What are Biotechnology jobs?
Biotechnology researchers delve into the intricacies of various plant and animal life forms at the molecular level. This research often uses genetic manipulation to try to improve agricultural production, pharmaceutical products, medical treatments, or mitigation of environmental pollution. Read on to learn more about this profession.
|Bachelor's degree in biological sciences
|Master's and doctoral degree in biological sciences
|Projected Job Growth
|19% from 2012-2022 for biochemists and biophysicists*
|Median Salary (2014)
|$84, 940 annually for biochemists and biophysicists*
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Biotechnology Researcher
Biotechnology researchers investigate both plant and animal life at the molecular level to understand their place in nature. Some of the knowledge gained from this research may be used to create a range of items, from new pharmaceutical drugs and pesticides to food preservation methods and disease-resistant plant strains. This research may also lead to other breakthroughs intended to benefit mankind.
Researchers may work for laboratories in the pharmaceutical industry or elsewhere, or for public institutions, including universities and organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. Biotechnology research scientists often investigate the DNA and RNA of bacteria and viruses, as well as the genetic makeup of animals, plants, and people.
Examples of what biotechnology researchers can be involved in include developing disease- or insect-resistant crops through the insertion of genes, therefore limiting the use of pesticides, and inserting human insulin-producing genes into bacteria to create miniature insulin-producing factories. These researchers may also be asked to perform DNA comparisons to help law enforcement officers identify culprits responsible for committing crimes.
Some marine biotechnology researchers seek out new anti-cancer drugs derived from marine invertebrates. Others genetically engineer microbes to clean up oil spills. Marine environmental research focuses on restoring wetlands and estuaries that are contaminated with pollutants.
Biotechnology Researcher Job Duties
Job duties vary significantly depending on the researcher's specialty. Researchers in organizations that obtain funding through grants plan and implement studies. They may also prepare proposals to obtain funding. After the project is funded, the researcher manages the project to meet grant requirements. Researchers who work in industry may also prepare project proposals for senior executives to approve.
Senior researchers manage project teams. They design project activities and develop timelines. These researchers also evaluate data and report on results. They may be required to prepare verbal presentations, write reports, and participate in project meetings.
Biotechnology researchers use a variety of tools to accomplish their work. These may include: electron and optical microscopes, chemistry laboratory equipment, radiology, dissection equipment, and computer-based analytical software. Live laboratory animals may also be used. Researchers often work with teams of scientists and technicians to accomplish projects. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are important for this position.
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