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Biotechnology Course Descriptions

Note: Not all biotechnology courses are offered every semester, and new courses may be added at any time. Check the schedule of classes for the latest offerings.

BTEC 650: Applied Biochemistry [3]

This course will review the chemistry of living systems, with an emphasis on topics of biotechnological and biomedical interest. The course will also survey the methods used in modern biochemistry, so that students will be able to understand the connection between empirical data and the established facts and concepts presented in the course. The first part of the course will focus on the relationship between structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and membranes. Important chemical concepts relevant to these molecules and their components (amino acids, nucleotides, etc.), such as pH and weak chemical interactions, will be presented. After an introduction to enzyme kinetics, the course will concentrate on the principles and pathways of intermediary metabolism. The final topics will be concerned with informational biochemistry – DNA replication, recombination, repair, and transcription, as well as protein synthesis.

BTEC 651: Molecular and Cell Biology [3]

This course explores the molecular basis of cell structure, organization, and function. Topics include genetic mechanisms (DNA replication, repair, and recombination, genome organization, and regulation of gene expression), internal cellular organization and activity (the cytoskeleton, membrane structure/function, cytoplasmic organelles, sorting to intracellular compartments, vesicular trafficking, and intracellular communication), cell growth and reproduction (the cell cycle and cell division), and cells in the context of the organism (cell junctions and adhesion, extracellular matrix, cell motility, and cell-cell signaling). An emphasis will be placed on experimental methods and strategies applied to molecular and cell biological investigations. Text and lecture materials will be supplemented with readings from the current literature, and significant class time will be allotted to discussions and student presentations. Prerequisite: BTEC 650 or equivalent course in biochemistry

BTEC 652: Molecular Biotechnology [3]

A lecture, discussion and project-based course that focuses on the molecular and genetic tools used to analyze and modify genetic material and used to modify organisms to produce desired small molecules and proteins. Topics will include the properties and uses of biotechnology-useful enzymes, sequencing techniques, PCR, cloning vectors and hosts, DNA and protein microarrays, directed mutagenesis, and the manipulation of expression (and its levels) of particular gene products. The experimental and model systems that will be studied include bacteria, yeast, plant, and higher mammals. Extensive use of the Internet’s resources and on-line journals will be also expected. Prerequisite: BTEC 651 or permission of instructor


BTEC 653: Princials of Upstream Processing [3]

A chemical engineering course covering basic process engineering, from the milliliter to the kiloliter scale. Topics relevant to the commercial bioprocesses used in the food, pharmaceutical and waste treatment industries will be introduced. Both upstream processes (e.g., fermentation, cell growth, energetics, mass transfer and enzyme kinetics) and downstream processes (chromatographic separations, ultrafiltration, and waste treatment) will be covered. Prerequisite: BTEC 652 or permission of instructor


BTEC 654: Capstone [3]

This seminar-style, capstone course is an in-depth exploration of emerging technologies, innovations, and new products that are noteworthy to the biotechnology industry. The first half of the course focuses on examining and critiquing what new scientific discoveries will likely impact the industry and in what ways. In the second half of the course, students, working in teams, will give written and oral presentations on case studies that attempt to predict products derived from the new innovations and discoveries. The objective of the course is to give the student insight into the process of translating scientific discovery into innovative products. Prerequisite: BTEC 653

BTEC 655: Emerging Topics in Biotechnology [3]

This seminar-style course is an in-depth exploration of emerging technologies, innovations, and new products that are noteworthy to the biotechnology industry. The course focuses on examining and critiquing what new scientific discoveries will likely impact the industry and in what ways. Literature research expands and deepens the student’s understanding of key fields within the life science area and allows the student to gain more in-depth knowledge on subjects that are relevant to their careers. Oral presentation and written papers help to refine the student’s communications skills.

BTEC 656: Experimental Design [3]

This course introduces the basic concepts which underlie the design of experiments. The use of statistical methods to discriminate between real effects (those caused by changes in controlled variables) and experimental error in systems which are inherently noisy are taught. Statistically designed experimental programs which can help test many variables simultaneously are very efficient tools for developing empirical mathematical models which accurately describe physical and chemical processes. These techniques are readily applied to production plant, pilot plant and laboratory systems, and should be a part of every practicing life science professional’s repertoire. At the end of this course, the student will be able to select an appropriate experimental design for the problem at hand, to set up, conduct and analyze the results of statistically designed experiments, and to understand the statistical basis for these techniques.

