“Called the cutting-edge industry of this century,
biotechnology is a hot career choice”
If you enjoy the challenge of
working with the innovative and the new and tacking real life problems of
hunger, malnutrition and disease, biotechnology is one of the most promising
In simple terms, biotechnology is
“applied biology”. The application of biological knowledge
and techniques to develop products or the use of living organisms to make a
product or run a process. By this definition, the classic techniques
used for plant and animal breeding, fermentation and enzyme purification can also be considered
Arun Balakrishnan, Director of
Centre for Biotechnology (CBT), Anna University Chennai, defines it as a
subject that integrates science, medical science and technology that leads to
the development of a product. Medical science involves molecular biology,
genetic, engineering, immunology and cell biology. In biotechnology “we understand
how a living cell functions and in some cases use a living cell to produce a
specific protein that might have a therapeutic value.”
Genetic Engineering is an integral aspect of Biotechnology
that uses molecular tools to move ganes from one organism to another, changing
one or more traits of the recipient organism. This has wide applications n the
field of agriculture, especially production of hybrid crops.
Methods have been deduced to
enhance quality of fruits, ripening of fruits under simulations. A new protein
–rich potato (genetically enhanced ‘potato) developed by university researchers
help combat malnutrition. Biotech helps to develop different tools to identify
bacterial contamination in food. So, it has a wide potential in food
processing, preservation and in testing meat production in the industries.
most pharma industries are looking into biotech as the next input. It also
plays a major role in the diagnosis of various diseases such as tuberculosis,
using polymerized chain reaction based technique.
Role of biotech in the IT sector
is through bioinformatics. This field involves modeling certain things
even before an experiment is done, making it an area where biological molecules
are modeled through computer-aided designs (CAD).
It role in the environmental
segment involves degradation of plastics and conversion of vegetable water to
Students seeking admission to
B.Tech course must have studies Maths, Physics and Chemistry in their qualifying
examination. Further studies will involve as MS, Ph.D or ME abroad.
As far as the job opportunities
are concerned, B.Tech graduates can fall in groove into any of the engineering
sections of large-scale plants. They can enter areas of bioinformatics or go
into specialization such as patent attorney or patent law. The curriculum will
help them develop as researches or entrepreneurs. There is ample scope in
pharma industries, food processing and of course medical diagnostics.
Deserving candidate can be placed
well in institutes such as National Center of Biological Sciences, Bangalore
(www.ncbs.res.in) ,Center for Cellular Molecular
Biology, Hyderabad (www.ccmb.res.in) and the National Brain Research Center,
New Delhi (nbrc.ac.in).
Institutes offering a two-year M.Sc course in biotechnology are:
University of Hyderabad.
Cochin Universityof sciences and Technology, Kerala, Bharathidasan University ,
Tamil Nadu,Agricultural University,Coimbatore and Pondicherry University.
Institutes offering M.Tech course include: Jawaharlal
University of Kerala,
University of Kolkata
and Anna University.
The IITs as Kharagpur and Delhi are
offering a five-and-a-half year M.Tech. course.