Upstate News

March 14, 2005
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate introduces new bachelor’s degree program to meet growing demand for research lab technologists

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – SUNY Upstate Medical University will introduce a new bachelor’s degree program in medical biotechnology this fall. The degree program is aimed at providing the skills and training for what experts say is a growing need for medical biotechnologists.

In a recent survey, the College of Health Professions at SUNY Upstate found that demand from universities and industries in the region for medical biotechnologists is strong and growing, said Linda Miller, Ph.D., who directs the new program. Citing a U.S. Department of Labor report, the number of jobs in biotechnology is projected to increase by 30 percent through 2010 in New York State, Miller said. This new degree program complements the bachelor’s and master’s degree in medical technology the college has offered for many years.

“Careers in medical biotechnology, whose focus is on research and development of pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, and biological agents, have become popular in academic and industrial settings,” Miller said.

Molecular biology, an integral part of the medical biotechnology curriculum, is the foundation of many different scientific disciplines, including biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, and immunology. Students in the medical biotechnology program will learn current molecular techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction), DNA isolation and gene transformation.

The program integrates traditional medical technology courses into a specialized biotechnology curriculum, and requires completion of two internships that may take place at research laboratories at SUNY Upstate’s College of Graduate Studies or at other labs in New York.

Graduates specializing in medical biotechnology work with a team of individuals who conduct medical research in academic and industrial settings. In university labs, they assist scientists by performing experiments that are part of a research study. There are hundreds of medical research projects being conducted at SUNY Upstate alone. In industrial labs they help develop and manufacture pharmaceutical drugs or vaccines. Both settings are involved in research designed to treat or prevent human diseases such as heart disease, cancer, AIDS, genetic disease and many others.

The five-semester, upper-division bachelor’s degree program will recruit students who already possess 60 semester hours of prerequisite courses. For primary recruitment, the college maintains active articulation agreements with several community colleges across the state. The Clinical Laboratory Science Department, under which the new medical biotechnology program is housed along with its long-established medical technology program seeks up to enroll 20 undergraduate students each fall, according to Miller.

For a new medical biotechnology program guide, contact the Clinical Laboratory Science Department at 315-464-4608 or e-mail Linda Miller at , or visit the College of Health Professions medical biotechnology program link at

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