Roles and responsibilities
- study the genetic, chemical, physical and structural composition of cells, tissues and organisms
- identify ways in which organisms and biological processes can be used to create new medicines, vaccines, foods, fuels and pharmaceutical products
- develop diagnostic tools to rapidly detect diseases
- use bacteria, enzymes and other organisms for a range of industrial uses, including agricultural production, food production and waste removal
- cross-breed animals and plants to encourage beneficial characteristics such as disease resistance, improved nutrition and accelerated environmental adaptation
- conduct research and experiments in the field of genetic modification and biomolecular engineering, which involves altering the genetic make-up of plants and animals
- conduct human stem cell research with the aim of treating or preventing illnesses
- use biological engineering processes to create commercially useful biological products, such as biomaterials, chemicals or fuels
As a biotechnologist, you could be employed in federal, state, territory and local government organisations, including research organisations. You may also find employment in private industry, hospitals, educational institutions, primary production and fisheries. Entry to these jobs is often highly competitive.
While many laboratory roles are relatively junior, these roles provide opportunities to expand your scientific knowledge with the aim of running your own laboratory or moving into allied business services such as clinical trial development, patenting, business development, project management and regulation.
Senior positions in the industry frequently require an honours degree, master's degree or doctorate, in addition to a high level of competence in the laboratory.
Relevant postgraduate courses include: