What should students know?

K N and P J Harris ecoli at cix.compulink.co.uk
Sun Mar 10 11:39:29 EST 1996

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> bionet/microbiology #2223, from dvchem at aol.com, 1688 chars, 6 Mar 1996 
07:47:45 -0
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> From: dvchem at aol.com (DVCHEM)
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> Subject: What should students know?
> Date: 6 Mar 1996 07:47:45 -0500
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>      The Departments of Biology and Chemistry-Physics of Kean College 
> considering offering a collaborative graduate program designed to 
> students for employment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology
> industries. However, we are aware that a program designed for the 
> sector by academicians runs the risk of missing the target. We are
> therefore asking for input from those who know what background is 
> for a student to become an effective employee in these industries:
> What specific experimental techniques from molecular 
> are most valuable in industry?
> What methods of instrumental analysis are most important in the
> pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries?
> What should students know about tissue culture?
> What should students know about genetics?
> What should students know about synthetic organic chemistry and 
> science?
> What should students know about pharmacology?
> Should students have experience with online literature searching?
> Please send your response(s), via email, to any or all of these 
> to: 
> dvitale at turbo.kean.edu
> Thanks for your help!
Similar questions have been raised by industry at Symposia in the UK.
The bottom line seems to be (as you might expect) that academia is dead 
keen on raising future PhD students but no-one wants to train anyone 
with basic microbiological technical skills. This means that we end up 
with graduate microbiologists who do not know what an autoclave looks 
like let alone what it is used for. They know all about PCR but nothing 
about the techniques necessary for the proper isolation and 
identification of the organisms that produce the DNA.
My guess is that in five years time it will be nearly impossible to find 
anyone to run your preparative facilities in a reliable manner.

Good luck, but try telling your Faculty that a good graduate is the 
person who knows how to tell a technician whether they are doing a 
proper job or not.

Peter Harris,
Department of Soil Science,
The University of Reading,

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