Various biotechnology careers include forensic DNA analyst, scientist, clinical research associate job, laboratory assistant, microbiologist, greenhouse and field technician, bioinformatics specialist, animal caretaker and many more.
CareerBliss.com conducted a survey to find out what are 10 happiest professions in America. Conclusions were made after 200.000 people working 70.000 different jobs were interviewed. A lot of things were taken under consideration: how much people appreciate their daily tasks, bosses, co-workers, salary, company culture and reputation…All examined subjects ranked how investigated factors correlate with their overall satisfaction. Salary wasn't most important factor for employee’s happiness. Type of a daily jobs, control over work done and relationship with colleagues were considered most important. Career that combines all necessary factors to make people enjoy time spent in their offices (laboratories) – is career in biotechnology!
Biotechnology is combining knowledge about life and living organisms with modern technology to create new systems, devices, materials, food…that could improve human life and help preserve environment. Most biotechnology products are associated with agriculture, food industry and medicine, and logically - careers in those fields are most popular.
A list of careers in biotech is long; here are few that sound really interesting:
Scientific laboratory could perform different kind of research, but as a laboratory assistant your main duties will be sampling, measuring, collecting and analyzing investigated data… Maintenance of laboratory equipment such as centrifuges, titrators, pipetting machines…is also one of the tasks. Laboratory tests and strict methodology are very important especially when hazardous material is under investigation. Besides using typical lab equipment in work – computational analysis of given data is also important. High quality laboratory work is necessary for later research and development stages.
Greenhouse and Field Technician
Modern agricultural research is dealing with new, genetically modified plants. As a greenhouse and field technician, you’ll be in charge for planting seeds, pollinating plants, applying fertilizers and pesticides. Special attention to the problems that may arise (pest, disease…) is extremely important as those are genetically modified organisms. Basic knowledge of equipment used in everyday work as well as computer knowledge is also very important for this position.
Forensic DNA Analyst
This position is usually associated with crime laboratories where DNA analysis is performed to solve legal issues. Urine, saliva, blood, semen, hair…those are the samples that could be used for DNA analysis. After sample collection, DNA is extracted and analyzed using couple methods (PCR, electrophoresis). Final results are further compared with the already known DNA profiles. Methodology is strict: properly collected and stored evidence, documentation on technical laboratory details and well written final reports are essential for successful prosecution. Depending on the laboratory size, employees could be more or less specialized.
Clinical Research Associate
Clinical research associate (CRA) is monitoring clinical trials on a new drug. After preclinical studies (when tested on animals) are finished, drug is entering clinical trials where (depending on the study phase) smaller or larger group of people will be evaluated for possible adverse effects. CRA is included both in study design and in writing reports using given results. Close monitoring is especially important to make sure that protocol is not violated. Clinical data is collected, summarized and analyzed to help made final conclusion on a drug effect.
Bioinformatics is combining biology and computers. Data derived from various studies (DNA associated experiments, for example) is gathered in the computers. Software is in charge for data organization, manipulation and final analysis. Data mining is useful way to collect lot of publically available and jet relevant data that could be used in different experimental stages (for comparison or quick information extraction) or to help merge data from different sources. Programming skills are necessary for software and database manufacture and maintenance.
Animal caretaker is nurturing animals used in biotech research. List of species used is long: all the way from mice and rats to cows and chimps. Water and food supplies, cage cleaning, animal health monitoring, relocation, milking, artificial insemination… a lot of duties need to be performed and not all tasks are representative. If you put aside that animals have specific odor (and different bodily fluids and excretions) keep in mind that watching animal suffer during experiments isn’t easy or nice thing to do.
Number of people working in biotech industry in USA is exciding 180.000. List of possible occupations is long and will expand as biotech is growing and moving in various directions with each new day. You just need to figure out what part of it you like the most.