Gujarat Biotechnology University- Syllabus Design Approach

M.Sc. by Research (Biotechnology) programme introduction

Gujarat Biotechnology University offers an MSc by Research (Biotechnology) programme. From day one, students will focus on product or process development. Over five terms of four months each, the programme will still be completed over two years similar to traditional MSc programmes, but the innovative curriculum will focus exclusively on practical training. Students will spend 50%, 75% and 100% of their time in the laboratories in third, fourth and fifth terms respectively. This research-based training is combined with a solid foundation in IT and quantitative skills, independent learning and study habits, communication, critical thinking and leadership, as well as ethics. This collaborative teaching approach will equip graduates with the skills to deliver solutions that havetangible societal impact. Students will graduate with the entrepreneurial initiative to make a difference to local communities. There are five MSc biotechnology programmes available

There are five MSc biotechnology programmes available

Five subject domains are identified for M. Sc. by Research programs
  1. Plant Biotechnology
  2. Animal Biotechnology
  3. Medical Biotechnology
  4. Industrial Biotechnology
  5. Environmental Biotechnology

The M.Sc. programme structure

Year 1, Term1 (Y1T1) - the foundation:

Self-belief and robust knowledge are crucial attributes of innovators. Confidence and insight stem from the ability to think independently and critically, enabled by conceptual Y1S1 courses including: Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering, Biochemistry, Genetics, Bioinformatics and Genomics etc., and more specialist courses. Another essential skill for innovators is training in leadership and business skills. The foundation for developing these will be laid in this semester. Course material will be learned in complementary formats, e.g. lectures, practical exercises, case studies, journal clubs, together aimed at promoting the student’s ability for independent and critical learning. Students will spend 60-70% of their time in Semester 1 on conceptual courses. These will be complemented by ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ lab courses, aimed at developing confidence in the use of practical techniques, including: General laboratory skills, Molecular Biology, Genetics and Microbiology, software use and coding, Cell Biology and Microscopy, etc. When the students have completed these practical courses, they will be able to independently: design and perform simple molecular cloning; express and analyse proteins; isolate, qualitatively analyse and quantify DNA and RNA; genotype biological material (bacteria, plants, insects and other animals), grow bacterial, plant and animal cells and write simple programs. Students will also have a basic understanding of business, financing, budgeting, IP regulation and ethics. Students will spend 30-40% of their time in term 1 on practical courses.

Year 1, Term 2 (Y1T2) - the beginning of specialisation:

Successful innovators need advanced knowledge of cutting-edge technologies. In Y1T2 the student will spend 50% on gainingconceptual knowledge and an equal time on course specific practicals on advanced technologies such as: Fermentation, downstream processing and protein engineering; Molecular and Synthetic Biology; Microbiology; Drug discovery, Bio-business, Bioinformatics. The courses will be delivered in a similar format as Y1T1. Students having completed this advanced practical training will be proficient in fermentation technology and its scale-up; genetic engineering for model and non-model organisms; automation and metabolic engineering; Next Generation Sequencing and data analysis; Proteomics and downstream analysis; Drug discovery, generation of small molecule and protein-based therapeutics. Advanced knowledge in Bio-business will equip the student with the ability to identify niche opportunities through market analysis. At the end of the Y1T2, students will have acquired advanced abilities in independent and critical thinking, team work, generating and testing a hypothesis, efficient experimental design, problem solving, interpreting results and presentation to scientific and non-scientific audiences.

Year 1, Summer Term (Y1ST) -independent project:

In preparation for taking ownership of the conceptual design of their final year dissertation and independent lab work, students will design small projects (typically 8 weeks) and work on them either at Gujarat Biotechnology University, Industry or other research institutes. Students may also apply for competitive fellowships from external funding sources for these projects. Students who will have completed these projects will have gained experience and confidence in independent experimental design, technical skills, critical thinking, problem solving and writing research proposals.

Year 2, Term 3 (Y2T3) - subject specific proficiency:

Advanced and specialist subject-specific knowledge is vital for employability and for developing successful entrepreneurial ventures. In this semester students will spend 15-20% of their time on gaining factual and specialist practical knowledge through choice from a palette of elective courses such as nanobiotechnology, technology transfer, biomanufacturing, 3D printing, automation, and enhancing their future employability through online workshop and tutorials. Some of the practical knowledge for these courses will be acquired through field trips and industry visits. By the end of S3 Students will have developed advanced knowledge in these cutting-edge technologies as wells as skills in successful CV writing, interviewing for jobs and networking with peers and professionals. The remainder of the time (80-85%) will be used to prepare and initiate their final practical dissertation project

Year 2, Term 4 (Y2T4); dissertation project (minimum 9 months):

The main focus will be on the students’dissertation project, either in collaboration with an industry or research institute. During this period they will also participate in Journal Clubs to continuously enhance their discipline-specific knowledge and participate in regular meetings with their academic mentor.

Year 2, Summer Term (Y1ST); Dissertation writing and defence, symposium and graduation:

In this period, students will write their dissertation and reflect on the opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship (‘product’ development) they have generated. After an academic assessment of their work, they have the opportunity to participate in an innovation symposium and job fair with business where they can present their work and enrich the emergent innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Gujarat and India.

The graduation ceremonies will coincide with the start of the new year’s cohort and we encourage graduates to engage and inspire the newly arrived cohort.

Courses are designed in such a way that the students will have ample opportunities to develop skills in specialist biotechnology product areas. The expectation is that on completion of the programme, the students will have completed one iteration of product development cycle excluding trials/regulatory work.

PhD Programmes

PhD programmes will start upon the opening ofGujarat Biotechnology University. Enrolled students will pursue translational research problems in their field of interest.

Subject/ Object based learning

An interdisciplinary hybrid learning approach where students will learn how to apply object or tools from biotechnology domain such as biochips, gene editing, synthetic biology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, cell and molecular biotechnology to solve problems for living subjects -humans, microbes, animals and plants.

Student Developmental Paths

One size doesn’t fit all, so there are a variety of paths for Gujarat Biotechnology University’s MSc graduates.

Project Basket

A range of projects will be created and there will be changes in ideas and ambition of the students during the progress of the programme/project and this will be factored in. Business development may not be a part of the syllabus; however, interested students will be encouraged to seek mentorship from business development unit to further their ambitions.