Biotechnologists study plants, animals and microorganisms. They use this knowledge to develop uses for biological processes, which could include creating products for pharmaceutical, agricultural, diagnostic and environmental use, and to advance industrial processes. Their work can incorporate the use of small molecule technologies, nanotechnology, bioinformatics and synthetic biology.

Biotechnologists may perform the following tasks:

  • study the genetic, chemical, physical and structural composition of cells, tissues and organisms
  • identify ways in which organisms and biological processes can be used to create new medicines, vaccines, foods, fuels and pharmaceutical products
  • develop diagnostic tools to rapidly detect diseases
  • use bacteria, enzymes and other organisms for a range of industrial purposes, including agricultural production, food production and waste removal
  • crossbreed animals and plants to encourage beneficial characteristics such as disease resistance, improved nutrition and accelerated environmental adaptation
  • conduct research and experiments in the fields of genetic modification and biomolecular engineering, which involves altering the genetic make-up of plants and animals
  • conduct human stem cell research with the aim of treating or preventing illnesses
  • use biological engineering processes to create biological products for commercial use, such as biomaterials, chemicals or fuels.