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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.

The 2023 summer COOP program is a two weeks and two days paid biotechnology work experience from  June 12 to June 27.  Under supervision of Skyline college faculty, the participating students will follow industry standard procedures to produce quality-controlled products. The products will be used in college biotechnology and local high school science classes. Examples of activities include micropipetting, aseptic technique, plasmid DNA purification, bacteria culture, DNA gel electrophoresis, solution/ media preparation, analysis of the results, documentation and more. 

The students will meet in the lab M-Th 9 am -3 pm. Friday activities will be remote. The program includes:

  • 75 hours of paid work at $16/hour
  • One COOP college credit
  • Hands-on laboratory experience
  • Discussions of the related scientific concepts
  • Interactions with biotechnology professionals
  • Exploration of careers in biotechnology

Application deadlineWednesday, May 3rd

Students will be notified by May 10th.

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Goli Afshar

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
Michael Fuller Biotechnology Instructor, Program Lead of BABEC Skyline College
Ying-Tsu Loh, PhD Executive Director BABEC
Jing Folsom, PhD Acting Dean of STEM Division, Biotechnology Instructor Skyline College
Golnar Afshar Biotechnology Instructor Skyline College & CCSF
Alex Fuentes Interim Project Director for Dual Enrollment  Skyline College
Rocky Ng Biotechnology Instructor South San Francisco High School & Skyline College
Arlyne Bautista Alumni & Master's Graduate Exact Sciences
Priscilla Sanchez Alumni & Research Data Analyst UCSF
Bryony Ruegg Director, BABEC Board Member Bio-Rad Explorer Program
Kevin Recinos Current Biotech Student Guardian Health Biorepository Handler
Christopher Kan Director of Business Development Sampling Human
Angela Consani Executive Director BCSI Microbadging
Andrew Mulato Senior Research Scientist Gilead Sciences
Mona Shah Project Manager of Summer and GMP Program Stanford Laboratory for Cell & Gene Medicine
Chang Dou Bioprocess Analytical Chemist ABPDU
Paul Escalante Senior Business Development Manager Kelly Science & Clinical
Raimundo Romero MSAT Scientist Lonza Biologics
Patrick Beatty Investor, President Board of Ignited Education
Sandra Mikolaski External Evaluator NSF ATE Grant
Manjari Wijenaike External Evaluator NSF ATE Grant
Shin Kiyohara Consultant Bay Area American Society of Quality
Sylwia Palczewska Program Manager for Workforce and Talent Biocom Institute

Agendas and Minutes

Agendas Minutes
March 19, 2024 March 19, 2024
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 7-130


Summer 2024 Courses  |  Fall 2024 Courses

There are no classes offered during this semester.

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

    Shruti Ranade
    Shruti Ranade (Program Service Coordinator)
    Science|Math|Technology-STEM Division More details »

    Department Faculty

    Nick Kapp
    Nick Kapp (Professor)
    Science|Math|Technology-Biology (BIOL) More details »
    Kwame Thomas
    Kwame Thomas (Counselor)
    Student Services-Counseling
    BLDG 19
    More details »
    Lorraine DeMello
    Lorraine DeMello (Counselor / Associate Professor)
    Student Services-Counseling More details »

    Division Contacts

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