Biotechnologists use biological organisms to develop or make products designed to improve health, food and the world around us. They work in areas as diverse as food and agriculture, environmental conservation and medicine.
Types of biotechnology include:
- environmental – detecting and controlling pollution and contamination in the environment, industrial waste, and agricultural chemicals, creating renewable energy and designing biodegradable materials to reduce humanity’s ecological footprint
- medical and health – use live organisms or biomolecular processes to develop and improve treatments, identify inherited diseases, cure certain disorders, and even lead to organ regeneration
- industrial – using cloning and enzyme production to preserve and enhance the taste in food and drink, and developing enzymes to remove stains from clothing at lower washing temperatures
- agricultural biotechnology – improving animal feed and genetically modifying crops to increase pest resistance and productivity
- biofuels – using organic compounds to reduce the cost of bio-refining reagents and put biofuels on equal footing with fossil fuels, and creating chemicals from renewable biomass to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- marine and aquatic biotechnology – increasing the yields of farmed fish and designing disease-resistant strains of oysters and vaccines against certain viruses that can infect fish.
Employers of Bio-technologists
- Pharmaceutical and chemical companies
- Biotechnology and genetic engineering companies
- Research institutions
- Agricultural and crop production companies
- Food and drink manufacturers
You will need a degree or an organic science degree if you want to become a biotechnologist. This will need to be in a relevant scientific subject such as biotechnology, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, microbiology, environmental biology or chemical engineering.
You will need to have:
- an aptitude for bioscience with the ability to solve social problems
- an enquiring mind and the ability to work with abstract concepts
- patience, and the ability to work methodically and meticulously when following scientific techniques and company procedures
- good hand-eye coordination and the ability to use technical equipment with accuracy
- excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
- the ability to analyse and interpret statistical and technical data
- the initiative to work well as both part of a team and independently
- good computer skills to record data and write scientific reports.