With the changing landscape of Biotechnology presenting many challenges for both the industry and educators alike and the need of preparing today’s science undergraduates in the country for future industry opportunities in this sphere, Horizon Campus is currently on a quest of investing their capitol in equipping their lecture team, labs and facilities to help establish their campus as a powerhouse for Biotechnology education in the country.
Developing a complete ecosystem for research, education and innovation: Mr. Eranda Mandawala of the Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences at Horizon Campus, said “to prepare a knowledge-based talent pool in Biotechnology requires that we invest in competence, education and research. At the campus we are assuming a national responsibility to support the growth of specialist skills and knowledge in Biotechnology and cultivate a leading community of qualified graduates in life sciences. We will be making the campus a gathering place for creative researchers who are capable of linking academic disciplines in new ways to generate new knowledge and apply this for innovation and value creation in the field of Biotechnology.”
State-of-the-art research laboratories: With the driving mission to ensure the campus becomes one of the best resourced centre’s for Biotechnology research and education in the country, major investments have been made in state-of-the-art laboratories to conduct impact-driven molecular research that will provide researchers with insights into how to design new drug molecules to target complex health challenges such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and antimicrobial resistance.
Mandawala explained “the biomedical challenges we face today include complex disorders associated with ageing, cancer, lifestyle and drug resistance. To develop new therapies for these diseases, we need to understand the biological activities of biomolecules in a cell. The area of molecular and cell biology therefore have a great deal to offer medicine in the future. It is at the forefront of scientific discovery, unlocking the innermost secrets of the cell and developing new ways to detect and attack disease , provide a new generation of diagnostic and therapeutic agents, and play a major role in the development of new vaccines and other approaches to the control of diseases. This also represents a platform for a new industry in Sri Lanka with new jobs, products and services in the health sector and our aim is to produce the required talent for this industry.
The lab at Horizon campus has been equipped to carry out PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing, a technique that identifies characterizations of viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal agents. The lab is also geared to conduct molecular research using RFLP technique together with gel electrophoresis that provide information on genetic diseases and also perform testing to analyze RNA samples to measure and compare gene expression patterns.
All of these are closely aligned with undergraduate and post-graduate teaching facilities to help provide a seamless transition for students and give them many opportunities to conduct research projects in the specialized context of molecular biology.
Industry accredited affiliations: To ensure further optimization in facilitating research ,training and knowledge creation, the campus has also affiliated with the top ranked Nilai Univeristy in Malaysia to offer two key degrees comprising of The Diploma in Biotechnology and the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biotechnology, with both courses covering a comprehensive range of subjects encompassing the applications of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetic engineering, bioinformatics and cell culture techniques for the development of new products.
Connecting Learners: Mandawala expressed “recognizing the need to strengthen education in our country in the field of molecular biology , our program integrates the laboratory and lecture components through the use of an experimental approach to learning , uniquely combining practical, hands-on training with cutting-edge research and teaching.”
“We will continue building on the research we already have, develop new ones, attract outstanding talent and train new generations of scientists in the field of molecular biology to bring value to the Biotechnology industry in the country” concluded Mandawala.