Biotechnology Careers in Pittsburgh

Biotechnology Careers in Pittsburgh

Biotechnology is big business in Pittsburgh.

Simply defined, biotechnology uses living organisms and their processes in engineering, medicine, and technology. Common applications include agriculture and crop production, healthcare, and industrial uses such as biofuels and plastics. Much of the Pittsburgh biotechnology field is focused on healthcare applications.

The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering sponsors research in muskoskeletal research, chemical engineering, and tissue engineering.

Biotechnology companies in Pittsburgh include small private companies like Celsense Inc. , which offers MRI agents to help scientists and doctors monitor the location and quantity of transplanted cells, and the giant and public Bayer USA, known for over-the-counter medications like Bayer Aspirin and Alka-Seltzer.

A Career in Biotech

Biotech companies and research universities employ a variety of scientists, engineers, and technicans to develop new drugs, and streamline their manufacture with attention to quality control, cost and environmental impact.

Of the life scientists who work in biotechnology, most are biological and medical scientists who produce new drugs using biotechnology to recombine the genetic material of animals or plants. Other scientists who work in pharmaceutical research and production include organic chemists, biochemists, microbiologists, virologists, pharmacologists, botanists, toxicologists and pathologists.

Research and development (R&D) is in fact the backbone of the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry.

Much of the basic biological research done in recent years has resulted in new knowledge, including the successful identification of genes. Life and physical scientists will be needed to take this knowledge to the next stage, which is to understand how certain genes function so that gene therapies can be developed to treat diseases.

Science technicians, such as biological and chemical technicians, set up, operate, and maintain laboratory equipment, monitor experiments, analyze data, and record and interpret results. Science technicians usually work under the supervision of scientists or engineers.

Engineers at drug manufacturing companies focus on improving quality control and production efficiency. For example, chemical engineers design equipment and devise manufacturing processes specific to the requirements of the new drugs.

Training & Education

Most scientists working in biotechnology hold at least a bachelor of science, though many also hold a master's or PhD. Medical scientists working in R&D for a biotechnology company usually must have a doctoral degree in their specific field, such as microbiology or organic chemistry.

Science technicians usually hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in a biological or chemical science.

Because biotechnology is not one discipline, but the interaction of several disciplines, the best preparation for work in biotechnology is training in a traditional biological science, such as genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, virology, or biochemical engineering.

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