We encounter micro-organisms continually, since they exist on the surfaces we touch and on the foods we eat and drink, and even the air we breathe. In addition to the vital role of microorganisms in disease and the environment they are also used in biotechnology for the manufacture of many products which we use and the foods we consume. The course aims to explore the diversity microorganisms together with the principles and applications of biotechnology.
Biotechnology is a rapidly expanding discipline which is finding applications throughout society including medicine, agriculture and the environment. The course will provide a grounding in the basic principles of microbiology, plant biology, cell biology, genetics and the structure and function of biomolecules necessary to underpin the advanced study of biotechnology and demonstrate how these principles are applied for the development of useful products and applications.
Specialist facilities will enable the investigation of the biology of the cell and the nature of genes together with the biochemical analysis of biological products. The course explores the physicochemical principles associated with fermentation design and operations for the processing of materials by microbial, animal and plant cells (and their enzymes) including genetic modification to make useful products or purposes.
Technical competence is an important aspect of the award hence you will be provided with ample opportunity to undertake experiments which not only underpin theory but also provide training in analytical equipment.
The course will also explore the social consequences of developments in biotechnology, considering the benefits and risks connected with recombinant DNA experiments and the use or release of genetically modified organisms and their products.
A sandwich year in an industrial or research setting, supported by a University supervisor, is an optional, yet highly recommended opportunity which will provide invaluable work experience in settings from hospital pathology, to major biotechnology companies or food production facilities.