An Interview with Dr. Gaurav Shah (Biotechnology Expert)

Dear Readers,

I am Sana, and today for an Interview we have with us Dr. Gaurav Shah, a subject expert from Biotechnology field as well as an accomplished Professional. From my team I would like to thanks Dr. Gaurav Shah for accepting our request and sharing his knowledge and experience with us.

Brief Profile of Dr. Gaurav Shah –

He is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Biotechnology Department of Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat. He has more than 20 years of Teaching and Research Experience. He has published his research work in many renowned National and International Journals. He is author of “Students Hand of Biotechnology” a dictionary for beginners.

Sir, you have been in this domain for a long time and it would be great to receive your pearls of wisdom.

Sana: There are many ways of defining Biotechnology and most of it is given in textbooks. But we would like to understand what is Biotechnology from your perspective and many years of experience?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Defining Biotechnology in single line which can be understood by non subjective individual is: Biotechnology is “Clever science of biology”. To elaborate further is to apply our scientific knowledge for manipulation of some living organisms in such a way that it is beneficial for the entire ecosystem.

Sana: What are the areas/domain/sector in which Biotechnology would be applicable?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Biotechnology (Application of living organisms) is everywhere. Be it Food industry, Pharmaceutical industry, Agriculture sector, Waste processing and Management, Environmental Pollution Control; you name it and you’ll find it everywhere… in simple words, for any type of pollution, biotechnology has solution.

Sana: What is the eligibility to pursue Biotechnology Graduation?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Students having fundamental knowledge in Biology having passed higher secondary with so called “B” or “AB” group are eligible to pursue undergraduate course in Biotechnology. Many Universities are offering M. Sc. Five years Integrated Biotechnology course where students can get admission after 12th and get opportunity to achieve dual degree (B. Sc. & M. Sc.). We at Department of Biotechnology, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat offers M. Sc. Integrated Biotechnology course since 2006.

Sana: Are there any specific qualities or interests a student must possess for pursuing Biotechnology?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Yes. Love and liking for biology is must. As it is righty said, “Nothing is interesting, if you are not interested”. Without fundamental knowledge and interest in biology, it will be very difficult to pursue Biotechnology.

Sana: In what areas can a Biotechnologist work?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Biotechnology is research oriented science. Biotechnologist can work in R & D wing of any private or state owned biotech or bio-pharma industry as well as in National level autonomous institutions under Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi. They can also work as Plant breeder, Green house assistant, Clinical research associate, Patent Attorney/Agent, Bioprocess Development officer, Manufacturing bioproduct and development associate, IVF centers/hospitals etc. In short people who work as biotechnologist are those who make discoveries at the forefront of science in the area of Drug discovery, Food and fibre crop improvement, Environmental protection and manufacturing bio-products such as vaccines, antibiotics, multi vitamins, enzymes and fine chemicals. 

Sana: What are the job prospects & opportunities after completing Biotechnology?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Biotechnology students are most sought in various diverse fields like Biotechnology Industry, Food and Drug Industry, Institutes involved in research in Molecular biology and Genetics, Clinical research and in Academics as Assistant Professor in University or affiliated Colleges.

Sana: What are the prospects & opportunities for Entrepreneurship & Business after completing Biotechnology?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: Bioentpreneurship is in demand. Though business in biological sciences is very difficult owing to huge cost and risk involved, students are diverting in business related to applications of living organisms. I personally teach Biotechnology Entrepreneurship, a full dedicated paper in syllabus of integrated biotechnology. Few of our students have started their own enterprise.

Sana: How should I select a college or University for pursuing Biotechnology?

Dr. Gaurav Shah: This is little tricky question. Much of the information is available on internet and almost all colleges and Universities have their own website to check in required information and details related to courses offered along with infrastructure and faculty. According to me, whatever University or college or institute it may be, faculty should be well trained, experienced and qualified. Other criterion to look in is various types of rankings given by State or National agencies viz; NRIF (National Institute Ranking Framework) or NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council). Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat is re-accredited with Grade ‘A’ by NAAC. 

Sana: As we understand that as we grow up, we become more sensible and make better choices as we go on in life. So as a person of experience, what would be your advice to

  1. Those who are considering to opt Biotechnology
  2. Those who are in their first & second year
  3. Those who are in their final year.

Dr. Gaurav Shah: 1. Think twice before entering as it’s a demanding field. The more you give, the more you get. Obviously there is more demand especially after Pandemic COVID-19, but competition is equally tough.

2. Work very hard with focus. Understanding fundamental concept and development of practical skill in laboratory is very important which will finally decide your fate qualitatively.

3. Prepare very hard for national level competitive examinations. Go for additional training in some industry or research institute. Be clear with where you want to see yourself after 5+ years. 

Sana: Thank you Sir for having us and giving this fantastic opportunity to Interview you and to answer the most frequently asked questions!

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