Biotechnologists work in research and development and apply biological principles and engineering principles to solve problems in medicine. These professionals were part of the human genome project. Other examples include searching for DNA mutations that cause genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia or developing a substitute for blood for transfusions.
Biotechs may work in private industry, or in university or government laboratories. The equipment used includes different types of microscopes, i.e., electron microscopes, computers and high tech laboratory instruments. Some use laboratory animals or greenhouse plants in experiments. Students earning a Ph.D. are eligible to submit grant proposals and work on research independently.
Much of the basic biological research done in recent years has resulted in scientific advances, including the isolation and identification of new genes. Biological and medical scientists will be needed to take these advances to the next stage, which is the understanding of how certain genes function within an entire organism, so that gene therapies can be developed to treat diseases. Even pharmaceutical and other firms not solely engaged in biotechnology are expected to increasingly use biotechnology techniques. Beginning salary offers average in the 30-40s range.