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Biotechnology Careers: High-Tech, High-Wage Jobs . Career Pathways & Training in Northern California. What is Biotechnology?. Scientists in the field of biotechnology modify cellular DNA in order to produce useful proteins & other molecules.

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biotechnology careers high tech high wage jobs

Biotechnology Careers:High-Tech, High-Wage Jobs

Career Pathways & Training in Northern California

what is biotechnology
What is Biotechnology?

Scientists in the field of biotechnology modify cellular DNA in order to produce useful proteins & other molecules

Cells are the basic building blocks of living organisms

The use of living organisms, or parts thereof, to provide useful products, processes and services.



Transcription &


agricultural biotechnology
Agricultural Biotechnology
  • Enhanced pest and disease resistance
  • Decrease use of chemicals on farmland
  • Enhanced vitamins, micronutrients, etc.
  • Increased stress tolerance: drought, salinity, cold, etc.
  • “Pharming” to make vaccines and therapeutics.
  • Use of cellulosic biomass for biofuels

GMOs are feared by some…there is no scientific evidence to support such fears

industrial biotechnology
Enzymes needed for:





Therapeutic molecules to treat human diseases & disorders

Human Growth Factor


Other pharmaceuticals

Antibodies used in:


Disease treatment*

Medical Diagnostics

Cell Identification


Industrial Biotechnology

Useful proteins or biomolecules produced on an industrial scale by modifying, adding or deleting genetic information (DNA) in an organism, followed by large scale fermentation and biomolecule collection

bioengineering biomedical applications
Bioengineering & Biomedical Applications
  • DNA & Protein biochips
    • Medical diagnostics
    • Basic Genomics Research
  • Nanobiotechnology
    • Biomaterials, such as quantum dots
  • Biophotonics
  • Biosensors
  • Biomedical Engineering
    • Tissue Engineering
    • In-vivo Imaging
    • Robotics
genomics proteomics bioinformatics
Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics

Many Human Diseases are Associated with Single Base Changes in the Human Genome:

  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Marfan syndrome

“The HapMap is a catalog of common genetic variants that occur in human beings.”

Current Study Populations are from:

  • Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Beijing, China
  • United States (northern & western European ancestry)
environmental biotechnology
Environmental Biotechnology
  • Biofuels
    • New $25 million collaborative research partnership with Chevron
      • Cellulytic enzymes
      • GMO feedstocks for easier processing
  • Bioenergy
  • Bioremediation
  • Biomass conversion
stem cells tissue engineering
Stem Cells & Tissue Engineering

Stem Cells

  • October 2005, NIH awarded UC Davis a $6 million grant to launch theCenter of Excellence in Translational Human Stem Cell Research
  • Director, Dr. Alice Tarantal
  • It is one of two centers in the nation!
  • Three major research projects:
    • Increase umbilical cord blood stem cells available for cell transplants
    • Cell therapy for urinary tract obstruction in children with kidney disease
    • improve cell imaging that could be used for tracking transplanted stem cells in clinical studies

biotech was born in n california
Biotech was born in N. California!

The Interstate-80 corridor between the Bay Area and Sacramento is home to a high concentration of biotech companies

We need a highly skilledregional workforce to maintain our preeminence in biotechnology and compete in the global marketplace!

early training for careers in biotechnology
Early Training for Careers in Biotechnology
  • Take “College Prep” High School Courses:
    • Science Classes (Biology, Chemistry, Physiology, etc…) with hands-on laboratory training
    • Math Classes (Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, etc…)
    • Computer Classes
    • English Classes

In High School, build the skills needed to:

    • Work effectively as the member of a team
    • Precisely handle lab equipment and gather data
    • Carefully analyze and solve problems, based on known facts or data
    • Clearly communicate the results of your work (written and verbal)
education training for a career in the life science industry
Education & Training for a Career in the Life Science Industry



College Certificate

High School


Laboratory Technician




College AS Degree


More years of experience


Bachelor’s of Science

(BS) Degree


Research Scientist




Master’s of Science

(MS) Degree

Laboratory Director




Doctoral Degree


Biotech Company CEO



education training for a career in life science academia
Education & Training for a Career in Life Science Academia



College Certificate

Laboratory Technician


High School





K-12 Teacher



College AS Degree



Research Scientist


Bachelor’s of Science

(BS) Degree


Adjunct Faculty (temporary)



