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New degrees to solve global food challenges

The University of Western Australia has introduced new specialisations to the Master of Biotechnology and Master of Biomedical Science degrees, which will empower students to develop innovative solutions to global challenges such as hunger, malnutrition, food production and environmental impact.

As coordinated by the School of Molecular Sciences, Master of Biotechnology students can now specialise in Synthetic Biology, and Master of Biomedical Science students can now specialise in Food Biochemistry.

Professor Martha Ludwig, Head of the School of Molecular Sciences, said UWA was leading the way as one of the few Australian universities to design a Master program with specific focus on synthetic biology.

“It is a cutting-edge field that uses the principles of engineering, bioinformatics, genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry to design and construct novel biological systems to solve specific problems in human health, food production, the environment, biosecurity, and manufacturing.

“Completing two units in business, IP and marketing will put students in the position to enter government and advisory services, established synthetic biology industries or start-ups, or even create their own start-up company.”

Students will gain hands-on learning of techniques that are used in modern research laboratories to develop a range of technical laboratory and research skills.

Synthetic Biology team member Dr Georg Fritz said all students taking the specialisation would learn how they could contribute to a greener and cleaner future for humanity.

The new specialisation in Food Biochemistry (as part of the Master of Biomedical Science) integrates knowledge and concepts of nutritional biochemistry and applies them to the food and health industry.

It will provide an analytical background in food nutrition that can be applied in multiple sectors, including educational and academic, industrial and manufacturing, and public policy.

“Biochemical knowledge of various nutrients and food constituents and their function is seminal to understanding human health and nutrition, and to developing innovative and novel applications in these fields,” Professor Ludwig said.

Food Biochemistry team member Dr Alyssa Van Dreumel said the specialisation was ideal for those who wanted to champion healthy, sustainable foods and lifestyles and be part of the exciting future of nutritional science.

“Good food and nutrition impact health and reduce risk of diet-related chronic disease,” Dr Van Dreumel said.

“What could you do to help us all live healthier lives?”

Master’s students from both specialisations have the option to collaborate with a UWA research team on an independent research project.

They will develop the skills to solve complex problems, critically analyse data, express project outcomes in oral and written forms, and work as individuals or part of a team.

For more information, visit the Master of Biotechnology and Master of Biomedical Science pages on UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences website.

Source: UWA