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What is the future of Biotechnology?

  1. Jan 31, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone,

    (Before hand, sorry for the long post)

    I was interested to hear from people in the workforce already or from people who may have knowledge about the future prospects of Biotechnology or Bioengineering. Will there be more jobs, will the pays be any good or will they be crap? Will bonuses be any good, also where will the best jobs be or are currently? (I am assuming that would be in private sectors, such as the pharmaceutical industry).

    Also it would be great if I could get information specifically for Canadian citizens, although I don't mind getting information about the future of Biotechnology down south as well.

    Thanks for helping me out with my inquiries.

    The reason I ask these questions, is that I recently spoke with a friend who told me there was no future in Biotechnology or any science degrees currently or in the future (well mostly in Canada, but even a bit in America). I tried to state the otherwise, although would love to get information from people who already are experiencing any changes or not.

    Also this friend is trying to persuade me to enter the field of medicine, as in becoming a family doctor since they pay more although again he states the best work is in America and no future again for doctors in Canada. For me, a career in medicine would have been my second choice. But I don't know, would like to hear from you all, as I am sure you have way more experience than my friend who is still a student.

    He gets most of his information I believe from people he met online and around campus, and from people who couldn't get into medical schools such as UofT (Canada). He also bases his insights on no jobs for science in Canada because of people he has seen with science degrees and no jobs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2008
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  3. Jan 31, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    I think you are getting bad advice.

    There is a big future in biotechnology (at least in the US), for the simple reason that a large chunk of the population is about to hit 'senior citizen' status, and those very people are generally defined by their unwillingness to age gracefully.

    There is a lot of money in Cancer research, for example. Also biomaterials: joint impants, etc. And stem cell research- grow new body parts. There's a lot of research into cardiovascular disease, neurological degredation, etc. etc. Drug development is huge. Moving further out, patent law and intellectual property law are likely to remain a growth industry.

    As for there being 'no jobs' for doctors... I am unaware of an unemployed MD. I am aware of underemployed PhDs. That said, the health care industry in the US is undergoing radical changes due to the insurance companies, leading to more and more docs treating their profession as a job rather than a calling.

    If you are looking for a job that requires little effort and pays more money than you could possibly spend, let me know what you find: I'm looking for the same thing. Even better, if I could be paid without actually showing up.
  4. Jan 31, 2008 #3

    I think that would probably be something like an online business or your own firm but even then you have to show a little effort.

    As far as my knowledge of the industry went this is what I was also observing and reading in many articles which is why I wanted to hear from others such as yourselves. Oh and thanks for the response.

    Also as far as I know or have read a lot of countries should be involving themselves in trying to advance in Biotechnology research - which is why my friends comments made me wonder what he was talking about.

    For me, Biotechnology is really more of a passion than a career. I always loved Biology and thought I would become a doctor but then I discovered genetics, and from there Molecular Biology which finally lead to Biotech.
  5. Feb 1, 2008 #4
    Your friend is not of sound mind....a "quack" should we say? :)

    Biotechnology is entering its "HeyDay" now and is exploding as we speak. New technologies have come along that greatly enhance the types of studies that can be done and the posiibilities are limitless.

    I believe it is headed in the direction of "personalized medicine" as people get their own genomes analyzed for a treatment/disease prevention/diet/lifestyle etc. suited specifically for their own health.

    These new technologies also allow for countless other studies in various other fields other than medicine as well. (evolution, comparative genomics, heredity, ecology, botany, environmental studies, forensics, counter-bioterrorism, ...and could probably list hundreds more)

    BIOtech is here to stay!
  6. Feb 1, 2008 #5
    :) , I agree - there is another field you could add it to. Chemists recently used biotechnology tools in order to develop nano products from gold. By using the formation of DNA in order to create, I believe it was nanotubes, which could be used for many purposes.

    So basically I think Biotech. will probably in the future not only be locked to medicine and human health.
  7. Feb 2, 2008 #6
    I'm still a student, but I've talked to many doctors lately. Their advice to me? Don't be a doctor unless you can't possibly see yourself doing anything else.


    if being a doctor is your backup choice, don't even bother with it. You won't survive in the field.
  8. Feb 2, 2008 #7
    Yeah, I have been really interested in this particular technology lately.

    It seems these carbon nanotubes could be used for many things. I was actually wondering if there might be some way to make these into some sort of transmitter that could be attached to and report the specific funtion and activity of an enzyme.

    That would be sweet.... :)
  9. Feb 2, 2008 #8
    Well if my current knowledge is right, nanotubes should be smaller than cells, and probably even some proteins. Your idea could be possible and if so very very useful! This would actually open up knew ways of obtaining Biochemical data, and actually seeing what happens inside of a cell.

    And yeah, it would totally be sweet. I also think sooner or later, once we are able to produce and control the functions of nanobots, that we could use them to rewire the basic genes. In other words fix up an error in a certain gene, although this is probably thinking 100 years too early.
  10. Feb 6, 2008 #9
    I have another question now. For those who have finished an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology or even more like a Masters/PhD. what has your experience been in finding a job.

    Was it easy, hard. Did you find one in your first year after graduation or did you wait a couple more years? Also are the salaries any good, because I would like to know in order to prepare for the future, as I plan on having a family and don't want to have a bad salary.
  11. Feb 6, 2008 #10
    Generally speaking, the better your degree, the more $$ you make. However, if you go for a PhD, there may be a few lean years after getting your degree... as Post-docs generally don't make very good salaries.

    Personally speaking, I was lucky enough to get hired on to a good company with an undergrad degree 10 years ago and through various promotions, am now a Lab Manager. I was doing an internship at a different company when I got called in for an interview and have been here ever since.

    Pay is ok...benifits are exceptional.

    You can probably find salary averages for different positions online somewhere.
  12. Feb 6, 2008 #11
    BoomBoom, do you work in America or Canada. Also do you mind telling me the range of your salary, you can respond to this one with the PM system if you want.
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