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Bioremediation

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Soft skills have always been rated on the first priority of an employer, be it any kind of industry. Soft skills generally focus on the interpersonal skills of an individual but these days employers are more focusing on the term “Cultural Skills” and they found a huge gap in the preparedness of the upcoming workforce.

Cultural Skills focus on working in a group or team setting, demonstrating leadership qualities and recognizing an individual’s role in the organization. Research shows that companies coming for recruitment specifically looking for this kind of soft skills in the new recruitments. Recruiters mention that they can find skillful candidates but they are looking for a “Cultural –Fit” – someone who can seamlessly transition into the company and work with fellow colleagues.

A Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that supports science and biotechnology education, released its 2018 Job Trends Forecast for the Life Science Industry in Massachusetts, presented at the Life Science Workforce 2018 Conference, hosted at Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC). The report highlighted another year of growth in the biotechnology sector, predicting approximately 12,000 new biotech jobs by 2023. But, interestingly, the conference also highlighted a large gap in the preparedness of the workforce – a lack of “cultural training” among new applicants.  (Education, 2019).

Biotechnology jobs require a lot of hard skills just to get into a specific job. Whether it is scientific skills, research skills, technological skills – these skills are always a prerequisite. But apart from that, there are certain skills which are required essentially if someone is looking for some advancement.

Soft skills are such skills that cannot be taught rather they need to be learned gradually and these skills help to make all the difference down the road. Everyone knows this fact, yet ignores it and later realizes that it is true somewhere down in their career. Following are a few soft skills which an individual needs to focus on further advancements:

  • Find the edge of your comfort
  • Turn theory into practice, practice into performance
  • Review the tapes
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity of thought
  • Complex problem solving
  • Time management
  • Communication

Soft skills are really the skills that deal with people. Don’t forget that it’s people that run industries.

Biotechnology is an area of advanced research. Benefits of biotechnology can also be seen in medical institutions. This field in biology is extensively used in pharmaceutical products and medicines, human therapy, engineering, science and technology, agriculture and many more. Gene therapy is the most successful result of biotechnology research use to cure aids and cancer. It is proven to be a great solution to mankind struggles by considering cell biology as an important research area.

Cell biology provides us an understanding of how a cell works, from bacteria to mammalian cell. Cell division is crucial in Biotechnological studies when monitoring growth of Cancer cells for therapeutic purposes. This field is becoming increasingly important in efforts to better understand complex biological behaviors.

The eukaryotic cell division is a complex phenomenon comprising of two key events, duplication of the entire genome and equal segregation of the duplicated genome into two daughter cells. These events are highly regulated so that replication occurs only once per cell cycle which is further essential so as to restore the genomic integrity of cells and prevent uncontrolled cell growth (Cancer). Deregulation of replication factors leading to loss of genomic integrity is seen in many cancers. Role of micro-RNAs in the regulation of DNA replication and cell cycle, indirectly in cancer, is being explored by various research groups worldwide.

MicroRNAs are a class of endogenous small non-coding RNAs with 20–25 nucleotides in length. These miRNAs are present ubiquitously in animals, plants, and viruses, suggesting that miRNAs may be of significant evolutionary importance. By down-regulating gene expression post transcriptionally, miRNAs play important roles in nearly all biological processes, such as developmental timing, cell proliferation, apoptosis, stem cell maintenance, differentiation, signal pathway, and pathogenesis including carcinogenesis.

The number of individual miRNAs expressed in different organisms is comparable to those of transcription factors or RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), and many are expressed in a tissue-specific or developmental stage-specific manner, thereby greatly contributing to cell-type-specific profiles of protein expression. The nature of miRNA interactions with their mRNA targets or say putative protein targets, which involve short sequence signatures, makes them well suited for combinatorial effects with other miRNAs or RBPs that associate with the same mRNA. With the potential to target dozens or even hundreds of different mRNAs, individual miRNAs can coordinate the over-expression of proteins in a cell hence leading to control cellular growth and giving cancer a better treatment approach.

Biotechnology has given rise to biofuel. The use of limited resources has forced us to think about the optimum utility of renewable resources for human consumption across the globe. Biodiesel is one such fuel that illustrates the importance of a renewable source of energy. Biodiesel is an alternative renewable fuel that is produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, spent frying oils and microbial oils.  Greases and Jatropha are also sources of biodiesel and constitute non-edible sources.

A major challenge in using non-edible sources, however, props up in the form of utilization of large scale land, which can cause scarcity of agricultural land for edible crops. To circumvent this problem, microalgae have been used to create biodiesel. Microalgae have high photosynthetic efficiency and can grow in diverse environmental conditions that include high salinity, toxic metal content, presence of toxicants and high CO2 concentration.

Moreover, microalgae can grow in non-arable lands like sea coasts and deserts. The growth of microalgae in water is controllable and non-potable water can also be used. Most microalgae like Scenedesmus and Chlorella have short life cycles, usually less than 24 hours and they have high oil productivity per hectare. Many species of microalgae have been identified to be sources of renewable fuel. Groups from diverse parts have engaged in the development of renewable fuel.

It has been seen that the addition of iron to growth medium under nitrate limitation was found to enhance the crude lipid content of Chlorella to 56.6%. Biodiesel is produced by the synthesis of fatty acid methyl esters – FAME, that involves a transesterification reaction between fatty acid and alcohol.

This step is known to be economical but generates industrial waste that is a hazard.  In this method, pre-extraction is carried out of the oil from the raw material. Nowadays, In situ transesterification has been developed as in this method the pre-extraction and esterification are combined in a single step. The production of industrial waste is countered in this method. Thus, with research and innovation in biotechnology, humans are better equipped to face the challenges of the future.

The advent of biotechnology is prominent. Gone are the winds of insipid excitement and permanent are the forces of renovation that contain historic achievements. The use of microbes that have inhabited the earth for millions of years, for bioremedial techniques illustrates the fact that natural history paves a way for present development. Bioremediation of toxic metals from groundwater is an advantage that biotechnology has provided for human health. Arsenic is a toxic metal that can be removed from water by arsenic oxidizing bacteria. The bacteria are used for oxidation of Arsenite As(III) to As(V), that can be easily separated from the water. Many heterotrophic bacteria oxidize As(III)  to detoxify their immediate environment. On the contrary, some bacteria behave as agents that use As(III) as electron donors. Various molecular markers have been identified to recognize bacteria with potential arsenic oxidizing activity such as 16s rRNA, aioA, arsB and others. By oxidizing the more toxic Arsenic As (III) to less toxic As(V) and concomitantly gaining energy, such bacteria have an appreciable ecological advantage over their counterparts. The As oxidase gene has been characterized by bacteria. A study has confirmed that the As oxidase gene is a very ancient gene. In certain ways, Arra and As oxidase have been found to be similar.

Classical technologies are efficient in removal of  As(V) but not As(III). There are also cost intensive. Here Biotechnology counters the problem. Biocolumn reactors with immobilised bacterial cells have been used. A novel cost effective biocomposite- granules of cement coated with cysts of certain cyanobacteria has been studied The composite has been proven to remove 96% arsenic. Many such biocolumns or devices have been made that harness the ability of bacteria to remove As(III) and As(V). The efficiency of these has been very high. Thus techniques of biotechnology have been effectively used to clean drinking water from arsenic. Similar approaches have been taken for remediation of other toxic metals like cadmium, excessive Iron and others. Biotechnology is critically involved in the maintenance of human health.