What is Biotechnology Engineering
Biotechnology Engineering is a broad field that utilizes engineering tools and is characterized by a groundbreaking way of thinking, resulting in the transformation and advancement of the life sciences discipline to the development of applications that benefit humankind and the environment. Early on, with the production of penicillin or insulin, and up until recent years, the field has paved the way for groundbreaking medical treatments, the development of biological sensors, controlled release drug delivery, growth of organs in the laboratory and use of engineered DNA codes (synthetic biology) to activate or to put a stop to various mechanisms in animals. The field has also become fundamental for sustainability and the creation of alternative energy; for example, for creating alternative fuels or using engineered enzymes to generate electrical energy. The field of biotechnology is also responsible for most significant global changes in the food-industry, which includes the production of meat and milk substitutes for which the source is not the animal, but rather a process of growing cells in bioreactors. In the near future, this field is expected to change the traditional food industries and thus, lead us towards sustainable and more proper utilization of natural resources in our world.
What is Food Engineering
Food engineering is a unique discipline that combines knowledge from the fields of chemistry, biology, food science, nutrition, and health sciences, along with important principles from the fields of engineering and technology, in order to facilitate the production of food that is safe, available, nutritious and of proper quality.
Food engineering is the basis for the developments occurring in the world of food technology, which is one of the current growth engines of the Israeli economy. The industry is currently undergoing a revolution (the Food Tech revolution), which includes the development and use of advanced technologies, the development of alternative food sources (e.g., protein and vegetable fat substitutes), cultured meat, the production of alternative ingredients with the use of microorganisms, microbiome, functional foods, customized nutrition, and the discovery of innovative and sustainable solutions for life in the modern world.
Why Choose the Technion
The Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering is the only one of its kind in Israel that trains engineers and researchers in two fields: the field of biotechnology and the field of food science. The faculty offers five innovative specializations in the fields of biotech and food tech.
- Specialization in Applied Biotechnology
- Specialization in Medical Biotechnology
- Specialization in Computational Biotechnology
- Specialization in Innovation and Sustainability in Food Engineering
- Specialization in Food Engineering and Health
The curriculum and research areas in the faculty constitute a unique fusion between areas of technological engineering and areas in the natural and life sciences. This fusion between biotechnology and food is based on the focus on biological material, which is common to the two areas and is the shared basis for the core courses in engineering and technology.
Career Options and Job Opportunities
The curriculum prepares researchers and engineers to hold diverse positions in the food industry – an industry that combines high-tech and biotech (Food Tech) – and in industries that are based on various biotechnological and biochemical processes. Graduates of the faculty are leaders in the establishment of start-up companies in the biotech and food tech fields, and hold a variety of positions in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, universities and research institutes in various fields of life sciences and environmental engineering, regulatory institutions, institutions involved in the regulation of the food industry and biotechnology, planning and consulting companies, and organizations that are involved in environmental issues, and more.
The curriculum is based on the following three areas:
- Biotechnology: microbiology, biotechnology, biotechnology engineering, molecular biotechnology (genetic engineering).
- Engineering and Technology: principles of biotechnology and food engineering, thermodynamics, and structure and properties of food and biological materials.
- Life Sciences and Food Sciences: biology, biochemistry, food chemistry, nutrition, and nanotechnologies in biotechnology and food.
These fields form the core of the curriculum in the faculty and are common across all students in the program. During the program, students experience working in a variety of innovative laboratories in the faculty, participate in industry tours, and meet with visiting experts from Israel and abroad.
Specialization Study Tracks
After approximately two years of taking core classes in engineering and science, students will choose two of the five specialization study tracks. Each of the specializations combine theory courses with practical experience and research. The core theoretical cluster is conveying the basic knowledge for the field, and the research and know-how cluster focuses on current technologies in a variety of topics and provides hands-on experience at the forefront of the field. Excelling students will also be offered the opportunity to conduct research in the research laboratories of the faculty members.
Focus: The Applied Biotechnology track focuses on cellular and molecular technologies serving research and industry. The innovative study program will qualify the graduates of this track for research and development positions in diverse fields of molecular engineering and biotechnology. Among other things, the student will learn to apply and integrate bio-synthetic microbial processes for the development of sensing systems, engineered tissues and organs, advanced biological drugs, and alternative fuels, and materials needed for the various biotechnology, pharmacology, cosmetics and biocatalytic industries.
Focus: The Medical Biotechnology track focuses on the development of advanced multidisciplinary technologies aimed at diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases in the age of precise and personalized medicine. The program will equip students in the core theoretical cluster, with advanced science and engineering skills, followed by practical experience in advanced methods and technologies. The acquired skills will enable graduates to integrate and lead research, development, and innovation in the fields of drug transport, diagnostics, medical technologies, etc.
Focus: In recent years the volume of biological and medical information and the need to analyze such data efficiently is becoming relevant for biotechnology and food engineers. The track for Quantitative Biotechnology will focus on providing the computational tools for data analysis. These tools will include classical computational methods, as well as approaches of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The track is offering a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical know-how in the use of computational tools.
Innovation and Sustainability in Food Engineering
Focus: The fast increase of the world-population, global warming, and increasing ecological damage, pose many challenges and opportunities for the ongoing supply of enough diverse and safe high-quality food. To maintain the sustainability of the world in general and the food sector in particular, biotechnology and food engineers need a diverse education in food science and engineering, health, entrepreneurship, management, and economics to develop creative and innovative solutions in the Food-Tech world. This track will provide students with diverse knowledge and practical skills in engineering technologies, advanced topics in food science, the environment, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation.
Food Engineering and Health
Focus: One of the most important trends in the world of food engineering is the development of foods with health-promoting values that address the needs of different populations. Creating custom food requires an in-depth understanding of the connections between food processing, the composition and properties of food and their impact on human health at all stages of life. This track will provide students with diverse knowledge and practical skills in food engineering and health, combined with advanced topics in nutrition and the connections between them.
Rimonim Program – A Program for Outstanding Students
The Rimonim Excellence Program, established by the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, is designed to foster excellence in the faculty and provide exceptionally qualified students with the proper conditions and support to enable them to fulfill their potential so that they can be the next generation of scientists and engineers in the field of biotechnology and food engineering. The program, led by Professor Avi Shpigelman, includes approximately 15 students from the second-, third-, and fourth-year, who have demonstrated exceptional achievement. In the previous admission cycle, students with a cumulative average of ∼90 or above were accepted into the program.
Students in the program receive individual guidance from faculty members, funding to participate in scientific conferences in Israel, as well as priority and assistance in finding advisors for the final undergraduate research project in the faculty or participation in the iGEM or EIT FOOD projects. In addition, graduates of the Rimonim program who choose to pursue graduate studies in the faculty will receive an additional scholarship during the first year of their graduate studies, funding for participating in an international conference (up to $1000) and priority registration for advanced courses and relative priority for teaching assistant positions in the faculty.
Graduates about the Faculty
What do students learn in the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering in the Technion
Lior and Ilana, graduates of the faculty, share their academic and social life experiences in the faculty.
Anton Slavkin – Food Technologist at Strauss
Dr. Eleanor Raz, the Director of Research and Development at General Bio-Technology