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Quest for cure

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Be a part of a team that will develop therapies for a range of diseases.

Cells, tissues, and soon organs, will be preserved for a long period of time under -180 degree centigrade, and centuries later, the same cells, tissues, or organs will be taken out, thawed and brought back to life. It’s not science fiction, its science. Have you ever dreamt of working for technology of the future? Well, that dream is now possible because ‘stem cell research’ is emerging as one of the latest career options for youngsters, willing to take on a variety of challenges.

So, what exactly does ‘stem research’ involve? It is an advanced level of biological research carried out by people from diverse science background to find new therapies for various ailments. The next level leading from stem cell research is ‘stem cell therapy’.

Stem cell treatment or therapy refers to introducing new adult stem cells into damaged tissue to treat a particular disease. For instance, stem cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord have been used to treat leukaemia. Stem cell therapy also holds the potential to treat a variety of other serious ailments such as Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Parkinson’s disease and a variety of cancerous conditions. The field of stem cell research and therapy offers exciting career options for people looking for something different.

Eligibility

Are only medical professionals eligible for a career in stem cell research and therapy? The answer is no. There is a general misconception that only people with medical education background can be employed in stem cell therapy. In fact, students of basic biology too can find jobs in stem cell research and therapy. B.Sc graduates with at least one subject of Biological Sciences; MBBS or B.Pharma or B.D.S or B.VSc or B.E. Biotechnology can find jobs in stem cell research.

This emerging branch of biomedicine needs quality and trained manpower. With the global market of biomedicine expected to reach US $20 billion by 2013, excellent career opportunities will be available to postgraduate students from diverse science fields. India is a major biotech player in the Asia pacific region, coming next Japan, South Korea. Malaysia is also well catching up. Karnataka and Bangalore in particular is a major hub for work related to stem cells.

At the international level, a career in stem cell therapy has taken off in a big way. Students in Europe, Australia and USA have the option of pursuing their research career in developmental biology, tissue engineering, embryology, medical biotechnology, molecular biology, cell biology, nanotechnology, clinical research and stem cell biology. It provides multiple options to the students to even pursue higher studies in basic biology and applicative translational field.

In India

Stem cell research is among the most rapidly growing fields of science in India as several institutes are researching newer therapies. Even the Government of India, through its agencies like DBT, DST, ICMR, has started investing funds to support basic and translational research in this field of science.

There are several opportunities for science graduates to pursue a career in stem cell research and therapy in India. From a chief scientific officer to lab assistant, the opportunities are several. However, a basic science degree is not sufficient to find a job in such firms. An exclusive training to understand the working style and requirements of the industry is an added advantage.

Pioneering companies which offers careers in this sector

Bangalore-headquartered Stempeutics Research, Pvt. Ltd , is one of the leading stem cell companies in India.

Mumbai-based Reliance Life Sciences

Bangalore-headquartered Cryo–Save India is a part of Cryo-Save Group, Europe’s largest adult stem cell storage bank

StemOne Biologicals Pvt. Ltd. Pune etc

Ree Labs Mumbai

Candidates, who want to move ahead in their career, have the option of pursuing the following courses such as M.Sc in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Zoology, Biophysics, Microbiology and Life sciences. M. Sc Regenerative Medicine is offered only at MIRM Bangalore. Post the completion of education, one may choose starting their career in Quality, R&D, Production, Clinical Research, Supply Chain, and Human Resources besides Finance and other administrative functions.

The writer is Professor & Dean, Manipal Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

For details on carrier opportunities in stem cell-based organizations, one may reach Vijayaraghavan, Head of HR and Shared Services, Stempeutics Research @ vijaya.raghavan@

stempeutics.com


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