Biotechnology

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What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology harnesses biology – cellular and biomolecular processes – to develop technologies for industrial, medical, and other purposes that aim to improve our lives and the health of our planet.

Biotechnology is a fast-growing and exciting field, where discoveries are made to cure diseases, battle climate change, develop new fuels, solve limited global food supplies, and more. Individuals in the field should be problem solvers who are curious, imaginative and persistent.

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Skyline College’s Biotechnology Program aims to prepare students to enter the workforce in the biotechnology field. Students in the program have access to fully stocked and functional labs where they will take courses and gain hands-on experience working with the tools and materials they'll need when they enter the workforce.

Faculty guide students through the current trends and processes in the biotechnology field using contextualized science, math and even English skill-building. Students emerge from the program ready for an entry level position working in a lab or production facility.

Skyline College offers an Associate Degree in Biotechnology for students who are looking for a clear path for transfer to a four-year institution in addition to the BioBridge Program, which offers a two-semester program that develops students' workforce readiness and soft skills so they can obtain hands-on work experience. The Skyline College Biotechnology Manufacturing program is also an excellent resource to get you on the path to a four-year degree.

Looking for a list of classes offered this semester? Check out the current class schedule.

All Courses

BTEC 150 Biotechnology Instrumentation: Quality Control and Genetic Engineering (4 units)

Familiarizes students with small scale laboratory instrumentation practices. Students analyze the quality of a cell culture process and the purify products produced by cells in culture using (GLP) methods. Students will gain experience with the common assays used in quality control including electrophoresis, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), and the Polymerase Chain Reactions (PRC) to produces generated using cell culture.

BTEC 170 Principles of Applied Bioscience (3 units)

A survey of the principles that govern the living world, from molecules to cells and tissues, to organs and whole organisms, to populations and ecosystems, to the entire biosphere. Special emphasis is placed upon experimental approaches, current issues, and practical application of the scientific method and biological principles to issues affecting public health, agriculture, and socioeconomic change. Current news and developments in relevant areas of biological sciences and biotechnology will be reviewed and discussed. Also listed as BIOL 170.

BTEC 171 Laboratory Principles of Applied Bioscience (1 units)

Introduces students to practical methods in preparing materials, reagents and media for conducting biological investigations and products of genetic engineering. Students will learn to measure and prepare solutions of various concentrations and pH, how to use basic chemistry and biological instrumentation such as digital scales, pipettes and micropipettes, centrifuges, and vertical and horizontal electrophoresis apparatuses. Students will plan and conduct biological experiments using the scientific method and employing modern laboratory methods and instrumentation. Data will be analyzed using spreadsheet software for tabulation and graphing. Teamwork, responsible lab technique, and proper and thorough notebook keeping will be emphasized. Also listed as BIOL 171.

BTEC 210 Business and Regulatory Practices in Biotechnology (3 units)

An examination of how basic business practices and good manufacturing procedures assure the quality and safety of a product as it is manufactured in the biotechnology production pipeline. Explores the role of government oversight and regulation during all phases of drug discovery, development, approval and manufacturing.

BTEC 220 Cell Culture and Protein Recovery (4 units)

Allows students to develop the skills needed to serve as a technician in biotechnology production. Students grow and monitor cells and participate in downstream purification on a laboratory scale that emulates the large-scale production used in industry. Emphasizes the use of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), current Good Laboratory Practices (cGLP), and students gain experience following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

BTEC 400 Foundations of Biotechnology (2 units)

Overview of the origin and development of biotechnology and the bioscience industries. Includes cell growth, medical and food products produced by or impacted by biotechnology, and career opportunities in biotechnology. Also includes laboratory experience with bioreactors and making products.

BTEC 405 Biopharmaceutical Summer Experience (2 units)

An introduction to topics in Biopharmaceuticals and STEM careers. Modules will explore how the scientific method is used to discover biologicals for use in mainly pharmacology, energy and manufacturing, and how potential products are selected and eventually manufactured in these industry sectors. Students will also study Bay Area biotechnology entrepreneurs and how local biotechnology companies were started. Students will survey STEM careers and companies in the general Bay Area.

BTEC 480 Biotechnology Project I (1.5 units)

Biotechnology work experience in an open manufacturing context. Students work under local supervision in an open production space under cGMP/cGLP conditions where they develop the process and procedures to create a biotechnology product.

BTEC 482 Biotechnology Project II (1.5 units)

Biotechnology field experience in an open manufacturing context where students prepare and test the manufacturing process of a biotechnology project in order to produce their product.

BTEC 484 Biotechnology Research Project I (1.5 units)

Laboratory experience designed to promote discovery research. Working in teams, students conduct research projects that incorporate techniques in microbiology, virology, and molecular biology and involve use of bioinformatics tools and other computational analysis software. Emphasis is on reading and understanding scientific literature as well as improving critical thinking skills such as the ability to evaluate hypotheses or experimentally address scientific questions. Also addressed will be critical aspects of the research process including record keeping, ethics, laboratory safety and citizenry, mechanics of scientific writing, and project responsibilities and ownership.

