The field of genomics is transforming the field of biology and making an impact in the fields of oncology, pharmacology, and infectious disease. Together with molecular genetics (a branch of genetics that studies the structure and activity of genetic material at the molecular level), scientists are discovering the DNA blueprints of organisms and how their construction, regulation, and mutation contributes to human diseases.
Experts in the field of genomics and molecular genetics not only scrutinize the functioning and composition of a single gene, but also understand the interrelationships of genes to identify their combined influence on the growth and development of the organism. Students in the genomics and molecular genetics degree program at Florida Tech explore this scientific relationship, developing the knowledge to solve real-world problems like antibiotic-resistant bacteria and curing cancer.
Professors immediately immerse students in the field, with access to modern genetic, genomic, cellular, and molecular approaches to the study of biology. The curriculum establishes a solid foundation in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and mathematics, along with robust research projects.
The degree in genomics and molecular genetics program at Florida Tech concentrates on understanding the interactions between DNA, RNA, proteins in cells, and molecular genetics in an interdisciplinary field that reveals how life functions at both the molecular and organismal level.
Led by faculty mentors committed to hands-on learning experiences, students in the genomics and molecular genetics degree program undertake exciting independent or collaborative (with a peer or professor) research. By working in research labs alongside faculty, graduate students, and fellow undergraduates, students build valuable skills and a highly competitive résumé.
The pinnacle of the genomics and molecular genetics major is the senior laboratory experience, during which students conduct an intensive study in genetic engineering and nucleic acid analysis.
The degree in genomics and molecular genetics program at Florida Tech is an active, hands-on curriculum that gives students intensive study in the classroom and in the laboratory. Biology at Florida Tech is not only something you study—it’s something you do, in professor-led activities including determining how stress affects cellular processes, how plants talk to each other, and what determines how cells grow and divide.
Students learn from world-renowned faculty who enjoy working closely with students. Florida Tech’s small classes also encourage a learning environment that is one of mentorship. For curriculum and career planning, students have one faculty advisor who counsels them during the full four-year program in genomics and molecular genetics.
In addition, the research of Professor Michael Grace has earned worldwide attention through feature stories on the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, TLC, CNN, Discovery Canada, ABC News, National Public Radio, and National Geographic Magazine. The faculty conducts diverse research that spans many current topics in the field.
Cutting-edge tools are a critical component to completing research for a genomics and molecular genetics major. Florida Tech is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities in the F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building. This 70,000-square-foot teaching and research laboratory includes mass spectrometers, thermocyclers for PCR, electron microscopes, confocal microscopes, a greenhouse, an imaging laboratory, high-resolution microscopy, tissue culture labs and growth chambers, and all the equipment needed to analyze genes and proteins.
The university also has a newly built 29,000-square-foot Harris Center for Science and Engineering that serves the research needs many of the biology programs including small-scale culture of algae, shellfish, and fish species.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another molecular biology university that can compete with Florida Tech’s location. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us), minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America.
The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship and employment opportunities.
Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.
At Florida Tech, molecular genetics and genomics research is an integrated, high-tech, and thorough study program that prepares students for a research-based career in academia, pharmaceutical development, and biotechnology.
Internships train students using the same equipment and techniques they will find on the job once they’ve completed their studies. Recent internship opportunities have included:
The Biology department has an active faculty who involve students directly in research and internships at the start of their freshman year. Florida Tech faculty quickly integrate students into their research groups, which in turn means students can identify their area of specialty early on in their college career. Such research often results in scientific journal publications and research exchange with other universities involved in genomics and molecular genetics.
Professors may also invite students to take part in faculty research teams. These projects allow students to participate in high-level research opportunities while still an undergraduate. As research assistants, students’ work on real-life problems like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, cures for cancer, crime-scene analysis, and agriculture in space.
The professors in the molecular biology department conduct diverse research projects including:
The curriculum culminates in a senior laboratory experience. This program consists of 15 to 20 hours a week of hands-on laboratory time, where students gain experience using the current tools and techniques used by molecular biology researchers.
Molecular biology provides a wide range of career opportunity in areas such as genetic engineering, biotechnology, the human genome project, cell structure, bacteria resistance, and cancer research. Genomics and molecular genetics are continually growing fields that show no signs of slowing down. A BS in genomics and molecular biology from Florida Tech prepares students for graduate studies in a wide variety of areas (including medical school) or any one of many molecular biology careers.
A career in genomics might involve establishing genotypes, conducting diagnostic procedures to detect genetic diseases, or interpreting results from DNA tests. As a molecular genetics scientist, graduates will likely work in research centers, hospitals and laboratories. The job involves working as part of team, compiling, interpreting and presenting data, as well as using high-tech equipment.
Employers consistently recruit Florida Tech students for internships and employment. Graduates are well-prepared for entry-level positions as research scientists in a variety of industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical development, forensic science, biotechnology, genetics, food science and bioengineering. Biospace.comcites genomics and genetics as second of the top five in-demand science jobs for 2017, with an earnings potential of $140,000.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions, and job outlook, among other things. According to the Bureau, employment in biology fields is expected to grow as much as 20% through 2018, while genetics and genomics career fields are expected to grow a whopping 29% through 2024.
Careers for genomics and molecular genetics majors include:
After receiving a genomics and molecular genetics degree, many graduates enter a masters or doctoral program at Florida Tech or another prestigious university around the country.