What is Molecular Biotechnology?

In its broadest sense, molecular biotechnology is the use of laboratory techniques to study and modify nucleic acids and proteins for applications in areas such as human and animal health, agriculture, and the environment.  Molecular biotechnology results from the convergence of many areas of research, such as molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, genetics, and cell biology.  It is an exciting field fueled by the ability to transfer genetic information between organisms with the goal of understanding important biological processes or creating a useful product.  The completion of the human genome project has opened a myriad of opportunities to create new medicines and treatments, as well as approaches to improve existing medicines.   Molecular biotechnology is a rapidly changing and dynamic field.  As the pace of advances accelerates, its influence will increase.  The importance and impact of molecular biotechnology is being felt across the nation.Student working on research in the lab.

Why study Molecular Biotechnology?
Molecular biotechnology is exciting!  The tools of molecular biotechnology can be applied to develop and improve drugs, vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic tests that will improve human and animal health.  Molecular biotechnology has applications in plant and animal agriculture, aquaculture, chemical and textile manufacturing, forestry, and food processing. Every aspect of our lives in the coming decades will be affected by this dynamic field.

Molecular Biotechnology provides excellent employment opportunities. Biomedicine and biotechnology have been identified by Presidential and Congressional commissions as leading growth sectors of the American and world economies in the 21st century.  It has been predicted that the biotechnology sector will add over 100,000 new jobs in the coming years.  The U.S. Department of Labor states that significant workforce supply and demand gaps already exist across the country, and that this shortage extends across all levels of education.  As the impact of molecular biotechnology on our lives expands, the need for individuals with the knowledge and experience base for technical and leadership positions in various bioscience/biotechnology-oriented settings will continue to grow.

Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Kansas
The University of Kansas Medical Center is a major research institution serving the State of Kansas, as well as the nation and the world, and is a leader in the discovery of new knowledge and the development of programs in research, education, and patient care. 

The innovative Master of Science in Molecular Biotechnology program is designed to meet the needs of the growing biosciences community by specifically targeting Masters level education.  The Master of Science in Molecular Biotechnology program provides broad-based training and experience in bioscience and biotechnology. The program faculty possess advanced degrees in specializations that are directly associated with molecular biotechnologies and the application of those technologies.

The intensive core curriculum includes biochemistry, molecular genetics, cell structure, cell signaling, research ethics, radiation safety, and current issues in biotechnology.  Additionally, students complete laboratory coursework in a broad range of nucleic acid- and protein-based molecular technologies.

In lieu of thesis-oriented research, students perform practica in biotechnology research and development settings. These practica provide the students with extensive hands-on experience in a broad range of molecular biotechnologies as well as day-to-day real-life experience in bioscience research and development sectors. The density of bioscience research and development institutions and industries in the Kansas City metropolitan region makes KUMC a particularly good place to study molecular biotechnology.


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University's programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785) 864-6414, 711 TTY.

Last modified: Jan 10, 2013
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