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Nanotechnology careers with biology and chemistry?

  1. Mar 31, 2015 #1
    Ok this is my first time posting but my questions about my future are tearing me apart. Im only a sophomore in high school but I am very interested/study physics and intend on perusing my phd. I find nano technology very Interesting and one of the most influential studies that interests me, but I find a problem in it because most of its job applications are computer sciences and programming. I plan to specialize in something like quantum biology or theoretical chemistry, how much less would my chance of getting a job in that field be if I were to study those as opposed to something to do with computers or just biology. Also how long do you guys believe nanotechnology will be a important study.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2015 #2
    I'm going to start with an example.
    Dr. Pannier works using nanotechnology to alter DNA gene expression in cell populations.
    A lot of groups are working on theoretical models of proteins, ligands, etc., especially to model or make new pharmaceuticals. Considering that DNA and cells are on the small scale you're thinking of, I think nanotechnology is here to stay. Heck, soon you might not even need the "nano" modifier!
    Admittedly, a lot of nanotechnology is used to improve computers, but other applications include energy storage, solar cells, and more.

    But my first recommendation is to work on improving your communication and writing skills; being able to clearly communicate has helped me find opportunities I would have otherwise been out of luck for.
  4. Apr 1, 2015 #3
    thank you so much this answer was very helpful. By the way I am posting this from my phone so excuse my Grammatical errors, but I will definitely work on my communication. I do have to say though, I already knew about my difficulty in it. Aside from that this was very helpful knowing that my dream studies match my dream career.
  5. Apr 1, 2015 #4
    Nanotechnology doesn't have anything to do with computers.

    I don't know what quantum biology is.

    There are vacancies in material science/classical nanotechnology, often asking for a PhD in physics or chemistry with material science/nanotechnology as a specialization. One can enter that field with both degrees. it has nothing to do with biology.

    Bionanotechnology is a newer field. I haven't seen any vacancies in that area in business in my area. This field hopes to use biomolecules to create materials with new properties. It isn't going to take off superfast all the sudden. Not a lot of industry jobs here.

    Maybe with biology and computers you mean systems biology? That field is mostly research only. It is different from bioinformatics and managing big data of genetics or statistics, which are often in demand in companies. But if you have a good PhD in that field, industry can be interested in your skillset, though you will be doing something different in industry as consumers don't buy mathematical models of Pseudomonas.

    I don't know what your question really is, but doing science(physics, chemistry and biology) has nothing to do with computer engineering like programming. Those are different things in different worlds.

    I also don't know how your future can be 'tearing you apart'.
  6. Apr 1, 2015 #5
    Well Google quantum biology it's very interesting. As for my future its my way of saying that I am concerned for it in terms of doing something that I like. Also I see computers having a large impact on nanotechnology research. I was referring to bionanotechnology by the way. Sorry for the improper sentences just looking through and answering the topics I felt inclined to. Thank you for the response though.
  7. Apr 2, 2015 #6
    It takes time before you get used to how fields of science are split. I have heard the term 'quantum biology' but it doesn't have it's own faculties or journals. So it doesn't really exist (yet).
  8. Apr 2, 2015 #7
    Well I wasn't referring to a direct field named quantum biology its just a way of explaining multiple studies that concern with the quantum mechanics of organics such as the study that involves the quantum mechanics of photosynthesis. Thanks for the answer.
  9. Apr 2, 2015 #8
    Nanotechnology as a viable career really hasn't taken off yet (at least with regard to direct medical/biological applications). The number of jobs available outside of academia that utilize knowledge of something like nanoparticles is paltry compared to the number students and people who study them. The FDA really hasn't approved a whole lot of nanotechnology and devices, which is what really kills employment. There are plenty of people who study nanotech like nanoparticles, but what could you do to highly specialize yourself from the rest of the pack? Designing a new particle out of different materials, adding targeting molecules to the surface, etc won't really do it that much. There are thousands of people all doing those same strategies right now. What about studying something like toxicology of nanodevices? This is a path that's far less traveled. PhD programs in toxicology are also far less prevalent (there's only a handful of schools that offer a degree in it), so there are way fewer people studying it, which means you'll have to compete with far less individuals in the future (in theory). The big bottleneck for any nanotech applied to healthcare is regulatory approval. What is needed, probably even more so than even the nanodevices themselves right now,are new toxicological assays to assess nanotech toxicity and people with the knowledge of what exactly to look for in terms of toxicological side effects of nanotechologies. For example, some people are starting to suspect that types of nanoparticles can cause genotoxicity and can damage the way chromosomes work:


    If you do a literature search on nanoparticles you'll get a huge number of hits. But if you try to search for nanoparticles and genotoxicity or something like nanoparticles and highthrougput toxicity screening, you'll get far less hits. The toxicology of nanotechnology is something that is far less studied and may come off as less glorious, but it is needed, and employment prospects may be much better since you'll be more specialized. Every firm that makes nanoparticles will likely need someone that knows something about toxicology for their nanoparticles (or at least will need to consult a firm that knows what to test for). Regulatory agencies will also need to hire specialists with knowledge of nanotoxicity as the wave of new applications based on nanotech is going to be huge in the coming decades. The toxicity related to nanoparticles has to do in part with their physio-chemical properties, so you may be able to do some modeling or study some theoretical concepts of the PChem of nanoparticles in order to be able to predict toxicological properties. Who knows, maybe you could try to make a virtual screening of nanoparticles to predict toxicity (virtual screening is a big in pharma...although the success is questionable).
  10. Apr 4, 2015 #9
    The toxicity of nanoparticles seems to be much more of biology as opposed to energetics And physics I prefer more of the situation where I solve the problem on the drawing board with mathematics. Or am I getting this wrong and that there are multiple fields in nanotechnology that have promising employment rates for something more suitable for me and your just giving an example that there are good job aspects.
  11. Apr 13, 2015 #10
    Ya no problem man happy to help
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