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Biotechnology

I am an 11th standard student and would like to know about higher study options in Biotechnology. Is the B.Tech. or the B.Sc. course the most suitable one to do in the discipline? Which are the best institutions offering those courses? Also let me know about the job prospects in the field.

ANJANA J.

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Biotechnology, a multidisciplinary area, encompasses not only Biology and Technology but also subjects such as Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. Some of the fast-growing areas in Biotechnology are recombinant DNA technology, microbial biotechnology, cell biology, immuno-technology and protein engineering. Its major application areas are in the field of health care, pharmaceuticals, medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry and environment.

B.Tech. and B.Sc. courses are available in the discipline. The curriculum of the professional B.Tech. course focusses on the technological applications in biology. The B.Sc. course is similar to those of any science subjects.

Students who pass the Plus Two examinations with at least 50 per cent marks in aggregate in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry or Biotechnology or Computer Science or Biology may appear for the State engineering entrance examination and mark their choice for a Biotechnology seat during counselling. Selection is on the basis of the score in the entrance examination and the marks in the Plus Two examinations.

A few universities offer five-year integrated M.Sc. biotechnology courses for those who pass Plus Two in the science stream. M.Tech. dual-degree courses are offered by a few institutions.

To become a biotechnologist, it is better to do the B.Tech. course or the five-year M.Tech. dual-degree course. Those who choose the B.Sc. course must do the M.Sc. course before signing up for research.

B.Tech. in Kerala

In Kerala, the following self-financing engineering colleges offer the B.Tech. course in Biotechnology. They offer 60 seats each.

Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering, Pappanamcode, Thiruvananthapuram.

Mohandas College of Engineering Technology, Anad, Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram.

MET’s School of Engineering, Mala, Thrissur.

Sree Buddha College of Engineering, Pattoor, Alappuzha.

College of Engineering, Thrikkarippur, Kasaragod.

Admission to merit seats is from the rank list prepared by the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations (www.cee-kerala.org).

IIT courses

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Madras and Guwahati, offer the B.Tech. course in Biotechnology. IIT, Kharagpur conducts B.Tech. and M.Tech. dual-degree courses in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering.

IIT, Madras offers the dual-degree course in Biotechnology. IIT, Delhi offers the dual-degree course in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology.

Selection to IIT courses has so far been through the Joint Entrance Examination, but is set to change from the next academic year.

The Central Board of Secondary Education has been conducting the All India Engineering Entrance Examination for admission to engineering degree courses in various branches, including biotechnology. Even this is set to be replaced by a joint test.

The Biotechnology Centre of Anna University, Chennai, offers a B.Tech. course in Industrial Biotechnology. Those who have done their Plus Two in the science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics or Biology may apply.

Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, offers a BE course in Biotechnology. Those who have passed the Plus Two examinations with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry or Biotechnology or Biology with at least 50 per cent marks in aggregate may apply. Selection is through the national-level Manipal University Online Entrance Test (www.manipal.edu).

SRM University, Kattankulathur, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, conducts a B.Tech. course in Biotechnology. Selection is through the national-level SRM Engineering Entrance Examination (www.srmuniv.ac.in).

VIT University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, offers a B.Tech. Biotechnology course. Admission is through the national-level VIT Engineering Entrance Examination. (www.vit.ac.in).

The list above is only indicative.

PG, research

For a better career, do the M.Tech, course and take a Ph.D. For admission to the M.Tech. programme, a valid score in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is required. M.Tech. courses are available in Industrial Biotechnology, Medical Biotechnology and so on, besides Biotechnology. However, these courses are few and far between.

Anna University and West Bengal University of Technology, Kolkata, offer the M.Tech. course in Biotechnology. Admission is through the national-level Combined Biotechnology Entrance Examination conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode are among the test centres.

Those who have scored at least 60 per cent marks in the engineering degree course in Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology, Leather Technology, Biomedical Engineering or Chemical Technology; the B.Pharm. course; or M.Sc. courses in Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Botany, Zoology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Genetics or Bioinformatics and final-year students in those course may take the entrance examination. The notification may be expected during January or February. The examination will be held in May.

IIT, Kharagpur offers the M.Tech. course in Biotechnology. Those with a valid GATE score may apply (www.iitkgp.ernet.in).

The Centre for Technology of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, conducts an M.Tech. course in Biotechnology. The core subjects include Microbial Engineering, Molecular Biology and Virology, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Metabolic Regulation Process. The elective subjects are Immunology, Fundamentals of Computers, Environmental Technology, Immuno-technology, Plant Tissue Culture, Biochemical and Biophysical Techniques and so on.

The Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, conducts an ME course in biotechnology.

SASTRA University, Thanjavur, VIT University, and Bharath University, Chennai, offer an M.Tech. course in Industrial Biotechnology.

IIT, Madras and the University of Hyderabad conduct an M.Tech. course in Medical Biotechnology.

Research

After M.Tech., do research leading to a Ph.D. Research facilities are available at Anna University; Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University; Jawaharlal Nehru University; the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram; the Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, and so on.

Job opportunities

The biotechnology industry is posting good growth worldwide. Since the industry is knowledge intensive, India is expected to have a competitive advantage. A biotechnologist can find jobs in biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, chemical, agricultural and allied industries, biotechnology research institutes and laboratories. Teaching is a good option for highly qualified candidates.

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