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What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is the place where biology meets technology to solve problems. BIO, the trade association that represents biotechnology companies, universities, and state-operated biotechnology research centers, describes biotechnology like this: “Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet.” It is at once one of the oldest, most advanced, and fastest-developing fields of science.

Consider that humans have been leveraging biotechnology for 6,000 years—in these cases, microorganisms’ biological processes—to make bread (the biotechnology of yeast), to brew beer (the biotechnology of fermentation), and to make cheese (the biotechnology of coagulation). Those innovations were just the beginning of solving problems by understanding, controlling, and leveraging biology with innovative technologies.

Biotechnology includes some of the most advanced research challenges and technological innovations on our planet today, including things like recombinant DNA technology, genetically engineered materials for medical and environmental purposes, intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and therapeutics, gene therapy, molecular causes of disease, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, stem cell research, and cloning.

What Industries Are Involved with Biotechnology?

It’s nearly impossible to exclude any industry from a list of industries that involve biotechnological research and innovation, considering the breadth of research and practical applications of biology and technology. Some of the most prominent industries with a demand for biotechnological expertise are:

  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical industries
  • Agriculture and food production
  • Computer technology, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology
  • Manufacturing
  • Chemical industries
  • Environmental protection and cleanup
  • Renewable energy (particularly biofuels)
  • Waste management and energy development

What Are Some of the Top Careers in Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is implicated in nearly every industry and process that touches on human lives today, whether through the food and energy we consume, the healthcare we receive, or the environment in which we live, work and play. Biotechnology careers fall on a spectrum from pure research to product development to marketing and sales. Career paths that are taken by those who are interested in and who study biotechnology include:

  • Biochemists
  • Bioinformaticians
  • Biophysicists
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Biotechnology sales
  • Pharmaceutical sales
  • Biotechnology Laboratory Technicians
  • Biotechnology Research Associates
  • Clinical Research Associates
  • Crime Lab Technicians
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Quality Control Analysts
  • Quality Control Engineers
  • Senior Research Scientists
  • Validation Technicians
  • Doctors

Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, CA, offers several cutting-edge programs that integrate business, life sciences, engineering, genetics, and pharmacy studies in ways that satisfy industry’s constant demand for brilliant and innovative Biotechnology minds. KGI offers biotechnology-related programs through the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and School of Medicine.

KGI offers Doctorate Degrees, Master’s Degrees, and Certificate programs, including a PhD in Applied Life Sciences, Doctor of Pharmacy, a Master of Engineering in Biopharmaceutical Processing, Master of Science in Medical Device Engineering, and Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling. Also included are Master of Science in Translational Medicine, Certificate in Bioscience Management, and many more programs that meet the demands of today’s biotechnology industries and research institutions.

Are you interested in understanding how biology can confront the problems of the personal, agricultural, environmental, energy, and medical needs of the world—and in developing and leveraging technologies to solve those problems? To find out how to take the next step towards an advanced degree and career in biotechnology, visit Keck Graduate Institute.