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How to become a Biotechnology Engineer?

Team StoryWeavers|May 15, 2020|

Careerscope - Who is a Biotech Engineer

Do you know where the insulin that is often taken by diabetes patients comes from? Or who came up with the idea of genetically modified fruits that stay fresh for longer than usual? Or have you heard about the recently developed ‘Gene Therapy’ that can alter a human’s genetic material to cure them of deadly diseases? 

The answer to all of these questions can be summed up in two words – Biotechnology Engineering.

What is Biotechnology Engineering?

It is a field of study that combines the knowledge from two streams: Biology and Technology. Biotech engineers are people who study biological processes and functioning of various living things like microorganisms, plants and animals and use it for various industrial purposes.  In simpler words, biotechnology is the study of living organisms, which is further used for making chemicals that can be utilized in different industries. Biotechnology engineering is all around you! Everyday products like the plastic used for food packaging, cosmetics, fabrics like polyester, washing detergents etc have been derived from Biotech engineering.

Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering and Pharmaceuticals: The difference between the three.

The biotechnology sector is all about using biological processes, organisms and cells to develop new technologies and products. For example, it is used to develop vaccines and life-saving treatments, it is also used in minimizing greenhouse emissions or identifying unknown microbes like bacteria, viruses etc. It is an umbrella term for many applied fields like genetic engineering, microbiology, epidemiology, Immunology, environmental health and safety etc.

Biomedical engineering is about using principles of engineering in the field of medicine and healthcare. For example, a biomedical engineer works towards studying the science behind cancer or designing artificial organs for the human body, developing technology and machines that help doctors in diagnosing medical issues and performing surgeries etc. Biomedical engineering covers fascinating subjects like Biomedical Instrumentation, Biomedical Nanotechnology, Biomaterials etc.  

The Pharmaceutical Industry is very similar to Biotech Engineering, in the sense that both produce medicine. But there is a key difference between the two. While Biotech engineering uses the processes of living organisms to come up with new medicines or products, Pharmaceutical companies use artificial sources or chemicals to produce the medicines.

Did you know? 

  1. One of the wonders from the world of Biotech, Zolgensma, is the most expensive drug in the history of the world.  It has a price tag of $2.125 million. It cures spinal muscular atrophy. 
  2. With advancements in Biotechnology like DNA sequencing and cloning, it could be possible to bring back some extinct species like the woolly mammoth. No claims regarding dinosaurs are being made yet though. 
  3. Earlier, the insulin to treat diabetes patients was extracted from pigs and cows. With Biotechnology, genetically modified bacteria were grown to do the same. Till date, this is how Insulin is produced worldwide.
  4. Heat and power can be produced from algae as a Biofuel, reducing our dependency on the depleting fossil fuels for our energy needs. 
  5. Bioplastics are used in plastic food packaging, mobile phone cases, sunglasses, pens and personal care packaging for products such as shampoos and conditioners.

How to become a Biotech Engineer?

How to become a Biotech Engineer

Famous colleges for Biotechnology Engineering In India and Abroad:

Colleges in India: 

  • Indian Institute of Technology (IITs)
  • Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
  • Vellore Institute of Technology  (VIT)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
  • University of Hyderabad
  • Indian Institute of Science IISc – Bangalore
  • Anna University, Chennai
  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune
  •  Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Kerala

Colleges Abroad:

  • Harvard University, Cambridge USA
  • Purdue University, Indiana, USA
  • University of Tokyo, Japan
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • California Institute of Technology, USA
  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore USA
  • Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
  • Princeton University, USA
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • National University of Singapore, Singapore

While this field is complex and requires one to be curious, observant, hard-working and patient, it is definitely one of the most exciting and relevant fields of study in today’s time. So if you are interested in becoming a Biotech Engineer, it’s time to plan, commit and start your journey. Who knows! You could even be a part of the team of biotech engineers that discovers a vaccine for diseases like COVID-19 or save the planet from global warming or even develop healthy junk food!  The possibilities in this field are endless.

Pro tip: The first step towards this dream job is performing well in your 12th Board Exams and getting a good score for JEE. BYJU’S-The Learning App has programs designed to prepare you for your boards as well as competitive exams like IIT/JEE. With adaptive and engaging videos, sample test papers for each concept and personalised feedback, BYJU’S visual learning methods will give you the necessary boost to prepare for your exams.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like:

https://byjus.com/the-learning-tree/plastic-plants-possible/

https://byjus.com/the-learning-tree/career-genetic-engineering/

https://byjus.com/the-learning-tree/meet-first-living-robot-xenobots/ 

About the Author


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Charu Verma

Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at storyweavers@byjus.com to share anything that you think is worth sharing.

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