The department of Biotechnology is perhaps one of the cleanest places of IITR. That’s primarily because it’s got a new building. An urban legend says that the previous building caught fire and was left abandoned. There are many theories that surround the cause of fire but most of them make no sense.
A typical biotech undergrad usually plans his industrial trip for whole two years. He spends the next two years posting the 4200 photos he took while on the trip, while also reminiscing about the trip to anyone who’ll listen.
The most salient feature of the branch, apart from the glitzy new building and research labs as mentioned above, is the limited class strength, as compared to the other branches. This facilitates interaction amongst each other, as with the faculty members. Most of the coursework is focused on research based areas in biological sciences. The engineering part primarily comprises of courses from the Chemical engineering department.
The subjects can be broadly classified into two. Reasearch based and engineering based. The former consists of Genetic Engineering, Cell and Microbiology, Immunotechnology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Microbial Technology, Animal and Plant Technology, IPR and Bioethics, Nano-biotechnology, Food Technology and Drug Design; while the latter includes Bioreactor design, Fluid Mechanics, Bio-separation techniques, Principles of Bioreaction Engineering, and Enzyme Technology.
There are countless research fields in Biotech. Broadly the fields could be related to Cancer Research, Stem Cell Research, Infectious diseases, Immunological studies, Drug design, Neuroscience, Evolutionary Biology, and Bio-medical engineering.
Although the job opportunities in the core sector are limited after BTech, the scope widens immensely after specialization. You can choose between policy making in regulatory bodies (UN, FDA, FAO) of patent Law, academia or jobs as technical heads in biotech/pharmaceutical industry, and engineers in biomedical-instrumentation.
Owing shift of the focus of global research towards bioscience (especially in Europe, US and Canada), this branch provides endless opportunities to explore the global research paradigm and get international exposure. Some popular internship programs are Mitacs-Globalink (Canada), DAAD-WISE (Germany), VISERA(Vanderbilt University, US), Khorana Scholarship, OIST (Okinawa Institute, Japan), Duke University (US), Rockefeller (US) and University of Queensland (Australia). Apart from these, due to ample flow of funds in bioscience, a lot of professors accept international interns for a period of 2-3 months for summer/winter interns in their labs. TIFR, IISC, CMBL, CBRI, CDRI etc are some research facilities within India which conduct really good research and provide internships to biotech students. Engineering based internships are offered by pharmaceutical companies like Biocon, Cipla, Ranbaxy and Biozeen.
There are paper presentation and poster presentation competitions and global conferences. Undergraduate students don’t generally go for these unless they have been involved in some active research alongside their coursework and the lab head(Professor) encourages them to take part and provides suitable support (finances, permissions etc). Not common but possible for those inclined towards research. Most students like to participate in coding/design based competitions as their co-scholastic interests vary.