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Biotechnology Bachelor of Science

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Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary major that is administered through the Department of Environmental & Forest Biology, but which involves faculty and courses in several other programs at ESF (see the Biotechnology home page is at www.esf.edu/biotech).

Biotechnology is the application of biological organisms, cells, or molecules to produce a product or service for the betterment of humankind. This area of study includes aspects of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, and genetic engineering, among other related biological disciplines. This is a growing field of study that offers diverse career opportunities involving the application of biotechnology in solving environmental and natural resource problems. The Biotechnology major provides focus to students with a strong interest in subjects relating to biotechnology in natural systems. It also provides a route for students interested in the health professions, while at the same time encouraging elective breadth in the social sciences, humanities, and environmental studies. The curriculum has an emphasis on the basic sciences with a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, calculus, and physics that will prepare the student for upper level biology and chemistry courses, including entry level graduate biochemistry courses. This degree program will prepare students to use molecular and biochemical approaches to tackle environmental, natural resource, agricultural, or medical questions, as well as provide sufficient breadth for a student to enter a clinical medical career. Students who complete this major will be qualified to enter the growing biotechnology job market or continue their studies in graduate or professional school.

The Biotechnology curriculum requires a minimum of 123 total credits. The core requirements are listed below in a sample schedule. There are also 9 credits of directed electives that can be chosen from a list of approved courses (see below) and 20 open electives that can be selected with help from your faculty advisor. For example, a student who is interested in plant biotechnology might choose to take plant physiology, plant development, plant biotechnology, plant tissue culture and plant biochemistry to fill these electives. There are also many courses offered at Syracuse University or the SUNY Upstate Medical University that could be used to fill these electives. Since these are open electives, you might choose to take an international field trip, a language course, an art course, or whatever interests you. Lastly, there are 15 required credits of general education elective courses as described above under the Environmental Biology major.

Advising Faculty, L. Newman (coord.), D. Fernando, H. Green, B. Leydet, W. Powell, C. Whipps.

Participating Faculty

  • Gregory L. Boyer; glboyer@esf.edu
    biochemistry and environmental chemistry, plant and algal biochemistry, chemical ecology and toxins produced by algae. environmental monitoring, including Buoy and ship-based monitoring systems for water quality
  • Danilo D. Fernando; dfernando@esf.edu
    plant structure and development, reproductive biology of conifers, pollen transformation, genomics and proteomics of pine pollen tube development, willow flowering and tissue culture, genetic diversity of rare and endangered ferns, and plant evolution, diversity and conservation.
  • Jose L. Giner; jlginer@esf.edu
    organic and natural products chemistry, sterol synthesis, natural products
  • Hyatt Green; hgreen@esf.edu
    molecular microbial ecology, eDNA, microbial water quality, microbial source-tracking, SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, forest soil nitrification, Hg-methylation
  • Thomas R. Horton; trhorton@esf.edu
    mycorrhizal plant ecology, molecular ecology, ecology, fungal communities, mycology, fire ecology
  • Brian F. Leydet; bfleydet@esf.edu
    infectious and vector-borne diseases, arthropods of veterinary and medical importance, vector biology, vector-pathogen-host interactions, disease ecology, molecular biology, epidemiology of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
  • Lee Newman; lanewman@esf.edu
    phytoremediation, molecular and cellular biology, horticultural therapy, food and health
  • William A. Powell; wapowell@esf.edu
    forest biotechnology, molecular plant-microbe interactions, genetic engineering in plant conservation, antimicrobial peptide design, plant gene design, plant pathology, molecular biology
  • Rebecca Rundell; rrundell@esf.edu
    evolutionary biology, conservation biology, speciation, adaptive and nonadaptive radiations, biogeography, phylogenetics, systematics, Pacific island radiations and biodiversity conservation, land snails, marine/aquatic microscopic invertebrates
  • Gary M. Scott; gmscott@esf.edu
    biotechnology, bioprocess engineering, paper machine operations, recycling, modeling
  • Arthur J. Stipanovic; astipano@esf.edu
    polymer chemistry, biopolymers, biodegradable polymers, characterization, rheology
  • Mark A. Teece; mteece@esf.edu
    environmental chemistry, food web biochemistry, stable isotope biogeochemistry, coral, stable isotopes, metabolomics, biogeochemistry
  • Christopher Whipps; cwhipps@esf.edu
    fish parasites and diseases, wildlife diseases, parasitology, microbiology, taxonomy, molecular systematics, diagnostics, parasites as biological tags and ecological indicators, epidemiology and control of pathogens of ecological and veterinary importance, evolution and biology of disease causing organisms in animal populations using molecular systematics

Biotechnology Links

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Program Details

In addition to ESF courses, below is a list of other courses offered at Syracuse University that can satisfy the directed electives requirement:

Course Description Credits
BIO215 Bio-Medicine and Human Values 3 cr.
BIO425 Cell and Development Biology 3 cr.
BIO447 Basic Immunology 3 cr.
BIO455 Physiology Lab 3 cr.
BIO501 Biology of Cancer 3 cr.
BIO503 Developmental Biology 3 cr.
BIO518 Endocrinology  3 cr.
CIE472 Applied Microbiology
CIE500 Bioremediation (Spring semester odd years)
CIE500 Biotechnology (Spring semester even years)