Biotechnology engineering is a field of applied biology and chemical engineering principles that involves the use of living things in engineering, technology, medicine, and other useful applications. It also includes genetic engineering as well as cell and tissue culture technologies. Biotechnology is a collection of combined technologies applied to living cells for production of a particular product or enhancing its quality. This might involve domestication of animals, cultivation of plants and "improvements" through breeding, artificial selection and hybridization.
This discipline of science includes not only biology but also subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering and more. Its application varies in industries such as food, pharmaceuticals, chemical, bio-products, textiles, medicine, nutrition, environmental conservation and animal sciences. Biotechnology integrates branches like genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology, which are in turn linked to practical specialities like chemical engineering, information technology and robotics.
Biotechnology can be defined as a technological application that makes use of biological systems such as organisms or their derivatives in order to create products. Biotechnology draws on the pure biological sciences (genetics, microbiology, animal cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, cell biology) and in many instances it is also dependent on knowledge and methods from outside the sphere of biology (chemical engineering, bioprocess engineering, information technology, and biorobotics). Conversely, modern biological sciences (including even concepts such as molecular ecology) are intimately entwined and dependent on the methods developed through biotechnology and what is commonly thought of as the life sciences industry. The extent of biotechnology in India is great, involving engineers, biologists, and many other such professionals. The areas where biotechnology has grown in India include bioinformatics, agricultural biotechnology, biofertilisers, national bioresource development, plant biology and marine biotechnology.
A biotechnologist may find jobs in various quarters. In India students can mainly explore job options in the following fields:
- Drug and pharmaceutical research
- Public funded laboratories
- Environment control
- Waste management
- Food processing
- Bioprocessing industries
Government institutes and organisations, such as the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), several agriculture, dairy and horticulture institutes offer employment to biotechnology professionals. In the private sector there are also job openings for biotechnologists, including in the R&D units of drug companies. There may also be opportunities for biotechnologists in the food processing industry, chemical industry and the textile industry. If you opt for a biotechnology engineering degree, you might learn how to use cells and microorganisms to produce, for example, better medicines, foods or agricultural products that won't harm the environment.
Topics covered in biotechnology
In a broader scope, the program largely consists of biochemistry - which deals with the chemistry of living organisms; molecular biology, which is the study of biology on a molecular level and gene technology, which deals with the manipulation of organisms' genetic structures. Various core courses and topics that would be covered in a biotechnology engineering course could include human biology, cell biology and biological systems, chemistry, structural biochemistry, biological chemistry, plant science, microbiology, protein science, molecular genetics, metabolism, immunology, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, environmental microbiology, genomics and bioinformatics and food microbiology.
Colleges offering biotechnology courses
Some institutes in India offering a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Biotechnology include:
- Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
- Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
- Vels University
- Sri Nandhanam College of Engineering & Technology (SNCET)
The degree is also offered as a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biotechnology at some schools. Programmes are subject to change, it is advisable to check directly with a school for current programme availability.
"Academic Programmes," Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, http://www.iitkgp.ac.in/topfiles/acad_progs.php
"Courses offered," Sri Nandhanam College of Engineering & Technology (SNCET), http://www.nandhanam.in/sncet/courses_offered.html
"Introduction," Padmabhushan Vasantdada Patil Pratishthan's College of Engineering, Mumbai, http://www.pvppcoe.ac.in/
"Scheme/Syllabus for Various Programmes," Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, http://www.ipu.ac.in/UnivSyllabus/UnivSyllabusMain.htm
"School of Life Sciences," Vels University, http://www.velsuniv.ac.in/