What is it anyway?
Biotech is the integration of natural sciences and engineering sciences to produce products of importance to humanity. There are different types of biotechnology as it is quite a broad area. And, being the fun people they are, they chose colours to differentiate the types of biotechnology!
Medical biotech (red ) uses living cells and cell materials to improve the health of people, while industrial biotech (white), deals with application of biotechnology on an industrial level for example, industrial fermentation.
Another branch is agricultural biotech (green), which develops genetically modified plants for example drought resistant crops. There is environmental biotech (blue) which focuses on preserving the environment by creating waste treatments and reducing pollution.
Why is biotechnology a hot topic?
This field is booming and showing potential to solve several global challenges. Biotech played a huge role in coming up with vaccinations for COVID-19. The same goes for the vaccination against measles, smallpox, polio, you name it- Everyone has now heard of companies such as Moderna and Sinovac Biotech are very popular names in the field now. Which Zimbabwean biotech companies can you think of?
An as an example, medicine is prescribed to you based on your symptoms and what has been used in the past to solve similar cases.
However, now biotechnology allows medicine to be tailor made for each patient depending on what their body requires. So instead of generalizing and causing side effects, the medicine is accepted by your particular cells and genes . Interesting right🤯?
Requirements to enter the biotech industry. Where can one study biotechnology? And what are the career prospects and requirements to enter into this interesting field?
Biotechnology is a Science discipline and as such it requires biology, chemistry or life sciences subjects for A level. Universities in Zimbabwe offer biotechnology /applied biology as a degree for four years.
After obtaining the education aspect, you now have to decide which particular field to specialize in.
Application areas .
Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuel Charpentier were awarded a Nobel prize for breakthrough research on CRISPR technology.
So CRISPR technology is used to edit genes. This research allowed gene sequencing and editing too 👏. If other women can do it and win a Nobel prize then you can too.
This is just one of the endless possibilities in STEM.