Biotechnology is the industry that uses the molecules of life (DNA, RNA, and proteins mostly) to treat and diagnose disease. We report on the latest biomedical science. Continued growth in the biotechnology and medical research fields is expected to continue to drive growth in the life sciences industry, especially in the South Florida region, which is rapidly evolving into a hot spot for life sciences research. An education in biotechnology opens doors to careers in a variety of workplaces, including: Colleges.
- Biotechnology Examples
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- Biotechnology Definition
Use these free STEM lesson plans and activities to teach students about biotechnology—options for all grade levels!
Biotechnology involves using biological processes and systems to make or improve products. Using yeast to make bread is often offered as a simple example of biotechnology, as a living organism (yeast) is used to make a specific food product (bread). Many people think of biotechnology, however, in more cutting-edge contexts, specifically within areas of medicine, genetics, food and agriculture, and environmental sciences.
Because biotechnology is positioned at the nexus of biology and chemistry, teachers can introduce students to biotechnology at all grade levels with projects and activities that focus on chemistry, genetics and genomics, biochemistry, and microbiology.
Science Buddies has biotechnology lessons and activities that can be used with students at all grade levels.
Biotechnology and K-5
Students in elementary school can explore the structure of DNA and the role of enzymes with hands-on activities like: Candy DNA, Paper DNA, Strawberry DNA, and What Do Enzymes in Pineapple Juice Do to Milk?.
Candy DNA Model
In the Make A Candy DNA Model activity, students use candies to make a model of a segment of DNA and then give it a twist.
Paper DNA Model
In the Colorful Double Helix, A Gene-ius Activity activity, students make models of DNA using paper, markers, and tape.
Spooling Strawberry DNA
In the Do-It-Yourself DNA activity, students extract DNA from strawberries and see firsthand what DNA looks like when spooled.
Mixing Milk and Pineapple Juice
The What Do Enzymes in Pineapple Juice Do to Milk? lesson teaches elementary school students about the role enzymes play in chemical reactions. Enzymes play a role in the human body and can also be used to create and control other reactions.
Make Art with Bacteria
In the Create a Painting with Genetically Modified Bacteria activity, students learn about gene editing and genetic engineering and explore by using colorful genetically modified bacteria to create a painting.
Elementary school students doing independent science projects or science fair projects can explore biotechnology questions with projects like these:
Biotechnology in Middle School
Phenotypes and Genotypes
With the Investigate Alien Genetics lesson, middle school students can learn about phenotypes and genotypes as they use principles of genetics to see what characteristics an 'alien baby' will have based on the traits of the parents.
The How Gene Mutations Change Your Ability to Taste lesson uses a phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) taste test to teach students about genetic mutation in a hands-on and immediately accessible way. How many students will be taste-sensitive to the PTC strip and what does that tell them about genetic mutation?
Middle school students interested in learning more about biotechnology with an independent science project may be interested in:
Biotechnology in High School
CRISPR Technology and CRISPR-Cas9
In the CUT! How Does CRISPR Work? lesson, students model CRISPR-Cas9 components and demonstrate their understanding of CRISPR technology by making a stop-motion animation video.
Enzymes and Substrates
In the Control the Reaction Rate of a Foaming Reaction chemistry lesson, students explore how to use enzymes and substrates to control the rate of a reaction.
High school students can continue exploring biotechnology with independent science projects like these:
Careers in Biotechnology
Because biotechnology is a multi-disciplinary area, there are a number of STEM careers someone interested in biotechnology might pursue. Students can learn more about relevant career paths in the following career profiles:
Development of resources for K-12 educators to teach biotechnology was made possible through generous support from Amgen Foundation.
To learn more about the Amgen Foundation, visit AmgenInspires.com.
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The Biotechnology degree program provides students with strong core science concepts and an application-oriented undergraduate education. Strongly interdisciplinary, this innovative program includes faculty and courses from the College of Technology and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Our objective is to prepare students for employment opportunities in the critically important and dynamic biotechnology industry. In addition, students gain the knowledge and core set of skills that span across basic sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. With an emphasis on environmental biotechnology, this is the first program in the State of Texas to integrate bioprocessing, nanobiotechnology, bioinformatics and environmental biotechnology into an undergraduate curriculum.
Recognizing the need to strengthen undergraduate education that fosters cross-disciplinary training and collaborative interactions our program:
- Develops adaptable students with a strong foundation in skills that are relevant to the changing world of biotechnology.
- Provides students with practical training in the skills and techniques of biotechnology.
- Integrates the laboratory and lecture components of the program through the use of an experimental approach to learning.
- Uniquely combines practical, hands-on biotechnology training with cutting-edge biotechnology research and teaching.
The curriculum tracks: 1) Bioprocessing, and 2) Bioinformatics give students the flexibility to tailor their degree based on their interest, educational background and career goals. Combined with core courses our students benefit from broad exposure to biotechnology. The presence of the Texas Medical Center and a growing biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in the greater Houston area, position our program at the forefront of biotechnology education.
So if you want to ..
- Be part of one of the fastest growing industries.
- Make long lasting industry connections.
- Get involved in the latest cutting edge technology.
then please contact our academic advisors for more information.
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is technology based on biology. It combines biological disciplines like genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology with technical disciplines like chemical engineering, information technology, and robotics.
As information technology drove economic progress in the latter part of the 20th Century, there are expectations that biotechnology will be a significant factor for progress in the early part of the 21st century. Organizations are using biotechnology in drug development, medical treatments, agriculture and food processing, biosecurity and biofuels, with new techniques and applications for biotechnology continuously being discovered.
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
In agriculture and medicine, biotechnology techniques have produced new and improved foods, virus resistant crop plants and animals, advances in insect resistance, new antibiotics, vaccines for malaria, improved ways of producing insulin, diagnostic tests for hereditary cancers and Huntington's disease and treatments for AIDS.
Increasingly, biotechnology is also being applied to problems in the environment and in energy. Genetically engineered micro-organisms and plants clean up toxic wastes from industrial production and oil spills. Genetic methods are used to identify particular populations of endangered species. Minute traces of animal or plant remains are used to track and convict poachers. Genetic analysis helps botanical gardens, zoos, and game farms improve their breeding programs by determining the genetic diversity of various plant and animal populations. Microbes are making it economically feasible to produce ethanol for running machinery from corn stover, wheat straw, sugar cane waste and other agricultural crop residues.