Biotechnology uses living organisms such as microbial, animal or plant cells to carry out specific biomedical, industrial, agricultural and environmental applications. At Newcastle we have biotechnology expertise in applications related to: health care and diagnostics; agriculture; non-food uses of crops; environmental science; and marine sciences.
In medical sciences, research takes place across the full range of translational medicine – from drug discovery and development, to effective product commercialisation and process optimisation. Key areas include: the development of drugs for the treatment of cancer and psychiatric disorders; novel antibiotic innovation; and the use of biosensors and nanotechnology. As well as supervising research students who are undertaking projects in these areas, we also offer the MRes in Biotechnology and Business Enterprise. The MRes bridges the gap between scientists and the business world, focusing on how breakthroughs in laboratory research are turned into successful biotechnology processes and how these are developed and managed within industry.
In biological, agricultural and environmental sciences our research focuses on: the search and discovery of commercially significant natural products; the production of crops with novel traits; the fundamental role played by micro-organisms in the turnover of pollutants; and the production of high-value novel compounds, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides. As a student on the MRes in Biotechnology and Business Enterprise or MSc and MRes in Industrial and Commercial Biotechnology, you will study modules and undertake research projects that draw on the expertise we offer in these areas.
Further biomedical research is undertaken in marine science, where our work has led to pioneering developments in developing novel antibiotics and omega 3 oils from plankton. We also explore the industrial applications of marine organisms such as the development of environmentally friendly antifouling coatings.
Biotechnology is a fast-moving sector and we provide a number of opportunities for you to develop the business and commercial skills needed for a successful career.
We retain close links with the spin-off companies that have been created by our staff and capitalise on their research. For example, MSc students have worked with Geneius Laboratories to develop rapid molecular methods to detect microbes in food samples. Prolysis Ltd, recently acquired by Biota Holdings Ltd, Demuris Ltd and Orla Protein Technologies all part-sponsor PhD studentships and provide opportunities for students to spend time working in their commercial laboratories. Our students take part in the BBSRC’s Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme, and through the University’s Enterprise Scholarship Scheme there are opportunities to stay on at the end of your PhD to investigate the commercial outcomes of your research.