Master’s of Science

(MS) Degree

Community College Professor/Administrator


University Professor/Administrator



Doctoral Degree



Post-doctoral Researcher (temporary)


2 year biotech training programs in the greater sacramento region
2-Year Biotech Training Programs in the Greater Sacramento Region
  • American River College / North Valley & Mountain Biotech Center
    • Biotech Certificate
    • Biotech Degree (AS)
  • Solano Community College
    • Applied Biotech Certificate
    • Industrial Biotech Certificate
    • Industrial Biotech Degree (AS)
4 year graduate training programs in the greater sacramento region
4-Year & Graduate Training Programs in the Greater Sacramento Region
  • CSU Sacramento
    • BS, MS in Biological Sciences (various majors)
  • UC Davis
    • BA/BS in Biological Sciences (various majors)
    • BS in Biotechnology
    • MS/PhD in Biological Sciences (various majors)
    • Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (for PhD students)

Note: There are other state (UC, CSU, private) and national universities offering similar programs

thriving biotech related life science job markets
Thriving Biotech-Related Life Science Job Markets


Sales & Marketing




Regulatory Affairs

Technical Writing

Patent Law

Health Care

average life science salaries 2004
Average Life Science Salaries (2004)
  • College/University Department Head (11/12 month appt.- tenured) $149,250
  • Research Vice President/Director $145,000
  • President/Managing Director (with financial interest in firm) $128,000
  • Professor (11/12 month appointment - tenured) $121,000
  • Laboratory Director $96,600
  • Intermediate Researcher $50,335
  • Secondary School Teacher $43,536
  • College Instructor (9/10 month appt.) $43,000
  • Intermediate Research Technician $33,943 (BS degree)

Nationwide, the median income of those in the life sciences is ~$66,480.

Data from “Compensation of Life Scientists in the U.S. – 2004”

Note: 2007 Salaries in California are ~5-15% higher

local careers in biotech industry
Local Careers in Biotech Industry

The Greater Sacramento Region is poised to become a mixed biotech/life science cluster.

~100 Life Sciences companies exist along the I-80 Corridor

Over 100,000 Jobs!

per EDD

life science companies in the greater sacramento valley



Antibodies, Inc.

Arcadia Biociences


Dade Microscan

Davis Sequencing


Glycometrix (seed stage)

Hygieia Labs


Jackson Labs

Lipomics Technologies

Mesolytics (seed stage)

Miltenyi Biotech

MMI Genomics

Monsanto, Calgene campus



Pediatric Biosciences (seed stage)

Pioneer Hibred

Seminis Seeds

Synthia LLC (seed stage)



Ventria Biosciences


Vitalea (seed stage)

Life Science Companies in the Greater Sacramento Valley*

(*not complete list)

online resources for biotech careers
Online Resources for Biotech Careers
  • Career Voyages
    • A career information website hosted by the US Department of Education and the US Department of Labor.
  • Biotech Work Portal
    • A comprehensive website with links to information on biotech careers, educational programs, job postings, labor market data and much more!
    • A survey and salary information database providing annual data on average salaries in the biotech industry.
    • A popular job search website for the life science industry.
  • California Employment Development Department
    • Data on California biotech jobs and industry growth.
the california employment development department edd records data on biotech jobs in the state
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) Records Data on Biotech Jobs in the State

soft skills are critical for career success
“Soft Skills” are Critical for Career Success
  • Your academic qualifications might get you an interview, but to get and keep a job in biotechnology, you need these “soft skills”:

Before the interview-

    • Resume (easy to read, accurate, concise, personal)
    • Cover letter (perfect grammar/spelling, expresses your desire for the job, elaborates on your personal qualifications and life experiences that make you the “best” candidate)
    • Phone and email etiquette

During the interview-

    • Firm handshake
    • Good manners
    • Appropriate attire
    • Clear communicator
  • On the job-
    • Team player
    • Clear communicator
    • Critical thinker
    • Ethical, reliable & responsible
    • Follows protocols/directions
what path should you follow
What Path Should You Follow?
  • Predictions of Aggressive Job Growth in:
    • Health Sciences
    • Biotechnology & Bioinformatics
    • Computer and Information Science
  • All of these careers require a strong background in: