A Career In Biotech And Life Science Offers Numerous Opportunities To Indian Students

Biotechnology tops the list of preferred science courses for many students in India, thanks to the lucrative career scope it offers. For those who have had biology as part of their intermediate curriculum, they stand a better chance of pursuing a career in this field.

What is included in the course?

To pursue post graduation in the field of biotechnology a student must hold a graduation degree in a relevant field from a recognized Indian University. The accepted degrees include BDS, B. Pharma, Clinical Microbiology, Microbiology, Bioinformatics, B. Tech in Biotechnology, or a B. Sc. in Biology. A number of institutes offer undergraduate and post graduate courses in biotechnology. These courses run for two years and are divided into four semesters.

A biotechnology course is typically a combination of biology and technology, and the main subjects covered in the curriculum are Bioinformatics, Molecular Biophysics, Immunology, Genetic Engineering, Microbiology, Genetics, Metabolism, and Biostatics, among a host of others. The course also includes relevant laboratory programs.

Opportunities in the Private Sector

Graduates in biotechnology are eligible to apply for jobs in a number of pharmaceutical companies such as Hindustan Antibiotics, Cipla, Hindustan Lever, or Dabur. They are offered roles of production-in-charge, quality control officer, or marketing manager. There are other companies also, not necessarily related to the pharmaceutical business, where these graduates can look for job openings. Godrej has a biotechnology division that can offer suitable openings.

Opportunities in the Government Sector

Though there are openings in the Government Sector for biotechnology graduates, a post-graduation would suit them better and leave them with a stronger chance of finding a suitable job. Several of the Government Research Institutes have openings in the field of Research – National Institute of Oceanography, National Brain Research Centre, and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology are just some of the top names. Clearing the UGC organized NET exam would give them even better opportunities. NET life science coaching in Chandigarh can help them reach their goal in life.

Various Government Institutes such as the National Institute of Technology in Calicut recruits candidates for the post of lecturer. In order to qualify, you should either have a post-graduation degree or possess an excellent background of Molecular Biology and Genetics. The JAM exam conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology will help you gain admission into a reputed institute for completing your post-graduation, preparations for which you can take at IIT JAM biotech coaching in Chandigarh.

A number of exams are conducted by UGC for recruitment of candidates into a number of government posts. SSC Exams, Combined Defense Services exams, and Civil Services exams such as IPS, IFS, and IAS are other options. You can train for these alongside your NET preparations at a CSIR UGC Life Science coaching in Chandigarh.

Though the remunerations at the early stage of your career will be low, you can witness increments in your earnings if you make the right career choices. Biotechnology is a highly promising field at present and offers long term job opportunities if you are a dedicated candidate.

Biology Terms: Countershading

Many marine creatures are countershaded, which is a type of camouflage for them. What exactly is countershading?

Imagine that you are in a boat on the ocean and looking down. The ocean water looks dark blue. If you were an animal in the ocean, what color should you be to hide from animals in the sky, or higher up in the ocean, than you are?

Now, imagine you are SCUBA diving on the bottom of the ocean floor and look up, toward the sky. During the daytime, the sunlight filters into the water. What color should an animal be so it can blend into the water and hide from the animals below it in the water?

Animals selected for countershading

Animals that are darkly colored on their top part and lightly colored on their underside are said to be countershaded.

Animals that are darkly colored on their top part, where their dorsal fins are located, are less likely to be found and eaten by sky creatures or ocean animals higher up in the ocean than they are. Their dark colored skin blends into the color of the ocean around them and they have higher survival rates than animals that are lightly colored on the top.

Animals that are lightly colored on their underside blend into the ocean better when looking from the ground upward. They are found and eaten less often by the fish and animals underneath them in the water, so they have better survival rates than animals with darker colored under sides.

So, animals with both of these features have an even better chance of living to an age that they can reproduce.

What kind of animals are countershaded?

Countershading of the type, where the animal blends into its background, is most prevalent with marine animals. Sharks, dolphins, porpoises, fish, and penguins all present this kind of countershading.

Another type of countershading has the same type of principles, but the animals don’t blend completely into their background. Instead, their coloring makes it difficult for predators to see where their bodies start and end. Some lizards and caterpillars present this type of countershading.

What have we learned from the animals?

An artist and naturalist named Abbott Thayer studied countershading. He described and published his nature studies regarding countershading in 1892. In fact, sometimes countershading is called Thayer’s law. Thayer made his contribution in World War I by suggesting that the military paint their ships using countershading techniques.

Countershading and camouflage techniques are used frequently by the military. Clothing fashions are also influenced by these types of color schemes.

Top 10 Popular Science Books

1. Annals of a Former World, by John McPhee

In patient, lyrical prose, McPhee takes the reader on a geologic journey through the United States. This volume was originally published as 4 books; each is centered on a road trip the author took with a geologist, observing the earth next to Eisenhower’s great US highways for clues into its geologic past. Annals has this–no borders, idealistic, On the Road for geologists kind of feel (though a bit more grown-up.) I pick up Annals every once in a while when im in a relaxed mood, when im looking for a good example of literary science writing. Highly recommended as a companion for camping trips, if you can fit it into your pack.

2. Surely You’re Joking, Mr, Feynman, by Richard Feynman

A string of excerpts from Feynman’s life/career, Surely You’re Joking is probably the popular science book I have read through the most times, not because it is short, but because it is at once compelling, understated, and full of indispensable scientific concepts. Richard Feynman has an uncanny ability to make physics easily digestible, his lectures are a testament to that and Surely You’re Joking is no exception. Feynman’s easy prose makes the reader feel like physics is understandable, as if he has laid out a diagram of the universe on his living room floor–no one is an outsider. It’s delightful. Feynman’s in my ‘top 5 people I would give my right pinky finger to meet’ category.

