What’s old is new again
Biotechnology is considered the new industrial frontier. Yet we’ve been practicing it for as long as we’ve been baking bread and enjoying cheese and beer.
Today, we continue to capitalize on nature’s toolbox to enrich our lives, whether we are harnessing cellular processes to create new medicines, using biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or developing food with enhanced nutrients.
Recent biotechnological advances are addressing our world’s most pressing challenges of health, food production, and environmental sustainability. Every day, scientists come closer to even more breakthroughs that help us to live longer and healthier lives.
Our interdisciplinary biotechnology program combines advanced training in biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, and pharmaceutical sciences with critical business skills to bring you to the forefront of discovery and innovation.
Introduces selected key skills and techniques central to life sciences research. Laboratory exercises highlight the importance of precision/accuracy in dispensation of liquids and in the preparation of solutions and standards, documentation and record keeping, and maintaining a safe and sterile work environment while performing scientific research.
Introduces the uses of molecular biology in a biotechnology setting, including state-of-the-art molecular biology applications such as: stability and expression of cloned gene products, gene cloning strategies, transgenic species, mutation creation and analysis, DNA fingerprinting, PCR technology, microarray technology, gene probes, gene targeting, gene therapy, stem cell technology, antisense RNA, CAR T-cell therapy, RNA interference, and CRISPR/Cas9.
Covers the development and implementation of the drug product manufacturing process for biopharmaceuticals. Topics include the preformulation process for early stage product development, the selection of formulation compatible with the targeted product presentation, optimization of formulations to meet stability and usage objectives, the design of a scalable process for production, large-scale process equipment and operations, process scale-up considerations, and regulatory compliance issues for drug product manufacturing facilities and operations.
*Prerequisite Courses for MS in Biotechnology
Applicants are required to have completed at least one undergraduate-level course in biochemistry, organic chemistry, and/or molecular biology/genetics/physiology.
It is also highly recommended that applicants complete at least one course in college-level calculus and one course in statistics.Review the Catalog
14% expected national growth in graduate-level biotechnology job postings by 2022 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Fall – Rolling Admissions
- 6/1 International
- 7/15 International F1
- 8/1 Domestic
- 10/1 International
- 12/1 Domestic
- Agricultural Biotechnology Concentration
- Biodefense Concentration
- Biopharmaceutical Analytical Sciences
- Biotechnology Enterprise
- Manufacturing and Quality Operations
- Molecular Biotechnology
- Pharmaceutical Technologies
- Process Science
- Regulatory Science
- Scientific Information Management
Real World Industry Experience
Northeastern’s biotechnology students benefit from Northeastern’s extensive network of industry partners in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and around the globe. Masters degree students complete either a 3-6 month co-op work experience or participate in an industry-based independent project, providing an invaluable opportunity to gain professional training within the commercial sector.Learn More About Co-Op
When COVID-19 emerged as global threat, it demanded action. The Northeastern College of Science heard the call.
A fleet of professors, researchers, technicians, staff, and students overnight became mobilized to fight on the front lines of science. Together, and in every discipline of science, they were able to make significant contributions to the collective good: developing epidemic models, serving as advisors to local and national government, studying the structure of the virus, assisting with contact tracing, developing systems for on-campus testing, and more. Even as pandemic continues, so does their work.
Thanks to [email protected]‘s exceptional team of journalists and photographers, we are now able to present a retrospective of their work, through the first six months of COVID-19.
| March 2, 2020
Research from the Network Science Institute uses mathematical equations to track how “social contagions” spread. This data shows how to follow false news and rumors about COVID-19, and why gossip spreads like a disease itself.
Featuring: Jessica Davis (PhD student), Alessandro Vespignani
Topics: Mathematics, Network Science
| March 6, 2020
The Network Science Institute published a study showing that closing boarders and travel bans might slow the spread of COVID-19, but will not stop the spread. Their study used Wuhan travel bans as an example for America
| March 20, 2020
Thomas Gilbert explains the simple chemistry behind why washing your hands with soap is so effective at killing virus’s and bacteria. This goes into why the twenty second rule is important, and how soap as a lipid can fight the lipid casings of bacteria that water can’t dissolve.
Featuring: Thomas Gilbert
Topics: Chemistry and Chemical Biology
| March 27, 2020
Abhishek Mogili is a Biology co-op student helping prepare hospitals for the incoming onslaught of patients. Acting as an extra set of hands, he helps brace for impact with COVID, a common theme among pre-med co-ops.
