Biotechnology is a rapidly enlarging field and is now encompassing all branches of life science and technology. Medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology include medicinal plants, production of antibodies and vaccines, identification of genetic diseases and gene therapy, drug design, synthesis of biomaterials, replacement tissues and bio-robotics. Microbial biotechnology has numerous applications in fermentation products, clean up of oil spillage, nitrogen fixation and bio-mining. Animal biotechnology, marine biotechnology and plant biotechnology have extremely important implications for the future. Specially designed transgenic species with defined functions can be of use in rapid growth and predator resistance or capable of producing important biological products. Food biotechnology has applications in better manufacturing and processing of foods as well as utilizing enzyme technology to generate consumable items at a much-reduced rate. Biotechnology has also applications in generation of alternat live energy sources, bio-fuels and better utilization of existing energy sources. On the environmental front, biotechnology has uses in pollution clean-up and control, bio-remediation and phyto-remediation. Indeed, it has been often stated that the present century will be the century of biotechnology.
At the University of Development Alternative(UODA), the Department of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering emphasizes advanced studies in pharmaceutical, environmental, marine, animal, microbial, food and plant biotechnology. The students shall be given an in-depth training in molecular biological techniques, which would enable them to be familiar with tissue culture, cloning, generation of transgenic species and recombinant gene therapy. The students must participate in journal clubs and seminar sessions dealing with the latest advances in the field. Students must also learn English, Computer programming, and Business Management as part of their course curriculum.The Department has an ongoing program at both the Bachelor degree and Master degree level. As part of the Master degree requirements, the students are expected to submit a dissertation based on original research and publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Ongoing research projects include study of fish pathogens, protective action of immunomodulators, artificial breeding, characterization of pharmacological constituents of indigenous medicinal plants, micro-propagation and modulation of arsenic-induced syndromes through changes in dietary patterns.
Since biotechnology is a multidisciplinary program, the potential for obtaining jobs is very high in developed countries. So is the potential for obtaining fellowships for advanced degrees and training. The course curriculum at the Department of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, of UODA has been designed to be a fairly intensive program covering the latest advances in knowledge and applicability in this field. The students are expected to have an excellent comprehension of HSC or A-level.Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and English prior to enrolment; familiarity with computers shall be considered as an asset. Beside theory classes, the students are expected to attend laboratory courses and go on field trips.
In a developing country like ours, the biotechnology graduate has an immense potential to contribute to advancements in the agricultural, fisheries, animal science, environmental and industrial sector. The government has recognized the importance of biotechnology with the establishment of a National Biotechnology Institute. A number of pharmaceutical companies of this country are also in the process of setting up research and development centers in pharmaceutical biotechnology, especially recombinant DNA products. Additionally, most developed countries offer a wide variety of fellowships for advanced training and research in different areas of biotechnology.