Webster’s Dictionary defines Biotechnology as: the manipulation (as through genetic engineering) of living organisms or their components to produce useful usually commercial products (as pest resistant crops, new bacterial strains, or novel pharmaceuticals) ; also : any of various applications of biological science used in such manipulation. I am using this week’s blog as an opportunity to discuss careers in biotechnology.
My Dad the Bacteriologist
Growing up, I never really understood what my dad’s profession was. I did not find the title of his career choice appealing or interesting in any way. My dad referred to himself as a bacteriologist or microbiologist interchangeably. I was never intrigued by the endless amount of petri dishes spread across his workplace and I certainly did not enjoy looking at the E. coli samples that he played with. Now, I realize that his job is one of the many careers people can pursue in the growing field of biotechnology. More importantly, I realize how important jobs in the biotechnology industry are.
Many biotechnologists are responsible for the production of new medications in the pharmaceutical industry. Professional biotechnologists sometimes use living organisms to manufacture products. Their ultimate goal is to make advancements in health care, specifically medication and medical treatment, improve current environmental issues, develop new plants and animals and even improve them. In other words, biotechnology is a growing field that overarches many focuses.
Branches of Biotechnology
Biotechnologists can specialize in microbiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, plant science, animal science, biology and/or other life science focuses.
For the most part, there is a comfortable demand for PhD and Masters level biotechnologists.
On average, most biotechnologists make between $50,000 and $80,000 a year. Biotechnologists involved in genetics can earn approximately $82,000 to $93,000 a year.
How Do We Relate this to DESMA 9?
It is easy to see how technology and science are related to biotechnology. After all, science and technology are so evident in the word biotechnology itself. I suppose the difficult part is finding examples of how biotechnology can be related to art. There are a number artists that use biotechnology for inspiration. These artists create pieces that deal with genetics and other biotechnology related subjects (e.g. DNA helix structure, stem cell research). I feel that the piece below is very interesting, depicts biotechnology subjects in art and easily connects with the overarching themes of DESMA 9.
This piece is a representation of how anthrax spreads over time. The facial expressions of the woman depicted in the “anthrax clock” gradually changes from one that is happy to an expression of great pain. Another picture depicts the controversial issue of stem cell research. The woman in the picture experienced some kidney failure and the picture cleverly implies how patients such as her could benefit from advancements in stem cell research. Frankly, I am not a fan of art pieces like these. They are not things that I find beautiful, but perhaps they serve a different purpose. Maybe they aim to get people to think about important topics like stem cell research which has the potential to save many lives.
By: John Philip Bongco