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How to get started with biotech?
#1
Hey, I'm in high school and I've recently grown interested in biotech. I want to go into this field as a career and I really want to start doing things now. I would like to build my own lab in my bedroom or garage and start doing experiments, but I have very little knowledge in this topic and I have no clue where to start!

I have zero experience and zero equipment can someone give me some specific things I can do to get started and begin doing experiments please? What would be some good first-time experiments?
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#2
I'm about to graduate a 3 year biotechnology program at an Ontario College and my best advice is to figure out what you like about biotechnology first and what you might want to do when you have completed your education. There are tonnes of applications for biotechnology, the question is what kind of work you are interested in.

- Do you want to work in genetically modified foods?
- Do you want to work in the pharmaceutical field developing antibodies that can be used to treat cancer?
- Do you want to work in research and further the scientific front?

Once you have an idea of what you want to do or what interests you most, you can start your formal education and as you learn you will likely change your target career slightly depending on what you like most in your education.

As for experiments in your garage.... I wouldn't worry about doing any of those. There are plenty of scientists who are doing that work for us and there is no point in you doing that kind of work with as little knowledge as you have. First of all, most of your experiments will be unlikely to go as planned as you are untrained, and second of all, there is a high degree of likelihood that you will hurt yourself - especially if you set up a lab in your bedroom. Many of the chemicals involved are highly toxic and it takes years of training to know how to properly work your way through experiments safely under your own direction.

So again, I'd just recommend you think about your passion and then choose an education that can get you there.

Best of luck!
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#3
Welcome to the forum Mac. Thanks for answering question(s) posted by other members of our community. I am sure this will help Calvin a lot.
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#4
(02-02-2015, 12:11 PM)Administrator Wrote: Welcome to the forum Mac. Thanks for answering question(s) posted by other members of our community. I am sure this will help Calvin a lot.

My pleasure Smile

I just discovered this place and I'll have to take a look around. It seems like there are a lot of great discussions going on and if I can contribute to them, I'm happy to.
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#5
(02-02-2015, 08:25 AM)mac Wrote: I'm about to graduate a 3 year biotechnology program at an Ontario College and my best advice is to figure out what you like about biotechnology first and what you might want to do when you have completed your education. There are tonnes of applications for biotechnology, the question is what kind of work you are interested in.

- Do you want to work in genetically modified foods?
- Do you want to work in the pharmaceutical field developing antibodies that can be used to treat cancer?
- Do you want to work in research and further the scientific front?

Once you have an idea of what you want to do or what interests you most, you can start your formal education and as you learn you will likely change your target career slightly depending on what you like most in your education.

As for experiments in your garage.... I wouldn't worry about doing any of those. There are plenty of scientists who are doing that work for us and there is no point in you doing that kind of work with as little knowledge as you have. First of all, most of your experiments will be unlikely to go as planned as you are untrained, and second of all, there is a high degree of likelihood that you will hurt yourself - especially if you set up a lab in your bedroom. Many of the chemicals involved are highly toxic and it takes years of training to know how to properly work your way through experiments safely under your own direction.

So again, I'd just recommend you think about your passion and then choose an education that can get you there.

Best of luck!

thanks mac I really needed this. Smile  but I have another question. I have fixed my mind on being a biotechnologist. how should I get my degree? should I join a university cum research centre for my degree or get my degree and then join a research institute?
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#6
Hello Vinaya,

You will get ample opportunities during your degree program in (any) university you go for, to indulge in research projects (a part of curriculum). The only thing that actually decides the fate of your career (apart from the reputation of the college) is "your level of contention, practiveness and dedication". Ideally, during summer holidays from the University, you should ensure that you have joined a "research centre/company/institute" as an intern. During 2nd year, a lot of reputed institutes (like IITs) offer selection based internship opportunities to students of other institutes/universities, you should be alert and should apply for those opportunities in time.

In the final year, a student is supposed to go for a Major Project (6 months dedicated) in a company/institute/research centre of their choice. That project greatly defines your career ahead.

Once you are done with your Undergraduate Degree, you should opt for a research oriented Masters program like MS(Research) in India/abroad and then PhD to finally enter the leadership role(s) of a researcher in the industry.

There is a long way ahead and the best part is that you are alert and curious well in advance.

All the best!

If there is any other query, do let me know

Best wishes
Sunil
Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (BiotechStudents.com)
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC


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#7
(04-08-2015, 10:22 PM)SunilNagpal Wrote: Hello Vinaya,

You will get ample opportunities during your degree program in (any) university you go for, to indulge in research projects (a part of curriculum). The only thing that actually decides the fate of your career (apart from the reputation of the college) is "your level of contention, practiveness and dedication". Ideally, during summer holidays from the University, you should ensure that you have joined a "research centre/company/institute" as an intern. During 2nd year, a lot of reputed institutes (like IITs) offer selection based internship opportunities to students of other institutes/universities, you should be alert and should apply for those opportunities in time.

In the final year, a student is supposed to go for a Major Project (6 months dedicated) in a company/institute/research centre of their choice. That project greatly defines your career ahead.

Once you are done with your Undergraduate Degree, you should opt for a research oriented Masters program like MS(Research) in India/abroad and then PhD to finally enter the leadership role(s) of a researcher in the industry.

There is a long way ahead and the best part is that you are alert and curious well in advance.

All the best!

If there is any other query, do let me know

Best wishes
Sunil
Thank you.
 I have no clue whether I can join a university cum research centre directly after 12th for my degree or should I complete my degree and join? If I can join a university for degree can you please suggest me some good universities in India?
And can you suggest whether getting an MSC degree in India is better or elsewhere?
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