Biotechnology is the group of disciplines or sciences that studies living beings or parts of living beings in order to obtain goods and services from them. Its area of study falls between biology, biochemistry and engineering, and it has a large impact in pharmacy, medicine, microbiology, food science and agriculture, among other fields. The knowledge possessed by biotechnologists, which connects biology and chemical engineering, allows them to optimize and carry the synthesis of products that impact all the areas mentioned out on a large scale.
One area of biotechnology is the direct use of organisms for the production of organic products for consumption, recycling, waste treatment or to clean areas polluted by industrial activities (biomediation). There are also applications of biotechnology that do not use live organisms; the DNA microchips used in genetic analysis is one example. Many products are produced simply using the enzyme reactions of microorganisms.
Modern biotechnology is frequently associated with the use of genetically modified microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli or the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of substances such as insulin or antibiotics. It can also refer to transgenic animals or transgenic plants or modified animal cells, such as Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) among many others, which are used for research by the pharmaceutical industries, through which biotechnology is also commonly associated with research into new therapies and new means of diagnosis.
The Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Instilling an interest in learning and applying the knowledge attained in different situations and contexts.
- Establishing the bases to allow the development of biotechnological processes, based on knowledge and improvement of the transformations carried out by living beings.
- Learning what the conceptual, manual and technical tools are for improving already existing industrial processes.
- Providing students with the capacity for applying knowledge acquired in several problems and areas of knowledge (chemistry, agriculture, health, food, environment, etc.,) for the production of goods and services.
Biotechnology, despite being recent as a university qualification, has been a well-known used concept for some time now. This is because it comes from a combination of interests and knowledge of biology, biochemistry, chemistry and engineering, among other disciplines. Progress in biotechnology is the result of progress in all the areas of knowledge it feeds from, as it constitutes, in practice, a kind of applied synthesis to the solution of several specific problems. Words or expressions such as stem cells, therapeutic cloning, gene therapy, biosensors, DNA microchips or protein, molecular diagnosis and many others are closely connected to biotechnology.
These tools or techniques are intended to be used in the future for obtaining better methods for diagnosing and treating illnesses, for obtaining new and better vaccines, for increasing agricultural production while minimising the use of pesticides, and for collaborating to eradicate malnutrition, or for making cleaner and safer production processes for an extensive range of products.
The organisation of the Bachelor’s degree.
The Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology is a four-year course, during which students will achieve the skills for learning experimental methodologies, skills for applying scientific reasoning to experimental design and to data gathering, processing, interpretation and analysis. In short, you will learn a new way of thinking and solving problems, by applying the scientific method.
The first year consists of the so-called basic subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics and Geology, as well as a practical subject called Integrated Scientific Techniques, which will help students to acquire and develop the competencies and skills for experimental work, both in the laboratory and in the field.
The second year consists of the compulsory subjects that will enable students to learn what living organisms are like from cellular and molecular points of view, and what the thermodynamic principles are which govern them, as well as an introduction to the world of chemical engineering.
The third year consists of completing the learning in compulsory subjects relating to the processes that living organisms use for transforming materials, as well as the energy flows associated with such transformations. That same year will also see students learning how to use chemical engineering as a means to simulating or reproducing these processes for a specific purpose. To complete their education, students will work with data-bank bio-informatics management tools, which provide a great quantity of information on living organisms, including their structure and functions. Given that the profession of biotechnologist is geared towards several aspects of the industry, biotechnology graduates need to be capable of carrying out responsibility tasks in designing, production and management. That is why third-year students will come into contact with biotechnology-related social, legal, economic and management aspects.
Fourth-year students will take a step towards specialisation and professionalisation given that they have to choose two optional modules among the following: Industrial Application of Biotechnology; Cell and Molecular Biotechnology; Fundamental Biotechnology and Molecular Physiology. In addition, the optional subjects of Business Placements, Biomolecular Design, Bio-Analysis and Introduction to Professionalisation are also offered. To complete their Bachelor’s degree, students will have to do a bachelor's thesis where they will be able to apply all the skills they have learned to date.
Master's degree The UdG offers an extensive range of masters degrees. Master's degree courses offer advanced, specialised or multidisciplinary training, aimed at providing students with an academic or professional specialism or an introduction to research. These are official courses that enable students to move on to study for a doctoral degree.
Doctorate degree The aim of Dral studies is to provide students with advanced training in research techniques and the programmes include the production and presentation of a doctoral thesis, consisting of an original research project. To join a doctoral programme you need to have a minimum of between 60 and 120 ECTS credits at official university master's degree level or equivalent.
Postgraduate courses and specialization. University of Girona foundation: Innovation and Training is a centre that hosts and organises ongoing training activities with the aim of meeting ongoing higher level training needs. If offers own masters, postgraduate courses, specialization courses and other postgraduate activities covering all areas of knowledge.