Synthetic Biology PhD Programs

Sep 06, 2019

Synthetic Biology is a specific scientific field that focuses on aspects of biological engineering and educational institutions that offer postgraduate programs in this area may combine different courses to cover this specialty. With a Ph.D. in Synthetic Biology, persons can pursue careers in teaching and various scientific fields. This article will have an overview of the available Ph.D. programs as well as possible career options.

Available Ph.D. Programs in Synthetic Biology

Biological Engineering Ph.D. Program

This program will combine areas pertaining to biology as well as genetic engineering and can take up to five and a half years. As a result, synthetic biology and cell tissue biomechanics are generally included as courses in the program. To get into a Biological Engineering program, the candidate must have an undergraduate degree, reference letters and a passing score on the GRE exam.

BioPhysics Ph.D. Program

Programs of this nature focus on how physical and biological sciences work together. As a part of a BioPhysics program, students will take courses in synthetic biology, molecular genetics, and cell biophysics. The program generally takes five and a half years to complete. To gain entry into the program, prospective students must have an undergraduate degree in a physical science such as physics, chemistry or mathematics. The student will also need letters of recommendation.

Systems Biology Ph.D. Program

These programs generally take five years to complete and focus on integrating biological sciences with statistical systems. Programs of this nature include courses in gene regulation, immunology, and data mining. To be eligible for these programs, the prospective student must have an undergraduate degree in a scientific field and pass the GRE test. The student will also need letters of recommendation.

Information about the Career Options for a Ph.D. in Synthetic Biology

New Product Development Scientist - Cell Biology

A new product development scientist with a Ph.D. in synthetic biology will focus on gene-editing technology that can bring new products to the market. In this role, the scientist will work with the company's Research and Development team to carry out experiments and develop the relevant techniques for the company's product line. A product development scientist will be required to work in a laboratory and keep abreast of changing technologies related to their field.

Engineered Cells Development Scientist

In this position, cell engineering is a key factor in implementing product improvement processes. Individuals would be required to use standard scientific methods to design and carry out genetic edits to the cells they are working with. A Ph.D. in synthetic biology includes courses that adequately prepare scientists to carry out these functions.

DNA Synthetic/Molecular Biologist

This particular role delves into the genetic engineering of DNA. Candidates in this position will collaborate with a Research and Development team to build to establish the most relevant testing methods. They will also develop experiments that will be helpful to the development of new products and analyze the data the experiments generate. With a Ph.D. in synthetic biology, the candidate would have learned important skills in genetic engineering as well as data analysis.

Postdoctoral Fellow

A postdoctoral fellow generally works with a university or college in a science-based department that is relevant to their field of study. In this role, the candidate will work with other departments in order to carry projects to fruition. In the field of synthetic biology, these projects will likely focus on cell genetics and the editing of microbial genetic material. Postdoctoral fellows will also be required to train undergraduate and graduate students. While candidates for this position will benefit from having being published, having a Ph.D. in synthetic biology will meet the major requirements for this career.

Research Scientist

As a research scientist, the candidate will be expected to apply standard research techniques to carry out the project to which they have been assigned. The role requires cell manipulation on a genetic level in a laboratory environment and the candidate must have the ability to present their findings in a concise and efficient manner. The courses in a Ph.D. program will generally cover the aspects that are required for this role so the candidate can be effective.

Assistant Professor

Since this is a teaching position, the candidate would be employed at a college or university. An assistant professor will work with other scientific departments to develop content and teach students who are enrolled in programs specific to the field of synthetic biology. For this role, a Ph.D. in synthetic biology will give the candidate the requisite information basis to fulfill this role in combination with training in effective teaching methods.

The Ph.D. programs available for synthetic biology can also include other interesting topics such as statistics and data analysis and can lead to a number of careers in the areas of science and teaching. As long as persons satisfy the requirements needed to get into the programs of interest, they have quite a few professional options to pursue.

Job Title Median Salary* Job Growth (2018 - 2028)*
New Product Development Scientist - Cell Biology $93,280 6%
Engineered Cells Development Scientist $104,660 6%
DNA Synthetic/ Molecular Biologist $104,660 6%
Postdoctoral Fellow - Synthetic Biology $78,470 11%
Research Scientist - Cell Engineering $104,660 6%
Assistant Professor $78,470 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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