One of the fastest growing areas of science
Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing areas of science in the world today. The race to improve medical treatments, produce crops resistant to pests and disease and to protect against bioterrorism has resulted in a flourish of research activity. With a long history of cutting-edge research in the field of biotechnology, we conduct research in a wide variety of areas such as wildlife conservation, human health, reproductive technologies, environmental toxicology and remediation, biofuels, food production and agriculture, overcoming viral and bacterial disease, putting microbes to work and biosecurity threats posed by invasive pest species.
What is biotechnology?
Biotechnology is any technique that uses living organisms to make or modify products or improve plants and animals. In medicine, it has been used to develop vaccines and antibiotics (think Gardisil, a vaccine to help against cervical cancer and Relenza, a medicine used to treat Influenza), to test for diseases and to assist couples to have children by IVF. Biotechnology is part of the search for cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity and cardiac disorders. In agriculture, biotechnology resulted in Dolly the cloned sheep and tomatoes that don't rot!
How does biotechnology differ from biomedical science?
The Biotechnology degree focuses on biochemical, cell and molecular knowledge and technologies that can be applied to microbes, plants and animals as well as biomedical areas. Biomedical science at Newcastle has some overlap (as does any program involving living systems) but has a more direct focus on humans and their organ systems.
A focus on modern biotechnology
The Bachelor of Biotechnology is especially designed for those students who have a particular interest in the application of biology in modern technologies. The focus of courses in this program is on molecular and cell biology subjects. Biotechnology is the harnessing of the biochemical and genetic processes of living organisms for our own use. The degree emphasises DNA and cell technologies and their application to human health, plant and animal agriculture and the environment. Students have the opportunity to gain practical experience working in research and development facilities in industry and research laboratories within the university during their degree.