The Department of Biological Sciences offers programs for students preparing for careers in education, laboratory and field research, biotechnology, environmental sciences, clinical laboratory sciences, cytotechnology, food science technology and pre-professional programs including pre-agriculture, pre-forestry, pre-medicine, and pre-veterinary medicine.
Biotechnology is the application of recent developments in technology to manipulate the genetic and biochemical characteristics of an organism so that the organism or its metabolites can be economically produced for our benefit. In practice it requires the selection and genetic improvement of an organism for a specific purpose.Organisms may be used to synthesize a desirable product or degrade unwanted materials. The industrialization of this technology is dependent on the development of methods for scaling up processes developed in the laboratory.
Students interested in biotechnology could find careers in a wide variety of industrial applications. Examples of industries that use biotechnology are antibiotic and pharmaceutical; food; energy; agricultural pesticides; herbicides; fertilizers; growth chemicals and breeding programs; industrial chemicals, biocatalysts and diagnostics.
The biotechnologist works with research scientists on the development of processes in the laboratory and with engineers to transfer and scale up laboratory processes for large scale production required by industry. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of biotechnology, biotechnologists must have a strong background in the analytical and quantitative areas of science. In addition, the biotechnologist must be familiar with the theory and practice of genetic engineering and biochemical processes.