What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is the science and technology of using living things for our benefit.

The origins of biotechnology precede science in the breeding of crop plants and domestic animals and the fermentation of foodstuffs such as the making of bread, cheese, beer and wine.

Exciting new discoveries are resulting in solutions to many of the problems facing us in the next millennium:

  • cleaning up pollution - microbes that remove oil spills or clean contaminated soil
  • development of new drugs and medical treatments
  • diagnosis of diseases and detection of toxic compounds
  • increasing food production.

Recent rapid advances in genetic engineering, protein engineering, cell culture and molecular biology have generated a virtually unlimited potential for altering the capabilities of living systems, greatly expanding the scope of biotechnology, generating new applications for biological products and allowing an unprecedented ability to control life processes.


We were established in 1991, thus making our Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours) award one of the first specialized Biotechnology awards available in Australia. Subsequently a combined degrees program in Biotechnology/Law and a Masters program have been introduced.

What do we do?

We provide education and research in biotechnology directed towards distinct economic, health and social objectives.

Teaching programs are run jointly by the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Medicine. This gives a unique multidisciplinary structure, with participation from experts in a wide range of fields.

We are active in a number of research areas as part of the School of Medicine and Flinders Medical Centre.

The Department of Medical Biotechnology is comprised of academic, research and technical staff , as well as students undertaking research projects. It is located in the School of Medicine in the Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia.