Biotechnology on campus

Sofia RositaniReporter

Biotechnology is a very recently developed major at Southern, but the club was created in 2015 before the university started the program for the degree.

This club was originally formed for students who have an interest in synthetic biology.

“[The club focuses on] applied molecular biology, and molecular biology is studying how life works at the cellular level so what are cells made of,” said advisor of Biotechnology Club, Nicholas Edgington.

“They are made of DNA, protein, carbohydrates, and lipids. How does life work at that level, how does life work in general.”

In 2016, The Biotechnology club competed in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition in Boston, the largest gathering
for synthetic biology all over the world. There were 12 members of the club at the time of competition and they brought home a bronze medal for their research on a bacteria that detects tuberculosis: if the user had tuberculosis, the “breathalyzer” would turn blue.

“With applied molecular biology we are trying to better mankind- that can be pharmaceuticals, that can be improving agriculture to feed the world and can also be basic research like cancer research, health research,” said Edgington.

At Southern, there are only 23 biotechnology majors, so the club also consists of students in other majors, including biology, nursing, and computer science.

“I always liked science when I was younger, and I wanted to go into a field that I knew was expanding, doing new and innovative things. I always liked genetics,” said biotechnology major and secretary of the club, Marisa DeCiucis, “and I wanted to go into genetic research, and I felt like this would be a good way to do so.”

Even though the club is for learning and gaining knowledge of biotechnology, they also have fun in the process. Last year, the club went to the Bronx Zoo, and this year they plan to go to the New York Aquarium near Coney Island.

President of Biotechnology Club, Khusbu Patel, said she joined in her freshman year to get leadership experience for medical school admissions. She began as the club treasurer and worked her way up.

“I’m doing research and sometimes it involves [biotechnology] in my other classes,” she said. “Sometimes, like right now, I’m doing nanotechnology that has a lot of technology part of it, that’s why I like it.”

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