Biotechnology focuses on the use of a wide range of biological processes to advance technology and solve a variety of problems. People who work in biotechnology harness living organisms, biological systems and processes to achieve a particular outcome.
A biotechnology engineer might work on…
- Creating new antibiotics to treat infections
- Developing new types of biofuel
- Testing the efficacy of new drugs
- Studying how biological systems can be used in other industries
Biotechnology engineers can specialise in a variety of different fields - so whether you’re interested in marine biology, medicine, agriculture, plants or the environment, you’re sure to find a career in biotechnology incredibly interesting!
Biomedical engineering is all about finding solutions to specific medical problems. Recent years have been a testament to how rapidly the world of medicine needs to advance in order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of viruses and disease.
Biomedical engineers are at the forefront of this battle, engineering new drugs, treatments and medical devices to give people a better quality of life. Here are some of the things a biomedical engineer might specialise in:
- Finding ways to heal damaged organs
- Creating innovative drugs and treatments
- Developing new prosthetics
- Analysing new diseases and viruses
This is a great field to get into if you want to focus on developing new approaches to health challenges and making people better!
What are they key differences?
So what are the key differences between these two fields? There are a few differences to consider if you’re trying to decide whether to study biotechnology or biomedical engineering.
- Biotechnology is concerned with life science and creates products that can be used within the agricultural, food and medical industries. Biomedical engineering is concerned with the medical industry and finding solutions to problems affecting human health.
- Biotechnology is an applied biological science that uses chemistry to create new biological products. Biomedical engineering draws on engineering principles but applies them to medicine.
- Biotechnology harnesses predominantly organic systems and biology to create solutions to problems. Biomedical engineering does this as well, but also uses inorganic materials to advance medical technology.
- Biomedical engineering looks to diagnose, manage, treat, prevent and mitigate the impact of disease or disability on the general population. Biotechnology has a broader application and can tackle anything from genetic modifications, waste disposal, environmental impacts and more.
Will the content of these university courses be different?
Absolutely. If you choose to study either biotechnology or biomedical engineering at university, you will find that the course content differs quite significantly.
Biotechnology courses will have a much stronger focus on molecular biology and its applications in the real world, while biomedical engineering courses will focus heavily on areas such as physiology, medicine, neurology, haematology and more.
The right course for you will depend on your interests and the career path you’d like to take once you’ve graduated. To help you get an idea of what types of careers you can go into, we’ve listed a few potential career paths for each industry below.