Biotechnology Anyone?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Clipse, Nov 2, 2002.

  1. Clipse

    Clipse Member

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    Hi All,
    I've been a hard-core pre-med-er since I was twelve. Recently I've been starting to consider a career in Biotechnology - perhaps because I suck at organic chemistry and i'm starting to wonder if I'm cut out for a career as a physician. Anyways, does anyone have ANY information on this field? Specifically I am looking for information on:
    -What exactly does a career in biotechnology entail?
    -What are the career/salary prospects?
    -Where is this field heading?
    -What undergraduate/graduate level work is required?
    -Georgetown University's "Science Technology & International Affairs" major with a focus on Biotechnology.

    Thanks all. And best of luck to all those applying to medical school right now.
     
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  3. Clipse

    Clipse Member

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    Anyone?
     
  4. SnudgeMuffin

    SnudgeMuffin Senior Member

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  5. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member

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    Biotechnology is going to experience the same growth that engineering did in the 1980's and that computer science did in the 1990's.
    Biotechnology isn't one specific type of career or jobtype. It includes businesspeople, analysts, technicians, researchers, marketers, etc.

    Depending on what aspect of biotech you want to enter, which from your description it seems the research end, you would definitely want a PhD to do research. If you want to be a more business-oriented individual, an undergrad degree will probably do.

    Biotech is huge, and it consists of the largest pharmaceutical companies to the smaller startups based on a single scientific idea. Its future is extremely bright, and is definitely a career path worth considering.
     
  6. Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

    Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003] Platinum Member

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    You would have to be good in Orgo and take P Chem since it has a lot to do with Pharmo.
     
  7. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

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    I work in biotech and will do my best to answer your questions,

    Basically, in terms of industry, biotechnology is utilizing the lastest scientific advances to make new products (usually 1)new drugs 2)therapies 3)plant-based stuff). the difference between biotech companies and traditional drug companies is usually there is a focus on using DNA or protein information to define targets for new products, whereas historically, most drug companies basically focused on playing with different mixtures of chemicals and then see how they affect people.

    Work is basically performing different research experiments but always keeping in mind eventual commercial possibilities. unlike academia, you don't always get to just do research because you think it's cool, there's generally someone you have to convince that whatever you're doing will have commercial viability down the line. depending on what kind of company you work for, you get more flexibility about proving this. for instance, i work for a pretty big company, so it's easier for me to do "interesting" work because we aren't desparate for money in the near future. smaller biotechs need to convince investors in their business plan, so they generally don't have as much flexibility on what they work on (like if they told their investors they're working on a drug for heart disease, they can't just randomly start looking into breast cancer).

    you can make lots of money in biotech if you play your cards right. kind of like the old internet companies, a lot of biotechs give you stock options so if their product gets to market, you could really make it big. again, it depends on the type of company you work for - the PhD's at my company are making close to 200k/yr (i think) and i can't even imagine what the CEO (also a PhD) gets. You can get into biotech with a BA/BS in bio, biochemistry, chem, organic chemistry. from what i've seen, most people come to the company with either a BS (a few with MS), work a few years, get the company to pay for some of their Master's work, then go on to PhD programs if they're into it.

    there's a lot of potential in biotech and TONS of companies doing so many different things. with the completion of the human genome, there's going to be a lot of pressure to utilize what we learned (and spent) to make new drugs and therapies. i don't know anything about the georgetown program, but you don't need to specialize in "biotechnology" to get into the field. maybe it may help give some of the business perspective that you don't get with a biology major? if you are interested, and there are biotech companies near you, look into an internship - they are usually looking for more hands to help and some pay pretty well (i just found out my company pays interns $12/hr!!! i wish i knew about that while i was making $6/hr in college!)

    anyway, i hope i answered your questions - and my experience may be different than others so if anyone else has any insights, feel free to speak up!!
    :)
     
  8. Stan

    Stan Senior Member

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    I know that you can major in biotech at Cal. State Polytechnic Univ. Pomona. The link is from their university catalog (biotech is on page 8). Hopefully this can give you an idea what undergraduate level work is required. Based on this education, a career in biotech can include very diverse fields from genetics to agriculture and business.

    Good Luck!

    http://www.csupomona.edu/~academic/catalog/catalog/pdf/CoScienceq.pdf
     
  9. confuse

    confuse Senior Member

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    Clipse,
    I am exploring other options as well and biotech is something that I would definitely consider. I'm taking a biotech class right now for my engineering major and I found it to be extremely intresting. I don't think you would need to major in biotech to work in the field. Biotech seems to me like a lot of bio (mostly proteins and DNA structures), chemistry, and economic analysis combimed. I don't remember the exact stats but my prof told us that approximately $400 billion is invest in biotech annually, and that number will increase exponentially in future years. I suggest you take some bioengineering class or do some intern to find out familiarize yourself with the field.

    prpgrl,
    Can you name for me a few interesting biotech companies around the Silicon Valley area and what they do in general? I have a project coming up which entails doing an analysis on the potentials and the in-and-out of a biotech company, but I don't know what company to pick yet. Thanks.
     
  10. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

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    Well, I'm in southern cali so I'm not too too familiar with the bay area companies, but i know there are tons. the most famous one (at least in my mind) is Genentech - but I think they are in SF not silicon valley, if that matters. They were the "first" biotech to make it big and people generally will give limbs to work there. Other biggies that I can think of off the top of my head are Renovis, Clonetech, Chiron. I know there are tons more. Check out www.biospace.com and look at their NorCal section (I think they call it "biotech bay"?). good luck!
    :)
     
  11. Mzpeachezbby

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    Pharmacy Student
    hi everyone im a biotechnology student and i want to eventually go into making meds but i want to start small so im playing on getting my associates and working in a pharmacy when i graduate or try to do an internship while im still in school.

    Is this the right approach???
     

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