Biochemists and other research scientists who work in the field of biotechnology can expect better than average job growth between 2008 and 2018, according to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the work in this field is research-oriented and requires advanced degrees like a Ph.D. for employment. Finding the right research topic for a dissertation or research project can be done by simply looking at the major research trends in the field and developing your own niche within one of those research fields.
Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics
The closely related fields of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics are sub-fields within biotechnology that can yield fruitful results in biotechnology research. Pharmacogenetics explores the relationship between a person's genetic make-up and the way that this influences responses to various types of medicine. Research in this field, as suggested by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OEC), can focus on ways to use this knowledge for the purpose of improving public health and health policy. Pharmacogenomics is similar to pharmacogenetics, except that it focuses on the creation of new drugs using biotechnology.
The Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering suggests the field of agro-biotechnology for research as well. The Institute's research has focused on the study of medicinal plants and herbs. Types of research experiments can include studies in the rapid production (micropropagation) of genetically engineered plants and herbs that are used for medicinal purposes. The consequences for this type of research can be significant because the end result of the research could be the discovery of ways to genetically engineer and mass produce new plants and herbs that have medical uses.
Food Biotechnology Research
Another research field covered by the Institute is in the area of food biotechnology. This field is another that can have important implications for the entire human population. Food biotechnology research, according to the University of California at Davis, is the production of new plants and animals through genetic engineering for the purpose of food production. Genetic research in this field can involve the use of recombinant DNA (rDNA), a technique whereby scientists remove the genes that produce desirable traits in one species to another species, thereby fusing their genetic sequencing and producing entirely new species. Research in this field can produce nearly limitless results.