This is the transcript for the video Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology – Course Info

Welcome to the information video for the Biotechnology Degree Program here at UTS. Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation upon whose ancestral lands our city campus now stands. I pay respect to the elders, both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land. Hello, my name is Sheila Donnelly and I’m the program director for the biotechnology curriculum here at UTS like most of the educators you’ll meet during your time UTS, I’m a researcher and an academic. My area of research interest is to exploit parasitic worms for the development of novel therapeutics for human disease. So my work very nicely fits into the profile of what we would expect for a biotechnologist. In this session, I’ll introduce you to the teaching culture, at UTS, perhaps why, a consideration as to why you should study biotechnology at UTS our specific courses, we have a range of different courses that you can enroll in, what you might expect for career opportunities at the end and some information about the application process. So at UTS, we are very proud of the unique experience that we offer to you as a science student, as I mentioned in my introduction, all of the people you will meet in class and in labs are experts in their field, both from research and industry. You’ll be learning from them in world class specialised facilities complemented with real world experiences. This can be through a range of activities, such as industry related project work, research lab experience and internship opportunities.

Our science community is linked with industry to create genuine research outputs that have a good significant impact on society, both locally and internationally, being exposed to this environment during your education with us, we’ll stand you apart from your peers upon graduation. So why would you study biotechnology? I often ask this of the incoming students, and as we go through the curriculum, we have different subjects where we touch base and inquire as to why they chose biotechnology. And one of the most common things I hear is that students are really interested in genetic engineering or gene expression, molecular biology feel that biotechnology is the degree for them. Of course, this is most famously illustrated here in the picture showing Dolly the sheep, who was the first cloned animal that successfully lived for quite a while. But biotechnology has an awful lot more to offer. For example, the field of science is not just about gene expression and manipulating genetic expression. It’s also about using biological organisms, biological cells and biological processes, including gene expression, to the development or improvement of products and applications that would benefit society. Here at UTS, we specifically focus on applications in the field of medicine and environmental science, primarily as this reflects the two primary areas of research that we have here at UTS. But in addition, underpinning all of this biology, is business. Biotechnology, after all, is the marriage of science and business as it centres on the commercialisation of biological applications for profit. So really, biotechnology can be seen here represented by a person who’s interested both in the business and application and in the science of discovery.

The content of our degrees are delivered using a blend of many different styles of learning and education. We have traditional lecture theatres and this is blended with a mix of workshops, tutorials and also online delivery of information. In the practical classes, you’ll be doing research led, research integrated type experimental work in the state of the art labs, like our new hive lab, which is recently built. In addition, you’ll work in workshops with both your peers and representatives from industry. This is a photograph of a recent biotechnology class where we have secondary students working on presentations with industry representatives. You’ll also work across different faculties. So in biotechnology, as I mentioned, there’s an element of business. So you will be doing some lectures in the business school with staff from the Faculty of Business and also aspects of law. So this crosses over between three different schools, science, law and business. And you do have opportunities to travel abroad, experience education and also opportunities for internships, both nationally and internationally. So let’s take a look at the different degrees that we have here at UTS, as I mentioned, first of all, we have a Bachelor of Science which majors in biotechnology. And what I would say about this is that it’s a solid, rounded science degree, which forms a very good foundation in biological sciences with an introduction to biotechnology. So I would suggest that this is really most suited to someone who really enjoys biological biomedical science, is interested in understanding how that’s applied, perhaps in biotechnology, but is unsure of specialising in biotechnology.

The structure of this degree also gives you flexibility to change your mind or make decisions as you go through your degree. So, for example here, I’ve just shown you the structure first year and in this degree plan, you share your first year subjects with Bachelor of Science, who also major in medical science and who major in biomedical science. So you’re sharing this first year together as a large cohort and then in second year you begin to specialise in your biotechnology majors. And also pharmacology is specific to you and some of the analytical biochemistry. In third year, you finally have other and biotechnology subjects which are specific to this major. And as you notice, you also have four elective choices. Every degree at UTS comes with four electives, every single degree, should I say, comes with four electives. This means you have four study choices that you can choose any subject across the university, across the handbook, providing you have the prerequisites. So this is a really nice opportunity to build on your biotechnology, if that’s what interests you or to broaden your expertise and across the different schools and faculties. So, as I said, this offers a little bit of flexibility. So if, for example, you do biotechnology in second year and you do decide that perhaps it isn’t for you, but you have a bigger interest in some of the biomedical or medical areas of this degree, you can actually switch across and finish majoring in either biomedical science or medical science instead of biotechnology.

