Oneupthebumdonttellmum
Badges: 0
#1
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
#1
Is a degree in chemistry a good base to enter into the world of R&D Biotechnology and pharmasuiticals? Or is a degree in pharmacology/biology/biochemistry preffered? I know the biotech sector is huge and diverse, I'm just curious.
0
reply
WokSz
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#2
Report 12 years ago
#2
Chemistry is the basis of Biochemistry Biotechnology. I don't think it will pose a problem. I'm sure Biochemistry might give you the edge.
0
reply
ChemistBoy
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#3
Report 12 years ago
#3
It depends what you want to do. Most biotechnology is to do with large scale culture so having some experience of microbiology is kind of essential and most chemistry degrees don't offer that.
0
reply
awesomedude
Badges: 0
#4
Report 12 years ago
#4
(Original post by ChemistBoy)
It depends what you want to do. Most biotechnology is to do with large scale culture so having some experience of microbiology is kind of essential and most chemistry degrees don't offer that.
This isn't totally true. That's one definition of biotechnology - and perhaps a classical one. Biotechnology is no longer just used to mean the use of microogranisms in big reactors.

I think the thread starter is probably thinking along the lines of pharmaceutical companies and small biotech start ups / academic departments, which are involved in a whole host of innovative life science areas, often developing techniques to be used in the pharmaceutical industry or others (for example developing a bacteria to produce biofuels or producing novel fluorescent DNA probes would both be biotech).

Anyway, sure microbiology is important but I think molecular biology, biochemistry or even a degree in biotechnology would be useful. That's of course assuming you're interested in those subjects. If you want to do chemistry but just work for these sorts of companies then that's fine and they do need chemists! The work chemists often do in pharmaceuticals is often pretty boring though, just constant organic synthesis - i.e. trying to think of a new potential drug molecule that hasn't been made yet and then trying to make it. Chemists don't really get into the biology side of discovery in bbig pharma/biotech so you're still essentially a pure chemist which means you can probably go into other chemistry jobs - e.g. paints, oil industry etc. I suppose that's good if you're mainly after job security.
0
reply
ChemistBoy
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#5
Report 12 years ago
#5
(Original post by awesomedude)
This isn't totally true. That's one definition of biotechnology - and perhaps a classical one. Biotechnology is no longer just used to mean the use of microogranisms in big reactors.

I think the thread starter is probably thinking along the lines of pharmaceutical companies and small biotech start ups / academic departments, which are involved in a whole host of innovative life science areas, often developing techniques to be used in the pharmaceutical industry or others (for example developing a bacteria to produce biofuels or producing novel fluorescent DNA probes would both be biotech).
I wasn't saying that you couldn't get a job in that area, but that culture is incredibly important in the industry and that reflects the larger numbers of grads with microbiological experience (biomedical, biochem, etc. degree holders). I'm pretty confident on this as my mum works in biotech and labmed and I have some contacts in the industry myself.

Anyway, sure microbiology is important but I think molecular biology, biochemistry or even a degree in biotechnology would be useful. That's of course assuming you're interested in those subjects.
I did say some experience of microbiology, not necessarily a degree in it. I know that almost all biochemistry, molecular biology and biotech grads will have some level of microbiological training. I certain did a course in microbiology during my subsid in biochem.

If you want to do chemistry but just work for these sorts of companies then that's fine and they do need chemists!
Not that many for biotech firms at the moment although demand is growing. It has been said to me on many occassions that one needs a relevant PhD to progess in these firms and so your undergrad degree does become a bit of an irrelevance.

The work chemists often do in pharmaceuticals is often pretty boring though, just constant organic synthesis - i.e. trying to think of a new potential drug molecule that hasn't been made yet and then trying to make it. Chemists don't really get into the biology side of discovery in bbig pharma/biotech so you're still essentially a pure chemist which means you can probably go into other chemistry jobs - e.g. paints, oil industry etc. I suppose that's good if you're mainly after job security.
I don't really think that biotech and pharma are the same thing in terms of companies, whilst they have obvious overlaps, biotech firms generally offer services to pharma rather than being a part of pharma (at the moment). Again having worked in drug discovery as a chemist for Novartis (a very large pharmaceutical company) I kind of have some experience about who does what, where.
0
reply
awesomedude
Badges: 0
#6
Report 12 years ago
#6
Chemistboy, I take your points so apologies and perhaps I slightly misunderstood what exactly you were saying. Anyway, I wasn't meaning to suggest that biotech and big pharma were the same, I've also worked in the industry (I worked for Merck & Co., another very big pharmaceutical company) and am aware of the roles they play, it's just that in the original post is concerning a job in biotech and/or pharma.
0
reply
ChemistBoy
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#7
Report 12 years ago
#7
Where were you based? I got the opportunity to work in Basel, which was great!
0
reply
awesomedude
Badges: 0
#8
Report 12 years ago
#8
I was at a small in Harlow, Essex (nothing like the massive GSK site there) but they have closed the site down now.

We had a couple of structure-based drug design lecturers who used to work for Novartis in Basel years ago. Apparently the site head there was so convinced that computer-based docking / rational design was the way forward that he got rid of the site's compound store. Alas, that seems to have been a tad optimistic.
0
reply
ChemistBoy
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#9
Report 12 years ago
#9
(Original post by awesomedude)
We had a couple of structure-based drug design lecturers who used to work for Novartis in Basel years ago. Apparently the site head there was so convinced that computer-based docking / rational design was the way forward that he got rid of the site's compound store. Alas, that seems to have been a tad optimistic.
That was a bit silly, I've had too much trouble with simulations to every really trust them, especially force field stuff.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • Bournemouth University
    Midwifery Open Day at Portsmouth Campus Undergraduate
    Wed, 16 Oct '19
  • Teesside University
    All faculties open Undergraduate
    Wed, 16 Oct '19
  • University of the Arts London
    London College of Fashion – Cordwainers Footwear and Bags & Accessories Undergraduate
    Wed, 16 Oct '19

How has the start of this academic year been for you?

Loving it - gonna be a great year (109)
17.99%
It's just nice to be back! (163)
26.9%
Not great so far... (217)
35.81%
I want to drop out! (117)
19.31%

Watched Threads

View All