Industrial Fermentation and Biotechnology Option

The Department of Chemistry of Biochemistry and the Department of Biological Sciences are pleased to announce a new option extending the Biochemistry and Microbiology B.S. degrees: Industrial Fermentation and Biotechnology. This new option is designed for those students with an interest in the application of biotechnology in the design and manufacture of the products that shape our lives. Everyone is familiar with the role of fermentation in the food and beverage industries, but fermentation techniques, broadly defined, are crucial for making products ranging from antibiotics to antibodies. In fact, one half of new therapeutics approved in the US are biologics (as opposed to small chemical compounds). It is expected that demand for workers with practical training in fermentation and biotechnology will grow rapidly in the coming years.

There are not many fermentation science programs in the nation, and the Industrial Fermentation and Biotechnology Option is perhaps the only one focusing on the pharmaceutical and biomedical applications of biotechnology. Students who complete this rigorous course of study will graduate with a strong background in the chemistry and biology underlying biotechnological processes, as well as detailed understanding of practical aspects like regulatory requirements and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). This interdisciplinary, industry-driven program consists of five courses that take the place of certain electives in the existing Biochemistry and Microbiology degrees, so the Industrial Fermentation and Biotechnology Option will not add to the credits or time required for graduation. The coursework is intended to be completed during the senior year and includes two hands-on laboratory courses where students will isolate and characterize microorganisms, extract and purify fermentation products, express and purify recombinant protein, and work up a product to satisfy regulatory protocols. The program also provides opportunities for internships with local industry partners.

The Industrial Fermentation and Biotechnology Option provides an identical program structure for the two targeted B.S. degrees (Biochemistry and Microbiology) and courses will be team-taught by faculty members from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Biological Sciences. The course requirements of the option are outlined below. The full list of requirements for the Biochemistry and Microbiology B.S. degrees are available on the respective departmental web sites. The Option will be offered beginning with the Fall 2015 semester.