Beginning in Fall of 2018, the Western Kentucky University Department of Biology has announced its plans to add a new Molecular Biotechnology major.
The new program is almost a hybrid of two other programs already offered through the school - Recombinant Genetics and Investigative Biotechnology.
"This particular major builds on the existing strengths within the department," said WKU Associate Biology Professor Ajay Srivastava. "We already had various courses that we collected into this sort of focused major, which will train students in the latest theory and techniques of biotechnology."
The primary goal of the major will be to put students in a more competitive position in the biological field when it comes time to apply for jobs or further their education following graduation from WKU.
"Students that choose this major can then go on to hopefully find a good job, well-paying, and with a lot of opportunities also in Kentucky," said WKU Biology Professor Sigrid Jacobshagen. "The training is very basic also, and they can go on to more education like a Ph.D or something like that."
Most of the training offered in the new program will feature in-depth, hands-on experiences and exercises that students will need to learn in order to succeed after they leave the Hill.
"We feel that that really distinguishes this major from lets say a regular biology major," Srivastava said.
Both Jacobshagen and Srivastava are hopeful that this new major will also have a positive impact on the entire scientific community across the state of Kentucky as well.
"They get a really good basis in that area, and that makes them very competitive," Jacobshagen said. "That also creates a qualified workforce in Kentucky to attract maybe more companies."
The new major will require 55 hours of molecular biotechnology related coursework, as well as an internship or profession work experiences to earn the degree.
Both professors said that there's already been a very strong interest in the new major, and that the overall feedback they've received so far has been very positive and encouraging.