BTEC 486 Biotechnology Research Project II (1.5 units)

Biotechnology field experience in an open lab with the intent of presenting student work at regional conferences and competitions.

At the Biotechnology Summer Experience, you'll learn how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) all come together in the process of producing a new antibiotic for the American market. Explore various STEM careers and learn about business modeling and governmental regulations as well as visit a pharmaceutical manufacturing company.

Designed for incoming high school juniors and seniors, camp is FREE to high school students enrolled in the concurrent enrollment program at Skyline College. Students will earn two units of college credit

For more information, contact Nick Kapp at kapp@smccd.edu or (650)-738-4415

The Skyline College STEM Center brings together academic and student support services for students taking science, technology, engineering and math courses.

The center supports student success by ensuring students have access to resources such as academic tutoring, counseling services, a resource depository for STEM pathways and transfer, a hub for internships and work based learning opportunities, as well as a place where students and staff can collaborate and build a community and supportive connection.

Check out the STEM Center
Nick Kapp, PhD Professor, Biotechnology - Advisory Committee Chair Skyline College
Lily Chen, PhD Professor, Biology San Francisco State University
Bob Del Vecchio, PhD Biotechnology Program Coordinator City College of San Francisco
Jing Folsom, PhD Assistant Professor, Biotechnology Skyline College
Rocky Ng Instructor South San Francisco High School
Susan Gold, MA Co-Director, Biotechnology Institute Carlmont High School
Raymond Hernandez, MPH, RRT, NPS Dean, Science/Math/Technology Division Skyline College
Elaine Johnson, PhD Executive Director Bio-Link Depot
Alexandra Kaplan, MS Counselor Skyline College
Ying-Tsu Loh, PhD Program Director BABEC
Josie Sette, MS Director, Applied Biotechnology Center Ohlone College
Kristen Wolslegal, MPA Executive Director BABEC
Lavinia Zanassi, MS Faculty/Counselor/Coordinator, Career Services Center Skyline College

Agendas and Minutes

Agendas Minutes
November 6, 2019 November 6, 2019
April 25, 2018 April 25, 2018
November 30, 2017 November 30, 2017
March 8, 2017 March 8, 2017
April 27, 2016 April 27, 2016
October 26, 2015 October 26, 2015 (no minutes available)
April 8, 2015 April 8, 2015
December 3, 2014 December 3, 2014

Upon completion of the program students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to use sound ethical reasoning when discussing biological science and the use of biotechnological techniques.
  • Apply the knowledge of biological science to distinguish between observations, inferences, relationships, and testimonials under investigation.
  • Employ the appropriate techniques effectively and safely, including the appropriate use of equipment and tools to produce an acceptable outcome when performing a technical laboratory task.
Office Information
Location: Building 7
Email: tariqn@smccd.edu
Spring 2023 Courses  |  Fall 2022 Courses

Type Status Title Days Time Instructor
Online Class OPEN BTEC 170 - 48079 - Principles-Applied Bioscience
BTEC 170 Principles of Applied Bioscience

A survey of the principles that govern the living world, from molecules to cells and tissues, to organs and whole organisms, to populations and ecosystems, to the entire biosphere. Special emphasis is placed upon experimental approaches, current issues, and practical application of the scientific method and biological principles to issues affecting public health, agriculture, and socioeconomic change. Current news and developments in relevant areas of biological sciences and biotechnology will be reviewed and discussed. Also listed as BIOL 170.

Units: 3
Degree Credit
Letter Grade Only
  • Lecture hours/semester: 48-54
  • Homework hours/semester: 96-108
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: BTEC 171
AA/AS Degree Requirements: Area 9B2
Transfer Credit: CSU (CSU GE Area B2), UC (IGETC Area 5B)
TBA Touneh, K
Day Class   OPEN BTEC 171 - 48211 - Lab Principles-Applied Biosci
BTEC 171 Laboratory Principles of Applied Bioscience

The laboratory introduces students to practical methods in preparing materials, reagents and media for conducting biological investigations and products of genetic engineering. Students will learn to measure and prepare solutions of various concentrations and pH, how to use basic chemistry and biological instrumentation such as digital scales, pipettes and micropipettes, centrifuges, and vertical and horizontal electrophoresis apparatuses. Students will plan and conduct biological experiments using the scientific method and employing modern laboratory methods and instrumentation. Data will be analyzed using spreadsheet software for tabulation and graphing. Teamwork, responsible lab technique, and proper and thorough notebook keeping will be emphasized. Also listed as BIOL 171.