3. A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

The second heavy volume on the list, A Short History is packed with nearly everything. It takes a look at the science behind a lot of things–beauty, cells, evolution, the universe. Bryson rejects the traditional notion of a ‘textbook’ with this book, making science seem relevant in our daily lives AND putting this knowledge in the context of the universe–in space and time. Capturing the detailed nooks where science is often concentrated AND eliciting the wonder of the wider perspective is an accomplishment–savor it wherever you can find it. Great in audio book format.

4. The Richness of Life, collection of essays by Stephen Jay Gould

The idiosyncratic Gould has written articles in Natural History and many other science magazines for decades and is one of the most widely read modern science writers. In this collection of articles, Gould’s highly intellectual, witty, and pin-accurate prose explains evolutionary theory, racism or baseball with a scientist’s eye, but in a way that engages the layman. Gould’s dedication to science shows in every piece. Delightful.

5. The Canon, by Natalie Angier

Someone at the New York Times science desk once told me–“Natalie Angier is the queen of metaphor.” I have to agree. The Canon is the best example of her witty prose winding the reader through simple scientific questions with difficult answers. In this book, Angier tackles what she has deemed the basic scientific concepts everyone should know: thinking scientifically, probabilities, calibration, physics, evolutionary biology, chemistry, molecular biology, astronomy and geology. Phew. I have to say–this could have been very text-book, but because of her writing style, is masterful. I actually have had many non-scientist friend recommend this to me, which is always a good sign.

6. Universe in a Teacup, by K.C. Cole

Where can you find a book that successfully intertwines the discipline of mathematics, with the concepts of truth and beauty? Universe is just such a book; K.C.’s most popular and in some ways seminal volume. Metaphors she uses pack a punch. Her prose style is somewhat poetic, and in Universe, she proves adept at explain things like chaos or phase transitions are illuminating–not just because you finally understand some science concept that always seem so obscure, but because Cole has also given the you a new way to think about mathematics and the world alongside your new understanding. (Full disclosure–Cole was my academic mentor)

7. The Code Book, by Simon Singh

Packed with information about the history of codes, how to break them, and who figured it all out, this book has a kind-of James Bond appeal. Various scientists and politicians have acted as code-makers and code-breakers from antiquity until modern day, and codes are increasingly important in computer technology and national security. The stories behind the codes are so fascinating i hardly even realized that i was learning about the mathematics of code theory in the process.

8. Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan

Ok, so not everyone would categorize this as a popular science book, but Ill include it anyway. Enduring Love is a fiction book, partially written from the perspective of a former scientist, but more importantly, it is a suspenseful story that lets the author’s attitudes towards life bleed through each and every page. Ian McEwan is a well-know rationalist who believes that science is just as much a part of culture as anything else–a position with which I very much empathize. This is a literary tale, sure, but McEwan manages to mention scientific ideas all over the place, integrating science and its ways of thinking into the lives of his complex characters and slowly revealing situations. It’s a page-turner.

9. The Double Helix, by James Watson

Though scientist James Watson doesn’t have a Stephen Jay Gould command of language and metaphor, The Double Helix still stands as an absolutely riveting account of the series of events that lead up to the discovery of DNA’s structure. In the book, scientists Watson, Crick, Maurice Wilkens, and Rosalind Franklin become fascinating characters in a race to figure out what DNA looks like at a molecular level. Each has their own motivations. Each has their own complications. All but Franklin eventually received a Nobel Prize for this work (she died before the award could include her.) A quick, easy read.

10. In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall

A classic book–easy read, no jargon. Goodall’s observations of chimpanzee’s in the wild first brought to light one of man’s most recent ancestors–the chimpanzee. This book chronicles some of Goodall’s groundbreaking research through her own observations about chimp behavior. Once immersed in the book, I couldn’t help but think–we are all just apes, evolved from or related to one another. Puts things in perspective.

Fundraising Ideas For Science Clubs

Science clubs are one of the neatest groups a student can belong to. Being a part of the club allows for educational opportunities that do not really exist in other areas in life. Things like playing with liquid nitrogen, building an electric motor, doing dissections, and studying rockets are all incredibly fun and educational activities that members get to participate in.

To do them though, the club needs money. Obviously any good science club will have membership fees to cover some of the expenses but, if you want to do big projects, like taking apart an engine or dissecting a shark, you will need to have a fundraiser.

When your group leaders and coordinators meet to pick your fund raising program, they will probably all agree that the fundraiser needs to be fun, easy, and raise a good deal of money. The other criteria that is coming more and more into science club fundraiser discussions is whether or not the fundraiser is educational. Since the entire point of your organization is to teach the members, why not pick a fundraiser that does the same thing.

Some of the best fundraising ideas for clubs that focus on science are green fundraisers. There are a lot of options available to groups that focus on biology, sustainability, and energy conservation. With each type of fundraiser, a science lesson can be easily integrated.

One of the most popular fundraisers is a plant fundraiser. The plants can be flowers, trees, and even vegetable gardens. The science club can document the growth rates of the various plants and their yield over time. For the vegetable garden fundraisers, club members can also study the effects of different environments on the vegetables production.

Sustainability fundraisers typically focus on items like plastic bag waste reduction. Have your science club study the effects of each bag in the areas of plastic bag waste and its effect on the environment.