So this degree is really good for somebody who has a really solid interest in science, but perhaps is a little bit unsure as to what major they want to actually finish in. Our next degree is The Bachelor of Biotechnology, and this is a much more specialised degree, it focuses much earlier and it incorporates a lot more elements that are specific to biotechnology. As I said, it majors in two different disciplines. One is medical biotechnology and the second, environmental biotechnology. But it also brings in law and business subjects. So this is certainly very much more focused compared to the Bachelor of Science that we’ve just seen. And it’s very specific to the two disciplines, medical, environmental, with less flexibility across those majors. So here, as you see with the medical biotechnology, basically the academic sessions focused very much on the application of biological discovery, specifically within the field of medicine. So the development of medical devices, diagnostics and novel treatment strategies. On the other hand, we look at the environmental science degree. In this case, the academic session again uses biological discoveries. So there’s some concepts on foundation science that is shared between these two. But here it’s about the application within remediation, generation of energy, environmental monitoring and management and generation of products or biomass. So the application is slightly different within these two disciplines.

You do share some core subjects, but you can see compared to the Bachelor of Science, there’s very little common ground between the two. So very early on in first year, you begin to focus on some medical subjects within the medical biotechnology. And then obviously that increases and gets more and more specific as you go through the degree. In comparison to the environmental major, where here you obviously have environmental subjects from first year and again, gaining in specificity all the way through the third year. Also, as I mentioned, you have a law subject which is common to two, and this is taught by the law school rather than scientists who have experience in this, it’s actually taught by the law school. So you get a really in-depth understanding of intellectual property protection as it occurs in biotechnology. You also are taught a business subject. And again, this is delivered by the business school mixing with business students. So again, it gives you a very good foundation in business and management and starting a business. Skills that are very applicable within the biotechnology industry. So the plan, not shown here, it does also include for elective choices, as I said, every degree UTS has this. So again, you have the opportunity in a semester, for example, to perhaps take on an internship or do some overseas study. So once you graduate, what career options do you have, the beauty of biotechnology, but perhaps also the challenge is that the world is your oyster. You have quite a broad choice of careers once you graduate.

And this is because, as I said, it encompasses not only biology and biological sciences, but also business and commercialisation. So you have the capacity to cross over and between biology type careers and also commercial careers where biology has a role to play. These are actually listed because a number of these have been recognised as emerging careers because of various changes we have in biotechnology, because of the development of data and data analysis and so on. There’s lots of different types of careers or new careers that are emerging. And then we have the fair and the standard trail that most people would follow post-graduation. So, for example, you have the classic idea of medical and lab technicians. So this is working within a lab and that can either be in a research institute or a company, pharmaceutical company or so on, biomedical engineer is similar. There’s an up and coming need in society for genetic counsellors. And this obviously is linked to the genome project where we have an understanding of the human genome and perhaps gene mutations and so on that are linked with the disease. The more we notify those, the more we recognise those, the more diagnostics will occur and therefore the more support patients and their family will require. So there is an increased need for genetic counsellors. And perhaps the largest emerging career within biotechnology is data scientists. Again, because of the large amount of technology we have and the data that that is producing not only of the genome project, but lots of other biological entities.

We have lots and lots of data, but not enough people to analyse it. So somebody with a biological skill who can see trends and use algorithms to identify trends within data is a very valuable person. Obviously ongoing within this field of science we have clinical trial management. And then in terms of the business side of things, there’s always jobs and gaps for patent examiners or patent attorneys in manufacturing. Actually the manufacturing or also the regulatory affairs and quality control associated with this. So these are the typical type of jobs that you can enter. Some of them, you can go straight from graduation into these. Some will require additional postgraduate qualifications. We do have a number of these already at UTS, so there’s a nice pathway for you to go from bachelors to postgraduate work. Some are just diplomas, some are obviously masters. And also keep an eye on these and maybe think as you go through your degree, because obviously you still remember have those four elective slots. So if there’s additional qualifications or additional subjects, you may need to get into some of these career options that offers you the opportunity to gain those qualifications. Thank you for your time, if you do have any questions, of course, get in touch with us. You can use the email or the web pages there, shown on screen. And also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thank you very much.