Spotlight on Science: Biotechnology

Biotech’s a pretty large field. It is any (ANY) technological application that uses biological systems, organisms, or products. This spans things from insulin production to acidolphilus in yoghurt to anything that Living Cell Technologies is doing. I’m holding out for biocomputers (and Inspector-Gadget style enhanced humans) but in the meantime, if you’re stuck in the midland between biology and technology, with a dash of creativity, there is help.

Otago has this great degree called a Bachelors of Applied Sciences; it sets you up for a job, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. SciCO grew out of the old Applied Science Students’ Association, so it’s fairly clear how great the cats that do BAppScis are. Also, you end up with a bunch of skills for actually going ad getting employed.

That doesn’t tempt people like me, with my grandiose dreams of being a lecturer, but if you’re just at uni because you Kind Of Liked Science, think about an AppSci.

Anyway. Biotech. The applications from medicine to agriculture to bioremediation (fixing pollution with microbes? It can be done!) and biodegradation, are ridiculously wide-ranging. If the glitz and glam of agriculture (animal biotech? Genetic modifications?) don’t woo you, there is potential for creating entirely new businesses – as our esteemed President did a few weeks ago at the Dunedin Startup Weekend, by creating formed. Check it out. It’s super cool.

The idea behind Formed is that each pendant has a certain type of bacteria (found in nature) spread over it in a pattern. The bacteria grows  while you wear the pendant, fuelled from the heat from your skin. There are probably nerdier gifts out there, but I can’t think of them.

(That’s me for this week – and a fun reminder that y’all should send in guest articles, as well as a promise that the next post won’t be about biology, I swear!)

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