What is Biotechnology? | School of Biotechnology

What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology can be defined as the controlled and deliberate manipulation of biological systems (whether living cells or cell components) for the efficient manufacture or processing of useful products. The fact that living organisms have evolved such an enormous spectrum of biological capabilities means that by choosing appropriate organisms it is possible to obtain a wide variety of substances, many of which are useful to man as food, fuel and medicines. Over the past 30 years, biologists have increasingly applied the methods of physics, chemistry and mathematics in order to gain precise knowledge, at the molecular level, of how living cells make these substances. By combining this newly-gained knowledge with the methods of engineering and science, what has emerged is the concept of biotechnology which embraces all of the above-mentioned disciplines.

Biotechnology's Influence on Industry

Biotechnology has already begun to change traditional industries such as food processing and fermentation. It has also given rise to the development of a whole new technology for industrial production of hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals, food and energy sources and processing of waste materials. This industry must be staffed by trained biotechnologists who not only have a sound basis of biological knowledge, but a thorough grounding in engineering methods. At Dublin City University, the School of Biological Sciences is unique in having, as members of its academic staff, engineers who have specialised in biotechnology. The degree programme also places a major emphasis on practical work and on developing a wide range of analytical and manipulative skills, including pilot plant operational skills appropriate to the biotechnologist. Graduates will be in an ideal position to exploit the opportunities for biotechnology in Ireland, in established or developing companies.

Why Study Biotechnology at DCU?

The course encompases biological and engineering aspects

  • Modern laboratories including Pilot Plant.
  • Biotechnology is a government designated strategic area.
  • It is the longest established degree course in Biotechnology in Ireland.
  • INTRA (paid work experience is an obligatory part of the course.

What Is The Course About?

  • 4 years honours degree course.
  • 50/50 lectures/laboratory based work.
  • Year 1 Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Computing.
  • Following Year 1, emphasis on Biology and Process Engineering.
  • Biology includes Biochemistry, Microbiology, Genetics, Instrumentation and Bioanalysis.
  • Process Engineering include Fluid Flow, Heat Transfer, Statistics and Thermodynamics.
  • Choice of option subjects in Year 4 in topical aspects of Biotechnology including Genetics, Immunology, Environmental and Food Biotechnology, Animal Cell Culture and Engineering.
  • Laboratory based research project in final year.

Industrial Placement (INTRA):

  • INTRA is paid.
  • INTRA is relevant full-time work experience.
  • INTRA takes place in Year 3.
  • INTRA is arranged by DCU (in almost all cases).
  • Through INTRA, gain understanding of the practical world of industry.
  • INTRA helps you to make realistic career decisions.

Career Prospects:

  • Research and Development in Academic, Industrial and Clinical Areas.
  • Industry (food and drink, chemical and pharmaceutical, quality control).
  • Process Control.
  • Teaching.
  • Sales/Marketing

For more information on the BSc in Biotechnology