Biotechnology Engineering: Top Colleges
The application of the principles of engineering and technology to the life sciences broadly defines the term ‘biotechnology’. It’s much more than genetic engineering. When microorganisms are modified or used to perform specific industrial or manufacturing processes for application in various industries like pharma, food and agriculture, the process is called biotechnology. Bioengineering and biotechnology are closely related in that the former is the science upon which all biotech applications are based. The main premise of biotechnology is to constantly improve the quality and productivity of a product for human use. It’s a multi-disciplinary field of study combining subjects like genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology on the one hand, linked to application-based disciplines like chemical engineering, information technology, and robotics on the other.
Biotechnology finds applications in four major industrial areas: healthcare, agriculture, non-food use of crops (e.g. biodegradable plastics, biofuels), and environment. Red biotechnology involves application in medical processes, as in the production of antibiotics or genomic manipulation. Biotechnology when applied to agriculture is called green biotechnology. Examples of this include engineering a plant that doesn’t require a pesticide application. White biotechnology is when it is applied to industrial processes, as in the design of an organism to produce a useful chemical. Biotechnology is being increasingly used to clean up pollutants and wastes from the environment, including cleaning up oil spills in the seas.
Biotechnology is an emerging field of study, and being a specialist stream is mostly offered at the post graduate level. Study at the undergraduate level is often offered in combination with other subjects. A background in life sciences and mathematics is ideal for a student intending to make a career out of biotechnology.
Vellore Institute of Technology, India
VIT University works with the aim of providing quality higher education on par with international standards. The campus has a cosmopolitan atmosphere attracting students from all corners of the globe. The School of Biotechnology, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering offers undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral courses in the fields of Biomedical Engineering, Medical Genetics, Applied Microbiology, Biotechnology, Bio-informatics and Biochemistry. The School has intensive ongoing research programmes in the emerging fields of Microbiology, Medical Genetics, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biomedical Engineering and related branches of Biomedical Sciences. The School has developed a global reputation as a major centre of higher education and funded research in the field with state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities. It has also entered into collaborative partnerships with leading institutions like Defence Bioengineering and Electro Medical Laboratories, Bangalore, Central Scientific and Instrument Organization, Chandigarh, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Delhi, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, and Nicholas Piramal Laboratories, Mumbai.
Admission forms for higher education can be obtained through post and admission would be based on the entrance test conducted by the University. Preference is normally given to students who have a good GATE score. The tuition fee per annum for the Master’s programme is about Rs 85,000.
Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Carnegie Mellon Biotechnology is an established department at the University focusing on studies in Biomedical Engineering, Computational Biology and Chemistry, Drug Discovery, Medical Robotics, Nanotechnology, Neuroscience and Tissue Engineering. Carnegie Mellon plays a key role in biotechnology research, working to advance healthcare, biological understanding, and a better quality of life. Several undergraduate and graduate programmes are offered by the Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Psychology, Statistics and Computer Science.
The Institute’s Biomedical Engineering department is famous for its research studies. Students can pursue coursework and research in areas like bioimaging, biomechanics and devices, biomaterials and regenerative medicine, and cellular and molecular biotechnology. The graduate programmes in Biomedical Engineering are designed to match the technological expertise of the engineer with the growing needs of healthcare in hospitals. Research studies benefit from Carnegie’s traditional strengths in information technology, computation and complex engineered systems design. The faculty collaborates regularly with clinical researchers in the Pittsburgh area, especially the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative and the local biomedical engineering industrial community.
University of New South Wales, Australia
The University of New South Wales is one of Australia's leading research and teaching universities. The university has extensive global partnerships, making it a hotspot for several international students. The Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at the University offers the MBiomedE degree program designed for students with a medical/ biological science or engineering/ physical science background. In the early part of the programme, candidates with a medical/biological science background may study basic engineering courses such as mathematics, mechanics, electronics and computing. Candidates without a biomedical background may take courses in physiology and/or anatomy. Online applications can be downloaded from the website. All students applying for the Master’s programme at the University must have a valid IELTS score.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The University is one of the leading centres in the region paying special attention to the field of research and development. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering offers students the opportunity to pursue research-based education in the field of molecular biology and biotechnology. Post graduate programmes are offered in the areas of Environmental Biotechnology, Advanced Physio Chemical Treatment Process and Nanomaterials for chemical engineering applications. Students need a basic degree in the relevant discipline to be eligible for admission.
Scores in GRE and TOEFL are considered, though not mandatory for admissions.
University College, UK
UCL is one of the oldest universities and the third to be established in England after Oxford and Cambridge. The Faculty of Life Sciences offers programmes at the undergraduate and post graduate levels. Master’s programmes are offered in the fields of Biochemical Engineering, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Medical Imaging among others by the respective departments. Application can be made online on the website. Students are expected to provide satisfactory level of proficiency in English through a valid score in IELTS.
Careers in Biotechnology
To have an idea of the growth of the biotechnology industry in the world, the number of people employed in the industry has increased by 90% in the last 10 years. Intellectual talent is mostly required for intensive research projects, and post graduate and doctoral students can find tremendous opportunity at leading laboratories and research-based institutes. However, there is a need for skilled talent to fill positions in critical areas, for instance to fulfil the role of a biotechnology technician. The field of biotechnology offers career opportunities in quality control and assurance, information technology, human resources, facilities and infrastructure maintenance, and manufacturing. Academics is a good area to focus on, especially at universities overseas, where you will be exposed to a research-intensive environment. Salary packages are as high, or even more than the IT industry since the number of available talent is very less.