Featuring: Abhishek Mogili (Co-op student)
| April 1, 2020
David DeSteno explains how rumors and fear, while useful, can get blown out of proportion. DeSteno goes on to show how this applies to the pandemic, and how to combat this unnecessary fear.
Featuring: David DeSteno
| May 15, 2020
Chemists at northeastern research possible weak points the COVID-19 virus might have. Using machine learning, coupled with knowledge of the disease’s amino acids, Mary Jo and Penny could locate these weak points, helping create possible vaccines down the line.
| June 1, 2020
The Marine Science Center had taken notice that food shelters had less volunteers during the pandemic, and was struggling to help feed people especially when the home style dining they cherished became impossible. The researchers working at the MSC stepped up to keep meals flowing for those in need.
| June 3, 2020
COVID-19 Misconceptions Are Hard to Fight. Cognitive Psychology Might Help Spot Why People Get the Coronavirus Wrong.
John Coley explains how misconceptions about COVID arise, and why psychologically they make sense. He goes on to explain how to fight these misconceptions with that same psychology.
Featuring: John Coley
| July 27, 2020
As researchers study SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 at breakneck speeds, one key aspect to keep in mind is that the research is happening while everyone watches. “The public is getting front-row seats to the scientific method, probably in a way they never imagined they would’ve experienced,” says Samuel Scarpino, who runs the Emergent Epidemics Lab at Northeastern.
Featuring: Sam Scarpino
Topics: Marine and Environmental Science
| August 5, 2020
Northeastern’s Life Sciences Center is a Cutting Edge Laboratory That Will Process the University’s Coronavirus Tests
The Northeastern Life Science Center receives permission to process the university’s coronavirus tests. This tremendous project is led by Jared Auclair, an assistant professor of biotechnology.
Featuring: Jared Auclair
| August 6, 2020
William Sharp discusses the stresses “mask vs no mask” interactions can cause, and shares how to start the important conversations surrounding them. It is always better to be aware of what everyone is comfortable with going into a public event.
Featuring: William Sharp
By the time that Eduardo Sanchez heads to work in the morning, he’s already been up for hours—reading and preparing for the discussions, quizzes, and tests he takes as part of a master’s program in biotechnology at Northeastern.
But he won’t touch that classwork again until after 11 at night, after he ends his shift as one of the scientists who ensures Northeastern’s Life Sciences Testing Center runs like a well-oiled machine to process thousands of coronavirus tests on a daily basis.
In July, when Sanchez joined a then-four-person team as a lab technician, the systems and instrumentation that sustain the lab today were still being designed. Then they needed to be validated in order to acquire the licensing that would allow the lab to conduct the diagnostic analysis and process the human samples necessary to test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
Now, nearly 10 weeks into its operations, and thanks to the determination of Sanchez and other scientists with experience working in other clinical laboratories, the state-of-the-art facility has been the engine of an ambitious testing operation that has allowed Northeastern’s campus in Boston to re-open—and remain open—this fall.
In efforts to help researchers produce quality medicine worldwide, Northeastern’sBiopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory, established in 2014 and directed by Jared Auclair, is training students, researchers, and drug regulators worldwide on the best practices and challenges involved in producing new drugs. In early 2019, Auclair’s lab received a $4.3 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to expand its research space, which is being used to help trainees understand potential issues in the drug-making process, such as falsified data or information that has been tampered with, Auclair says.
Associate teaching professor of biotechnology, Jared Auclair, says as the scientific community rushes to develop a vaccine and treatments for the COVID-19 illness, the quality and safety of new drugs is more important than ever.
Dr. Ali Wallace ’13 works as a Pediatric Resident Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. She took time out of her increasingly busy schedule to give us an inside look at COVID-19 preparations, as well as to discuss how her experience at Northeastern shaped her into the doctor she is today.
Can you tell me about your experience at Northeastern?
I started my journey at Northeastern as a Chemistry major. I quickly realized the lab environment wasn’t for me (thanks co-op!) so transitioned into Biochemistry, with a minor in Psychology.
I lived on campus for a majority of college, which I absolutely loved (don’t ever take for granted those floor-to-ceiling-window-Boston-views in West Village).
I also did a Dialogue Program abroad in Italy. I spent my free time dancing in a few club groups (first season of No Limits Dance Crew!) and going on hikes with NUHOC, which I will forever be grateful for because that is how I met my now husband!
I graduated in 2013 and miss college all the time!
What kind of co-ops did you go on?
My first co-op was doing Immunology research at Biogen – a pharmaceutical company in Cambridge. I worked with cell lines and mice, and learned a ton, but mostly that I wasn’t cut out for an entire career in a lab.
