A career in biotech

DQW Bureau
02 Feb 2002

What's biotech and bioinformatics?

Biotechnology is defined as the means of genetically manipulating organisms so that useful product can be made. The word biotech also stands for all parts of an industry that creates, develops and markets a variety of products by manipulating life forms on a molecular level.

The areas covered by biotechnology include recombinant DNA, plant tissue culture, DNA or gene splicing, enzyme systems, plant breeding, meristem culture, mammalian cell culture, immunology, molecular biology, fermentation, and many others.

Where do I study?

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai
  • Bose Institute, Calcutta
  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute University of
    Pune, Pune
  • Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh
  • Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
  • National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi

For more information on biotechnology courses:

  • Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, New Delhi

Bioinformatics is the generation, collection, storage (in databases) and efficient utilization of data from the different areas in biotech to accomplish a research objective. Which means that computers are used to arrive at results based on the data collected. A Masters student in Bioinformatics would take a program of study that combines biology and genetics, with the practice and theory of computer science.

What's this used for? There are many areas under biotech where research is happening. This includes food technology-to make better tasting and healthier foods. In fact biotechnology is being banked upon to meet the requirements of an ever-increasing world population. There's work going on for making better medicines, textiles, fodder, paper, leather and so on.

Who is it for?

There're many fields you could go into. But a degree in any of the biological sciences is a must. A Masters in Bioinformatics is an asset. An aptitude for research is what companies look for.

For Masters degree holders, the starting salary is Rs 10,000. In two years they can earn about Rs 20,000 per month.

Where's the industry headed?

The biotech industry is all set to cross $ 50 billion globally within the next five years. Pharma-biotech and agri-biotech have estimated global market sizes of $20 billion each while the Bioinformatics market is predicted to grow to $10 billion by 2006.

Pragya Madan and Suma EP with inputs from Swapna Khanna and Vini Goel

Source: www.computersathome.com

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