Biotechnology Offering Takes Laboratory Practice Approach

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    Jul 15, 2014
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Biotechnology Offering Takes Laboratory Practice Approach Photo by Jason White

According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, "at its simplest, biotechnology is technology based on biology. [It] harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. We have used the biological processes of microorganisms for more than 6,000 years to make useful food products, such as bread and cheese, and to preserve dairy products. Modern biotechnology provides breakthrough products and technologies to combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes."

Centennial College offers a biotechnology college program that trains you for this exciting field in the position of quality control technician in a broad range of industries, including food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and also in related government agencies. This undertaking is a repeat recipient of the Centennial College President's Academic Program Recognition Award for outstanding student satisfaction. It takes two years to complete and results in an Ontario College Diploma. Should students be interested in further training, that option is made available to them through a third year during which they study specialized topics such as advanced biotechnology and microbial genetics or systematic microbiology. With this additional year, students graduate with an advanced diploma.

The program is facilitated from Centennial College's Morningside Campus. Why is this important? As the college's most high-tech location, it is outfitted with a range of facilities that enhance students' education and experience. Among these facilities are eight up-to-date laboratories and modern wireless lecture halls where students first study the basics and then work their way up to learning professional skills. The skills taught in the labs include:

- Isolate, detail and recognize microorganisms samples such as water, soil, air, the human body, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products
- Set up specimens for staining
- Handle materials in an aseptic manner
- Accurately calibrate and use a range of instruments such as pH and BOD meters, Gas Chromatographs, spectrophotometers (regular/IR/UV), HPLC's etc.
- Prepare microbiological media and reagents and culture pathogenic microbes
- Design and perform microbiology experiments
- Use microorganisms to assay pharmaceutical product

Of course, practical application wouldn't be effective without a solid theoretical base. As such, qualified and caring faculty and staff, who provide individual attention in laboratories and during lectures, guide students. Additionally, students benefit from teamwork, which is used on a regular basis to help them get an idea of what to expect once they graduate.

It is worth noting that additional training is provided in Occupational Health and Safety, WHMIS, GMP, HACCP. This training is to industry standards.

Each Biotechnology technician graduate of this program may apply for certification through the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) to use the following professional designation: CTech (Certified Technician).

Author's Profile

Author, in his piece, offers information on the types of certifications students of Centennial College's Biotechnology technician program may obtain once they graduate.

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