BTEC 657: Biochemical Engineering [3]

Introduction to the principals of industrial biotechnology. This course focuses on the interaction of chemical engineering, biochemistry, and microbiology for the production of commercial products. Key topics include process development design, risk assessment, an introduction to quality systems and product design.

BTEC 658: Principals of Downstream Processing [3]

In depth study of quality control measures and the analytical tools used to monitor bioprocesses and establish and monitor product specifications. The course aims to provide the student with working knowledge of product finishing techniques, design of stability studies, identification of degradation pathways and the use of statistical analyses.

BTEC 659: Fundamentals of Bioprocess Development [3]

Bioseparation is the process of fractionating and purifying biological materials: DNA, proteins, living cells, antibiotics, biofuels, food ingredients, and biochemical among others. This course covers separation methods used in the biotechnology industry, principles governing these methods, approaches to improving bioseparation performance, and the special challenges of scale-up. Key topics include techniques such as centrifugation, filtration, extraction, membrane methods, liquid-liquid separations, chromatography and electrophoresis.

BTEC/ENCH 660: Regulatory Issues in Biotechnology [3]

This course provides a comprehensive coverage of all steps involved with the regulatory approval process for a biotechnology-derived product. Documentation preparation for IND, NDA, BLA. Pre-clinical safety data, clinical studies, facilities inspection and scientific and regulatory principles.

BTEC/ENCH 662: Good Manufacturing Practices for Bioprocesses [3]

In-depth coverage of developing and implementing good manufacturing practices (GMPs) in the biotech industry. Topics include building and facilities, equipment design, utilities, in-process controls, records, and adequate process validation.

BTEC/ENCH 664: Quality Control & Quality Assurance for Biotechnology
Products [3]

In-depth coverage of the key issues associated with adequate quality-control systems, assays and stability for novel biotechnology products: quality concepts, product release testing and specifications, in-process testing, product characterization, quality assurance documentation and audits and vendor certification.

BTEC 665: Management, Leadership and Communication [3]

This course teaches the fundamentals of management and managerial leadership and communication. Managers juggle operations, finance, information technology, strategy, and projects, yet much of their success depends less on their own direct input than on their ability to enlist the active involvement of others: direct reports, other managers, other team members, and those above them on the organizational chart. It is imperative, therefore, that managers be adept at influencing those over whom they have no formal authority as well as guiding and directing those who report to them.

BTEC/ENCH 666: Biotechnology GMP Facility Design, Construction and Validation [3]

Presents an in-depth discussion of the engineering design of a biotech facility under GMP compliance. Topics covered include bulk plant design, process equipment design, utilities, instrumentation, controls and computerization, facility and software validation.

BTEC 668: Clinical Trials: Design & Management [3]

An introduction to the principles and practices of clinical research. The course focuses on the spectrum of clinical research and the research process by highlighting epidemiologic methods, study design, protocol preparation, patient monitoring, quality assurance, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues. Prerequisite: BTEC 660

BTEC 670: Legal & Ethical Issues in the Science Professions [3]

This course offers an overview of legal issues affecting biotechnology and other science-based industries and frames basic philosophical and ethical considerations regarding genetic data and manipulation. The course includes a discussion of intellectual property issues.

BTEC 675: Business Principals of the Biotechnology Industry [3]

This course is an overview of the life science industry, current and future trends. In depth discussions of the relationship between science and business and the process by which biotech products are designed, developed and brought to market. Course topics will include, biotechnology entrepreneurship, starting, leading and managing biotech companies, and comprehensive thesis on the workings of the biotechnology industry.

BTEC 680: Financial Management [3]

This course will cover the fundamentals of setting up, reading, and analyzing financial statements and reports in a business setting.  Course topics will include: project budgeting, profit planning, return on investment, and basic corporate finance. Students will analyze case studies from the specific industries.

BTEC 685: Project Management Fundamentals [3]

Students learn the fundamentals of managing projects in a systematic way. These fundamentals can be applied within any industry and work environment and will serve as the foundation for more specialized project management study. Principles and techniques are further reinforced through practical case studies and team projects in which students simulate project management processes and techniques.

BTEC 690: Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship [3]

This course offers an overview of innovation and its role in entrepreneurial ventures, both in new companies and within existing corporations. The basics of entrepreneurship with specific emphasis on technology-based business start-up are investigated. For the purposes of this course, technologies include IT, engineering and biotech. The course covers where to find innovative ideas and how to determine if a business idea is feasible along with an overview of the critical success factors in a new venture start-up.




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