Undergraduate Students

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Teaching Coordinator – Miriam Krauz

Why Biology?

As biologists, we seek to uncover the mysteries of life and to understand the mechanisms and principles which allow the world to exist; to arouse curiosity and reveal some of the tremendous potential that lies in life sciences.

Contemporary biology is by definition a study of complex, tech-based systems. The life sciences sector has taken an enormous leap forward during the past few decades, extending its boundaries to the limits this very year. While in the past our research revolved around the individual unit – phenomenon/animal/cell – today it is focused on studying the relationships between entire biological systems and analyzing very large databases (millions of data at the same time) at a much larger resolution. Today, the scientist does not look at the individual molecule, but at super processes and superstructures – studying millions of intestinal microbes, trying to understand the interactions between all the different individuals in an ecological habitat, studying parts of molecules and even individual atoms.

Exploring the principles, relationships and rationales that form the foundation for understanding the science of life, building a base on which to construct the solutions for the medical and environmental challenges and diseases of the 21st century.

The ability to make new discoveries and inventions in life sciences has developed tremendously. In fact, right now, in this past year, we have witnessed the global life science community manage to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine within a mere 9 months. A task that was once considered impossible is being completed in record time before our very eyes. Our aim at the Faculty of Biology is to conduct the research that would be able to provide a solution for any biological or medical challenge that may come.

The undergraduate students of today are the scientists of tomorrow. Some of them will proceed to postgraduate studies at our Faculty in preparation for a career in research. During their Bachelor studies, they get a taste of many different fields of knowledge in the life sciences, and acquire practical skills in analyzing complex systems, critical thinking and understanding some of the mysteries of life. Today’s rapidly evolving research and employment market are characterized by high demand for specialists with multidisciplinary knowledge and background. The technologically unique environment of the Technion allows everyone to learn and specialize in various fields of life sciences at the very top standard.

Our academic staff includes about 36 senior researchers in a wide variety of fields, from structural biology and biophysics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and bioinformatics, to research in the fields of cancer, developmental biology, and ecology.

The Faculty’s academic staff are also the core undergraduate teaching staff. Students at the Faculty get to learn directly from world-renowned researchers and acquire essential tools in numerous fields of biology. And because our lecturers are also involved in active research, the study curriculum is being updated all the time in accordance with new worldwide developments and discoveries.

Our Faculty also shares a roof with some of Israel’s leading research centers, including the Smoler Proteomics Center, The Technion Genome Center, The Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), and The Lorry I. Lokey Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences & Engineering.

Why Study Biology at the Technion?

Multidisciplinary approach – The challenges we face in the 21st century are more complex than ever before; to deal with them, we need to think out of the box and be critical and creative. Today’s rapidly evolving research and employment market are characterized by a high demand for specialists with multidisciplinary knowledge and background.

The physical proximity to and academic interaction with the faculties of engineering, diverse academic staff and proximity to on-campus research centers, which the Technion can offer, help create multidisciplinary discourse that will give you a clear edge, whether you are applying for postgraduate studies or pursuing a career in relevant industries.

Broad knowledge base in biology and exact sciences – Our students attend courses taught by some of the world’s top engineering faculties, and receive the broadest and most in-depth base of knowledge not only in life sciences, but in the exact sciences (physics, math, chemistry, computer science) as well.

The Faculty of Biology also offers study programs jointly with the faculties of Chemical Engineering, Materials Engineering and Computer Science.  This integration of science and technology will provide you with the best tools for dealing with the challenges of tomorrow and leading groundbreaking multidisciplinary research.

Academic nurturing and personal mentoring – Every year, the Faculty admits a relatively small group of students who we believe can manage the unique study programs. This allows us to get to know each student personally. The classes and study groups are small and intimate, allowing personal and professional nurturing of students with great emphasis on the development of practical skills. Our students are involved in the Faculty’s social and academic events and take active part in the building of curricula and study materials.

The Technion’s Faculty of Biology is conducting cutting-edge research:

At our Faculty, postgraduate students and top undergraduate students in their third year participate in research activity in the Faculty labs.

