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Biotechnology

The Degree

Associate in Science (A.S.)

The Outlook

From altering the genetic information of plants and animals to producing cells to create pharmaceutical products, the science of biotechnology is using cutting-edge technology and the basic ingredients of life to benefit society. Students can participate in what many consider to be the most important applied science of the 21st century through the biotechnology degree program at Finger Lakes Community College.

Career opportunities in biotechnology are diverse and intriguing, including areas such as cloning, forensics, bio-engineered food, and more. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of biological technicians is expected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The Program

Biotechnology, an associate in science (A.S.) degree program, is designed to prepare students either to transfer to a four-year institution as a biotechnology or biology major or to develop marketable skills as they prepare to enter this dynamic job market.

Skills and Methods: Courses in the program focus on skill development in the following areas:

Genetic Research Techniques

  • Cloning
  • Protein separation methods
  • Hydrophobic Interaction Chromatography
  • Size exclusion chromatography
  • Ion-exchange chromatography
  • Bioinformatics

Cell Tissue and Culture

  • Culture equipment and safety
  • Sterile and aseptic technique
  • Media preparation and the culture environment
  • Quantitative methods (cell count/viability)
  • Cryopreservation
  • Primary cell culture techniques
  • Subculturing techniques
  • Cell differentiation
  • Applied techniques (transfection, histochem)

Electrophoresis

  • Principles of PAGE and agarose electrophoresis
  • Electrophoresis equipment and operation
  • Formal laboratory report writing
  • Micropipetting technique
  • Gel preparation (pour, load, and process)
  • Calculation of molecular weights from gels
  • Gel photography and image analysis
  • Restriction enzyme digests
  • Restriction mapping

Genetics Laboratory

  • Mendelian Genetics and crosses
  • Cloning techniques (restriction digestion, ligation, transformation)
  • PCR applications
  • PCR primer design
  • DNA fingerprinting
  • DNA isolation
  • Quantitative DNA applications
  • Bioinformatics

Bacteriological Methods

  • Laboratory safety
  • Sterile technique
  • Selective and differential media
  • Plaque assay
  • Microscopy
  • Media preparation
  • Culture techniques
  • Reagent and stain preparation
  • Bacterial conjugation and transformation

Facilities: Facilities for the program include a fully equipped instrument lab, extensive spectrophotometric resources, cell culture and cryogenic equipment, and enough electrophoresis equipment to ensure that every student has the opportunity to work with his or her own gel box.

Honors Courses: The College offers honors courses that provide enhanced educational experiences for students who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability. Enrollment in honors courses is open to qualified students in this degree program, as well as all other qualified FLCC students. Successful completion of honors courses or an Honors Certificate may increase student transfer options to four-year institutions.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this degree program, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate proficiency in workplace "soft skills," including an industry acceptable level of technical writing and oral communication.
  • demonstrate an ability to work on collaborative teams.
  • demonstrate an ability to perform basic laboratory procedures, including the ability to select and utilize appropriate resources, supplies, and instrumentation to solve problems within a laboratory environment.
  • demonstrate proficiency in critical advanced laboratory skills required for employment in the biotechnology industry.
  • demonstrate a basic understanding of the biotechnology industry.

The Experience

Research: Under the guidance of faculty members, students will have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research projects, collecting samples in the field and processing the DNA information in the College lab.

Resources: Students will benefit from FLCC's connection to Bio-Link, which is affiliated with Biotechnology Industry Organization. Bio-Link is an advanced technological education center, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), to enhance and expand biotechnology education programs. Bio-Link will serve as an educational resource for FLCC students as well as a network for employment opportunities.

The National Science Foundation recently established the Northeast Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative. FLCC will be the lead institution for the New York hub of this regional center designed to support biomanufacturing in the northeast United States. This relationship will provide unique opportunities for FLCC Biotechnology students. For more information, visit www.bio-link.org and www.biomanufacturing.org.

The Graduates

With the hands-on experience and lab skills they will gain at FLCC, students will be well prepared to transfer with junior standing statuses to four-year colleges and universities that offer biotechnology-related bachelor's degrees such as University of Rochester (biology and molecular genetics), Cornell University (biology), Buffalo State (biology), SUNY Brockport (biological sciences), SUNY Fredonia (recombinant gene technology), and others.

In addition, FLCC holds an articulation agreement with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that guarantees qualified students' entrance as full juniors into their Bachelor of Science biotechnology program, considered by many to be one of the strongest programs of its kind on the East Coast. Students can also explore co-op opportunities when they're seniors at RIT.

Careers and Salary: Upon completion of a four-year degree, graduates are qualified to fill jobs as lab assistants, research assistants or associates, quality control analysts, technologists, clinical data specialists, chemists, microbiologists, animal technicians, or manufacturing associates. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for biological technicians was $39,750 in May 2012.

With a two-year degree in biotechnology, graduates can expect positions as quality control technicians, instrumentation technicians, laboratory technicians, or research assistants.

The Scholarships

Students who meet specific criteria may apply for a number of scholarships including the Murray G. Gardner Memorial Scholarship, Bill Parham Memorial Scholarship, ExxonMobil Science Scholarships, Cliftronics Excellence Scholarship, and the G.W. Lisk Excellence Scholarship. For details, contact the FLCC Financial Aid Office.