ELIXIR OF LIFE

A lu­cra­tive ca­reer in biotech­nol­ogy can be achieved through aca­demic ex­cel­lence and spe­cialised re­search

India Today - - BIOTECHNOLOGY - By Deepshikha Punj

In 1978, with a seed cap­i­tal of just 10,000, the then 25 year- old Kiran Mazum­dar- Shaw started a biotech­nol­ogy com­pany in the garage of her rented house in Ban­ga­lore. What most peo­ple do not know is that in that since then, the In­dian biotech­nol­ogy in­dus­try has be­come one of the fastest grow­ing sec­tors and con­trib­utes to nearly three- fifth of the to­tal rev­enue at 9,500 crore.

De­vel­op­ment in this sec­tor has re­sulted in an aug­mented de­mand of trained pro­fes­sion­als. The pro­fes­sion of­fers job op­por­tu­ni­ties not only in the field of bi­ol­ogy, but also sub­jects like math­e­mat­ics, physics, chem­istry and en­gi­neer­ing. Ra­jiv Shorey, pres­i­dent, NIIT Univer­sity ex­plains, “Since biotech­no­log­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing or bio- en­gi­neer­ing is the ap­pli­ca­tion of con­cepts and meth­ods of molec­u­lar bi­ol­ogy to solve prob­lems in life sci­ences, us­ing en­gi­neer­ing's an­a­lyt­i­cal and syn­thetic method­olo­gies, the course cre­ates man­power that is trained in the lat­est tech­niques and de­vices for bi­o­log­i­cal re­search, in­clud­ing the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try.”

All those who want to pe­ruse bio­engi­neer­ing must un­der­stand that this field is at a nascent stage and prom­ises huge po­ten­tial as there is no other area where in­te­gra­tion of phys­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal sci­ences is vis­i­ble. Naresh Grover, di­rec­tor, Fac­ulty of En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy, Manav Rachna In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity, Farid­abad, says “If we look closely at the emerg­ing trends in the in­dus­try within and out­side the coun­try, biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor is fast grow­ing in man­u­fac­tur­ing field to­day. Be it man­u­fac­tur­ing of and en­hanc­ing pro­duc­tion of ef­fec­tive and safer drugs, di­ag­nos­tic kits, af­ford­able vac­cines, de­signer foods, pro­bi­otics, biosen­sors, biochips, agro- bio­chem­i­cal, in­dus­trial en­zymes, trans­genic crops, bio- sim­i­lar or in­tro­duc­tion of cleaner bio­pro­cess, all clearly spells the po­ten­tial of biotech­nol­ogy is in­creas­ing day by day in lo­cal as well as in­ter­na­tional plat­forms.”

Biotech­nol­ogy cour­ses vary in du­ra­tion and cour­ses are of­fered at the un­der­grad­u­ate as well as post grad­u­ate level. The dif­fer­ent types of de­grees a stu­dent can earn in this field in­clude a bach­e­lor in biotech­nol­ogy which is of three years, a bach­e­lor of en­gi­neer­ing or tech­nol­ogy in biotech­nol­ogy which is of four years du­ra­tion. They can also pur­sue a mas­ter in biotech­nol­ogy for two years, a mas­ter of tech­nol­ogy in biotech­nol­ogy for two years or a mas­ter of phi­los­o­phy for one year. Grad­u­ates can also opt for an MBA in biotech­nol­ogy for two years or a PHD in the same. “Dur­ing post grad­u­a­tion, stu­dents can spe­cialise in sub­jects such as agri bio-tech­nol­ogy, pharma-biotech­nol­ogy, en­vi­ron­men­tal biotech­nol­ogy, fer­men­ta­tion tech­nol­ogy, in­dus­trial biotech­nol­ogy, bio­chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, tis­sue en­gi­neer­ing and plant biotech­nol­ogy,” says Grover.

Re­mu­ner­a­tion, of course, very much de­pends upon aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence. In the cor­po­rate sec­tor, fresh­ers may get any­thing be­tween 70,000 and 85,000 per month. Those work­ing in re­search in­sti­tutes can earn be­tween 60,000 per month.

REUBEN SINGH / www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com

Bio- engineers are high in de­mand in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors

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