Units: 1
Degree Credit
Letter Grade Only
  • Lab hours/semester: 48-54
Prerequisites: Completion, of or concurrent enrollment in, BTEC 170 or equivalent.
Corequisites: None
Transfer Credit: CSU (CSU GE Area B3), UC
W 3:10pm-5:50pm Touneh, K
Online Class OPEN BTEC 210 - 47567 - Bus/Reg Practices in Biotech
BTEC 210 Business and Regulatory Practices in Biotechnology

An examination of how basic business practices and good manufacturing procedures assure the quality and safety of a product as it is manufactured in the biotechnology production pipeline. The course specifically explores the role of government oversight and regulation during all phases of drug discovery, development and manufacturing.

Units: 3
Degree Credit
Letter Grade Only
  • Lecture hours/semester: 48-54
  • TBA hours/semester: 16-18
  • Homework hours/semester: 80-90
Prerequisites: BTEC 400 or equivalent.
Corequisites: None
Transfer Credit: CSU
TBA Kapp, N
Day Class  Hybrid Class OPEN BTEC 220 - 46530 - Cell Culture/Protein Recovery
BTEC 220 Cell Culture and Protein Recovery

Allows students to develop the skills needed to serve as a technician in biotechnology production. Students grow and monitor cells and participate in downstream purification on a laboratory scale that emulates the large-scale production used in industry. The course emphasizes the use of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), current Good Laboratory Practices (cGLP), and students gain experience following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Units: 4
Degree Credit
Letter Grade Only
  • Lecture hours/semester: 32-36
  • Lab hours/semester: 96-108
  • TBA hours/semester: 16-18
  • Homework hours/semester: 48-54
Prerequisites: BTEC 170 or equivalent.
Corequisites: None
Transfer Credit: CSU
M 11:10am-4:30pm Afshar, G
Day Class  Hybrid Class OPEN BTEC 220 - 46530 - Cell Culture/Protein Recovery
BTEC 220 Cell Culture and Protein Recovery

Allows students to develop the skills needed to serve as a technician in biotechnology production. Students grow and monitor cells and participate in downstream purification on a laboratory scale that emulates the large-scale production used in industry. The course emphasizes the use of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), current Good Laboratory Practices (cGLP), and students gain experience following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Units: 4
Degree Credit
Letter Grade Only
  • Lecture hours/semester: 32-36
  • Lab hours/semester: 96-108
  • TBA hours/semester: 16-18
  • Homework hours/semester: 48-54
Prerequisites: BTEC 170 or equivalent.
Corequisites: None
Transfer Credit: CSU
TBA Afshar, G
Day Class   OPEN BTEC 400 - 48212 - Foundations of Biotechnology
BTEC 400 FOUNDATIONS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY (2)
(Pass/No Pass or letter grade.)
Hours/semester: 16-18 lecture/48-54 lab. Recommended: Eligibility for ENGL 846 or ESOL 400, or equivalent.
Overview of the origin and development of biotechnology and the bioscience industries. Includes cell growth, medical and food products produced by or impacted by biotechnology, and career opportunities in biotechnology. Also includes laboratory experience with bioreactors and making products. Transfer credit: CSU.

W 12:10pm-2:50pm Touneh, K
Day Class   OPEN BTEC 400 - 48212 - Foundations of Biotechnology
BTEC 400 FOUNDATIONS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY (2)
(Pass/No Pass or letter grade.)
Hours/semester: 16-18 lecture/48-54 lab. Recommended: Eligibility for ENGL 846 or ESOL 400, or equivalent.
Overview of the origin and development of biotechnology and the bioscience industries. Includes cell growth, medical and food products produced by or impacted by biotechnology, and career opportunities in biotechnology. Also includes laboratory experience with bioreactors and making products. Transfer credit: CSU.

TBA Touneh, K

Video Resources

The following videos can help deepen your understanding of the Biotechnology field:

  • Bioprocessing Instructional Videos:
  • Transfer Resources

    The Biotechnology AS degree from Skyline prepares students for transfer to the following BS programs:

    Solano College: BS in Biomanufacturing

    MiraCosta College: BS in Biomanufacturing

    Primary Contact

    Nadia Tariq
    Nadia Tariq (Program Services Coordinator - Respiratory Care)
    Science|Math|Technology-Respiratory Care (RPTH)
    tariqn@smccd.edu More details »

    Department Faculty

    Nick Kapp
    Nick Kapp (Professor)
    Science|Math|Technology-Biology (BIOL)
    kapp@smccd.edu More details »
    Kwame Thomas
    Kwame Thomas (ASTEP Counselor)
    Student Services-Counseling
    thomask@smccd.edu
    BLDG 19
    More details »
    Lorraine DeMello
    Lorraine DeMello (Counselor / Associate Professor)
    Student Services-Counseling
    demellol@smccd.edu More details »

    Division Contacts

    Jing Folsom
    Jing Folsom (Acting Dean of STEM)
    Science|Math|Technology-Division Office
    folsomj@smccd.edu
    BLDG 7A-130A
    More details »