BABS offers the following four majors as part of any Science Undergraduate Degree program.
Biotechnology can be defined as the use of various biological processes to make products and perform services. Biotechnology is used for the production of food, industrial chemicals, development of improved crops and livestock for farming, environmental clean-up, forensics and the production of pharmaceuticals. Biopharmaceuticals include hormones, vaccines, anti-hypertensive agents, anti-inflammatory agents and new therapies for the treatment of cancer. Modern biotechnology makes practical use of the most recent scientific advances in molecular genetics and molecular cell biology. The sequencing of the human genome and the rapid emergence of high-throughput genomic and proteomic techniques has resulted in a surge of new drug targets.
The world's ability to cope with many environmental, agricultural, manufacturing and medical problems in the 21st century will depend heavily on advances in biotechnology. Bioprocesses are used for environmental remediation, extraction of minerals from low-grade ores, and development of novel processes to treat waste and degrade recalcitrant molecules.
NB: Biotechnology can be also studied as a 4-year specialised Degree
Genetics is the study of the behaviour of the genes that are fundamental to all living organisms. In humans and all other species, genes influence every characteristic, from chemistry to appearance to behaviour to disease. Because genes affect every characteristic of every organism, each new development in genetics has had far-reaching consequences. The combination of molecular and more traditional genetics has allowed the solving of problems ranging from molecular genetics to human disease, plant breeding, microbiology, and conservation biology.
The BABS genetics major offers a general introduction to the discipline during the first years of study and then allows students to diversify into the more specialised areas of genetics, including molecular genetics, human genetics, plant and microbial molecular biology and conservation biology. The study of genetics has taken a more computer/systems approach and the major has a significant focus in this discipline integration of these approaches at the cellular, whole organism and population levels.
Microbiology is the scientific study of the smallest forms of life namely, bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi and protozoa. These fascinating organisms impact on our lives in many ways. On the negative side, they cause disease in humans, animals and plants, and they spoil our food. However, microorganisms are also of great benefit, they are the key participants for the turnover of nutrients and elements and they are the main producers of carbon and biomass. They turn the biological wheels on Earth and are responsible for the sustainability of life. They also contribute to a better environment via recycling of organic wastes, maintenance of soil fertility and biodegradation of pollutants. Many foodstuffs, beverages, pharmaceuticals and other products of biotechnology are products of microbial action. The genetic engineering of microorganisms is a fundamental aspect of molecular biology and the way of the future.
Molecular and cell biology
Recent advances in molecular cellular biology, especially the continuing development of recombinant DNA technology, have revolutionised our understanding of the structure, function and regulation of individual genes. Cell biology is the subdiscipline of biology that studies the basic unit of life, the cell, including cell anatomy, cell division, and cell processes such as cell respiration and cell death.
Molecular Biology is a marriage of biochemistry, microbiology and cell biology, and will have an increasingly important role to play in many aspects of modern medicine, genetics, evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, biotechnology and genomics. Molecular Biology has made extensive contributions to the fields of medical DNA analysis, immunology, tissue transplantation, environmental monitoring and many other diverse areas affecting daily life and health.