part and engineering applications, biotechnology is also giving rise to various new areas with ample job opportunities.
Scope for biotechnology as a career opportunity is immense. We live in an era of amazing discoveries, new applications, and innovative products that are launched n the market every day. Various organizations cater as exceptional resources for those who are just entering the field of biotechnology.
Biotechnologists are continuously at the forefront of the continuous search to look for new, sustainable food sources. They can also work in various work environments like the industrial sector, medical sector, environmental sector, food manufacturing, health-care, and pharmaceuticals.
What jobs can I do with a bachelors in biotechnology?
Some of the typical jobs that you can do with a bachelors in biotechnology include:
- Biomedical Engineer
- Biotechnology / Pharmaceutical Sales
- Biotechnology Laboratory Technician
- Biotechnology Research Associate
- Clinical Research Associate
- Crime Lab Technician
- Environmental Engineer
- Quality Control Analyst / Engineering
- Validation Technician
- Senior Research Scientist
Where can I work as a biotechnologist?
Entry-level biotechnologists can work as research technicians. They set up instruments and laboratory equipment used to conduct and monitor experiments such as centrifuges, flasks, and spectrophotometers. They also record data and may prepare reports for a leading research scientist.
Senior biotechnologists design research studies, analyze data, and develop procedures. For example, a scientist using recombinant DNA technology must choose the best method to insert foreign DNA into an organism, which can trigger the development of new proteins or create an organism with more desirable characteristics.
Employers of Biotechnologists
Typical employers of biotechnologists are:
- Pharmaceutical and chemical companies
- Biotechnology and genetic engineering companies
- Research institutions
- Agricultural and crop production companies
- Food and drink manufacturers
What are some career paths in biotechnology?
Some of the popular career paths In Biotechnology include:
- Agricultural Engineer
- Animal Scientist
- Biomedical Engineer
- Food Scientist and Technologist
- Soil and Plant Scientist
What are some of the in-demand careers in the field of biotechnology?
With a masters in biotechnology, some of the in-demand career options include:
- Biomedical Engineer
- Medical Scientist
- Biological/Clinical Technician
- Process Development Scientist
- Biomanufacturing Specialists
- Business Development Manager
- Environmental Engineer
One of the most popular biotechnology careers is as a biomedical engineer. They design systems and products, such as artificial internal organs, artificial devices that replace body parts, and machines for diagnosing medical problems. Install, adjust, maintain, repair, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment.
What is the average salary for biotechnology?
The average Biotech salary in the USA is $77,190 per year or $36.13 per hour. A Research Scientist, Biotechnology earns an average salary of Rs 575,329 per year. Most people shift to other jobs if they have more than ten years’ experience in this field. Experience strongly influences pay for this job.