Our Faculty conducts research in such fields as:

Biophysics
Structural biology
Bioinformatics and computational biology
Molecular genetics and genetic engineering
Genomics and proteomics
Epigenetics
Developmental biology
Research of cancer and drug development
Stem cells and tissue recreation
Microbial ecology

Career options

The Faculty of Biology’s study programs teach you to think creatively and provide you with in-depth knowledge in many different fields of biology.  For these reasons, many of our graduates proceed to postgraduate (Master and doctoral) studies in top academic institutions worldwide. These are the future leaders of scientific research in Israel and abroad, who help advance science and human knowledge. Our graduates pursue careers in a variety of fields:

Research in academic and research institutions in Israel and abroad:

Postgraduate studies followed by a career in science (Master’s degree or four-year medical school). Work in laboratories and R&D centers in universities, schools and government agencies.

  • Working in the Life Science industry: Biotech and biopharmaceutical industries, biotech startup companies, ecology, diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies, biodata, medical devices.
  • Working in medical labs and public organizations: Hospitals and healthcare organizations, forensic labs, patent offices, genetic testing, development of diagnostic tests, computer analysis. Environmental protection organizations.

The multidisciplinary study programs give you knowledge from multiple disciplines, providing unique skills and abilities. Graduates in any of those programs can pursue a career in fields where their multidisciplinary knowledge gives them an edge. Or they can choose to focus on one of the disciplines they studied, like a regular graduate in one of the faculties.

An alumna’s story

Aviv Sharon completed a bachelor’s degree in Biology cum laude. Aviv Sharon completed a bachelor’s degree in Biology

I chose to study Biology because I find it interesting. According to studies, biology is the most popular science among kids and adults alike, and it’s not hard to understand why. Biologists study an extremely wide variety of things, from diseases like malaria to brain function in memory and learning. They are trying to increase our understanding of the world around us, from the meanings of DNA sequences to ecological phenomena that affect our whole planet. They are also trying to work out how to adjust natural phenomena so they can be used for inventions and innovations to improve our lives, from curing cancer to developing biological fuels that may one day replace fossil fuels.

Like most of you, I, too, was concerned about my career options after graduation. Eventually I realized that the scientific knowledge base a Biology degree gives you is so large you can always use it to find work in bioindustry, research, teaching, healthcare and more. As time went by, I saw that biology was evolving so fast that the scope of its application was only going to grow, and with it – the number of jobs that require formal education in this field.

I knew you could study Biology in many other places, but I chose the Technion mainly because of its reputation, and to continue the family tradition. Both my father and my older brother went there. However, after I started studying, I discovered a few more reasons which I hadn’t known about, and which I would like to share with you.

Reason number one is that I got a chance to learn Biology from a bunch of great experts, each in their own field. For example, my first year Biochemistry teacher was working on developing a biochemical blood test for early detection of cancer. In my second year, I had a Microbiology class with a teacher who was studying several types of microbes whose unique characteristics had previously been unknown. The teachers often give examples from the latest scientific discoveries, and demonstrate the connection between the material we study and the work they do in their labs. Such high professional level can only be found in a research university, and in the Technion in particular.

Reason number two is the practical lab work you get to do throughout your studies, from watching animals such as sharks in your very first semester, to genetic crossing of drosophila flies in Year 2 and genetic engineering of microbes in the final semester. The study program also includes a research project that you are supposed to begin in the middle of your second year. This means you must join an actual research lab, and to plan and perform experiments to answer a biological question nobody has studied before. The results of your work can eventually lead to a new scientific discovery, and thus easily turn into an M.Sc. or even a Ph.D. paper.

Reason number three is the Faculty staff’s friendly and helpful attitude. As student representative, I got the impression that the Faculty cares about the quality of teaching and the treatment of students and is willing to cooperate with the student representatives on various initiatives. The teachers are very helpful in every way – whether you need help understanding the study material or finding reference material, would like to know more about a subject that interests you, or have some other academic problem. This is not something you get in every university, and it definitely adds to the student experience.

So, if you want to learn a science that keeps changing and evolving, get some hands-on scientific experience, and all that in a friendly and supportive environment, I strongly recommend the Faculty of Biology at the Technion.

 

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