I knew I wanted to work with people and I found a more clinical co-op as a Newborn Hearing Screener at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which I still believe to be the best job ever! I cuddled newborns all day and got to congratulate new parents when their baby passed its “first test”! This was my first clinical experience in Pediatrics and it obviously left an impression on me. I really enjoyed the Pediatricians I worked with, the hospital environment, and being a part of special moments on a daily basis.
How did Northeastern and COS help shape your interests and/or prepare you for what you’re doing today?
I am forever grateful for the flexibility that Northeastern gave me while trying to find my ideal career path.
I came to college passionate about Genetics, inspired by my older sister who is developmentally disabled. I just didn’t quite know what that looked like in terms of a future career. You’ll never know if you like something until you try it!
I always loved science, but never really considered clinical medicine until after I realized I didn’t want to work in a lab. I always wonder where I would have ended up if I didn’t have that first co-op experience early in my college career. But every experience along the way has helped me to learn more about myself and the things that kept me going each day.
Where did you land after you left the University?
I was lucky enough to be accepted to Tufts University School of Medicine – right down the road from NU! I was one of 5 fellow Huskies in my class, which was awesome! Medical school was an awesome experience, and my time at Northeastern definitely prepared me for the trials and tribulations of life as a med student.
You’re currently at MGH as a Pediatric Resident Physician. What’s a normal day look like for you?
Yes! I am currently in my third and last year, and will be graduating in June! Every day is truly different and unpredictable.
We rotate through various parts of the hospital (Emergency Room, PICU, newborn nursery, NICU etc) and with various sub-specialties (Oncology, Cardiology, Pulmonary, etc) so each block is very different and your role is ever-changing.
This makes life as a resident exciting, but also stressful. We work days, nights, weekends, and 24 hours shifts. On a typical day on an inpatient unit (just to give you a rough idea), we get sign out from the overnight team at around 6:30 am.
We have lectures around 8 am, and spend the morning rounding, or going room to room to see each patient. The team usually consists of a senior resident, and intern, and a couple of medical students. We examine our patients, make a treatment plan, talk with families, and order any tests or labs that are needed.
The afternoons are for learning, following up on results, and admitting new kids to the hospital! There are rarely dull moments. I see sick children in the Emergency one day, and well children in clinic the next! I love attending deliveries of newborns – my favorite thing ever is showing a brand new dad how to cut the umbilical cord. The various reactions and responses are priceless!
Do you find the work rewarding?
I may be bias, but it is hard for me to imagine anything more fun or rewarding than taking care of children.
They are incredibly resilient, wise, and loving. We dress up for holidays at work, partake in crafts, birthday parties, and last day of chemo celebrations.
The work is hard, but there aren’t many days when I’m not smiling. My co-residents are also amazing, and I like to think that Pediatricians in particular are just nice and genuine people- one of the biggest things that drew me to the field in the first place!
With the COVID-19 outbreak, can you talk about your current role is and how work at MGH has evolved over the past couple weeks?
What an unprecedented time.
Today is March 16th, and I know things will be much different 1 week from now. MGH is full of incredibly smart and hard working people who having been working endless hours to keep our community safe, and I am honored to be part of such an institution.
Life as a resident has changed dramatically – all elective rotations or roles that are not necessary have been cancelled. We have actually been cutting back on the number of residents in the hospital to limit potential exposures amongst staff. Many of us are at home on back-up call, practicing social distancing and staying healthy until we will have to replace others that become sick.
We have continued having educational conferences virtually, while supporting those on the front lines until we get called in to work.
Based on some recent research, children are less severely affected by the virus, so our department is prepared to help out on the adult side when necessary. There has been a lot of careful preparation for whatever the next few days/weeks throw at us.
Is there anything you’re not hearing discussed enough when it comes to the outbreak that could help people be proactive and stay safe?
I encourage people to visit the CDC website for the most up to date information, as recommendations have been changing by the hour.
But I will say, this is not a time to be cavalier about the coronavirus. While you may not feel at risk as a young, healthy, college student, the downstream effects of transmission are extremely frightening.
We need to prevent the collapse of our medical system and every decision you make counts. Wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, and don’t hang out with large groups of people.
Help each other out! Grab groceries for an elderly neighbor; offer to pick up things for friends if making a trip to the store.
And finally, stay connected with friends and families virtually! These are trying times, and we can all use each other’s support. Keep an eye out for virtual concerts (ie Dropkick Murphy’s St. Patrick Day show, or the MET Opera, who will be streaming shows for free!) and free yoga and exercise classes that can be done from home.