Molecular biology pertains to the study of living systems at the DNA, RNA, and protein levels, and how these molecules can be modified and harnessed for practical applications. Knowledge of the natural function of these molecules in the cell provides a context appropriate for further advancement in the rapidly expanding areas of functional genomics, cell biology, biotechnology, microbiology, diagnostics, therapeutics, and personalized medicine.
Benefits of molecular biology training:
Molecular Biology primarily concerns with understanding the interactions between the various systems of a cell including the interactions between DNA, RNA and protein synthesis as well as learning how these interactions are regulated. It provides an in depth understanding of the mechanisms relevant to cell’s physiology, pathology and survival. While the classical methods retain their importance, the high fidelity techniques of molecular biology gather additional corroborative, reliable and reproducible data. Though in recent years, there has been a great expansion of the protocols/methodologies used in this area, many young faculty/research personnel in Universities and Research Institutions are unaware of these developments.
What does a Molecular Biologist do?
● Molecular biology pertains to the study of living systems at the molecular level, especially DNA and RNA, and provides a background for further work in the rapidly expanding areas of genomics, cell biology, biotechnology, microbiology, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Molecular biology methods are used extensively in modern day drug discovery, research and development, and diagnostics.
● Molecular biologists conduct experiments on cells and study life at the molecular level.
● The Master’s Degree in MOLECULAR BIOLOGY program provides professional education and training at the post graduate level for laboratory scientists in the area of molecular diagnosis for acquired, inherited and infectious diseases.
● Molecular diagnosis using nucleic acids ( DNA or RNA ) is not only limited to medicine, but can be applied in so many diverse fields such as:
1. population genetics,
7. Genetically modified organisms
The Master’s Degree program prepares professionals who will be competent in performing and interpreting molecular-based laboratory tests, explaining the appropriate use and meaning of molecular based tests to other professionals as well as to patients, establishing and validating new molecular methods in a molecular diagnosis laboratory.
● The commitment in time and resources will enable students to strengthen their preparation for future roles as practitioners, educators, researchers and leaders to an exciting and constantly changing field of molecular diagnostics.
Why should one opt for a molecular biology course?
● This science allows understanding of how the natural world works. It provides insights into the mechanisms of evolution, growth, development, reproduction and disease, plus tools to improve our quality of life. This may be through the development of a drug or drought-resistant crop plant or understanding what controls an individual’s health. Making connections between molecular mechanisms driving a process and the outcomes of those mechanisms on the physiology and/or behavior of an organism allows understanding of biological organisation and function, from molecules to cells, tissues, organs and the entire organism.
● Molecular biology is the outgrowth of the ascendance of biology, chemistry and physics. Medicine has been the beneficiary of this development. While during the last 40 years physics has changed our understanding of the universe, molecular biology has altered our ideas of the function of primitive and advanced organisms.
● Molecular biology has opened new vistas to the recognition and treatment of a number of diseases. Molecular biology is defined as life processes at the cellular level, that is at a level so small (molecular) that they cannot be perceived or measured by classical chemical or anatomical means. Consequently, molecular biology originated simultaneously with our ability to perform measurements and structural observation at the “molecular” level.
● The world’s future depends on it as it can explain what is life. Physics and chemistry are centered around the periodic table inorganically but a biochemist demonstrates emergence of life in it with the major elements of life being C, N, O and H.
Future aspects of molecular biology:
● Nucleic acid-based diagnostics gradually are replacing or complementing culture-based, biochemical, and immunological assays in routine microbiology laboratories.
● Similar to conventional tests, the first-generation deoxyribonucleic acid assays determined only a single analyte. Recent improvements in detection technologies have paved the way for the development of multiparameter assays using macroarrays or microarrays, while the introduction of closed-tube real-time polymerase chain reaction systems has resulted in the development of rapid microbial diagnostics with a reduced contamination risk.
● The use of these new molecular technologies is not restricted to detection and identification of microbial pathogens but also can be used for genotyping, allowing one to determine antibiotic resistance or to perform microbial fingerprinting.
Career options for Molecular Biology students:
An undergraduate degree in Biochemistry can lead to a very broad range of career options and possibilities. While it is not possible to list all potential career paths, Biochemistry is excellent training for careers in research, medicine, and the biotech industry. Some of the more common career paths of our students include:
Medical Professional – A Biochemistry degree is excellent preparation for entry into:
● Medical education (MD) programs
● Undergraduate dentistry programs
Research – A Biochemistry degree provides exceptional training and experiences for:
● Entry into graduate degrees programs (MSc, PhD)
● Research in academic and industrial lab environments
Biotechnology Industry – Not all careers in Biochemistry involve “bench” or “lab” work. Many excellent career options exist within the biotech industry that do not directly involve research.
● Product marketing and development
● Technical support and sales
Combined training – Biochemistry combined with other fields can create very unique and desired skill sets.
● Journalism for scientific writing: grants, media relations, news, technical
● Business Training (MBA) specializing in Biotechnology
● Law degrees specializing in patent law
● Education programs for teaching
● Computer sciences for the bioinformatics field
Entry into other specialized professional programs – Often such programs require a BSc, and a biochemistry degree can be ideal.
● Genetic counselling
● Forensic sciences
● Biomedical engineering
● Medical lab/imaging sciences