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Biotech. Research Thrusts of IITs
(05-21-2013, 12:38 PM)SunilNagpal Wrote: In the last few years, the academic domain of Biotechnology sector has seen some real boom in India. A rat race can be seen among various private institutes in offering a variety of Biotechnology courses/diplomas/degrees. The surge is really high in the "quantity" of institutes, but the "quality" is offered by very Few! And, among all the big names in educational sector, IITs (Indian Institute of Technology group) stand tall as the dream destination for every student (Biotech Students are No Exception!). The quality they offer, and added to that the brand name of IITs take a student on a path to a bright and proud scientific/business career.

Here in this article, my focus would be on highlighting,"What IITs have in offering for Biotechnology students/aspirants?". The research thrusts of various IITs (Top 7) will be en-lighted herein:

Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi):
Starting with IIT Delhi (my Alma mater ), it has a dedicated "Department of Biochemical Engineering & Biotechnology (DBEB)" and "Kusuma School of Biological Sciences".
IIT Delhi is the best place for an aspiring Bioprocess/Biochemical Engineer, that's what DBEB is well renowned for! Ever since the day of it's initiation as long back as 1968 (one can imagine the expertise and reputation of the department), DBEB's research has been focused on industry relevant Bioprocesses and Products. Their experience in Enzyme and Microbial Systems is beyond comparison. They have a unique experience of cultivation of plant cells in big bioreactors (3-15L), commercialization of biofertilizers, bio-ethanol production, working on Nano-particle mediated drug delivery, application of molecular motors. They are one of the oldest experts in Bioprocess Modelling & Simuation too. The state-of-art facilities at DBEB include high through-put molecular biology equipments, a wide range of bioreactors (have a dedicated pilot plant with 300-1000L reactors), whole range of upstream and downstream processing instruments  etc. Here's a link to the DBEB Departmental Website of IIT Delhi: DBEB IIT DELHI

The Kusuma School of Biological Sciences at IITD, is a rather new establishment (2008) and has core molecular level, structural level and system level research thrusts. It's famous for research on healthcare/disease prospects through emphasis on signal transduction, chemical biology, virology, immunology and computational biology etc. Here's a link to Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, IITD: KSB

Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT Bombay)
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is the place if being a Biomedical Engineer is what you aspire the most. Hard core research on cancer biology, nano-medicine, nano-robots, prosthetics, biomedical instruments is done at Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering (DBSBE) IITB. Though they have expertise on bioprocessing too viz. fungal cultivation for enzymes, use of plug-flow reactors etc, their expertise in Biomedical Engineering is incomparable. Recently in Jan 2012, IITB inaugurated Wadhwani Research Centre in Biosciences and Bioengineering (WRCBB), with an aim to upthrust the research prospectives of DBSBE in cancer research. WRCBB will be focussing on Cell Motility and Cancer Invasion apart from the core thrusts of DBSBE.DBSBE IITB

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras)
Founded in 2004, the Department of Biotechnology of IIT Madras has wide range of research thrusts viz. Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Computational Neuroscience, Biochemical and Bioprocess Engineering, Stem Cells and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Drug Designing etc. But, their experience in Bioprocess Engineering is quite famous among the industries, and it won't be wrong in saying that after IITD, IIT Madras shines high in Bioprocess/Biochemical Engineering.
Biotech IITM

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur)
IIT Bomabay and IIT Kanpur share quite a comparative profile in research thrusts. Both the IITs are well known for producing world class Biomedical Engineers. The thrust on Molecular Scale research aimed at cancer therapeutics, Neurobiology of disorders and stress biology, Modelling and dynamic studies of chromosomes etc is very prevalent at IIT Kanpur. Apart from this, their focus is on Bioprocess and Bioremediation too, but it's not as developed and advanced as their expertise in Biomedical Sciences. BSBE IITK

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur)
IIT Kharagpur, like IIT Delhi, has rich interest and focus on Biochemical and Bioprocess Engineering. Their work on Enzyme and Biofuels Technology, Bioenergy, Probiotics and Nutraceuticals, Environmental Biotechnology, Algal Biofuels and Bio-CCS, Biorefinery, Bioprocess Development Modeling & Optimization, Marine Biotechnology, Biohydrogen production processes etc is very well renowned and published in hundreds of research journals (IIT Kgp is rather famous for publications). Apart from the Biochemical Engg., they have good expertise and facilities in Cell based tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, Structural Biology and Protein Chemistry and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.
Biotech. IIT Kgp

Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati)
IIT Guwahati has a wide range of Biotechnical research thrusts, with key focus on molecular scale of developments. Their researches on Hormonal regulation of gene expression, Cell based tissue engineering, Biomaterials, Stem cells, Drug delivery systems, Calcium signaling, DNA repair, Gene Therapy, Expression Cloning (Mammalian Systems, Bionanotechnology, Protein Biochemistry and Biochemical Parasitology etc is well accredited. Their faculty profile in Biochemical Engineering & Modelling is very nice, but their expertise is brilliant in molecular research.
Biotech. IITG

Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee)
IIT Roorkee's Department of Biotechnology is grouped into various research groups like Molecular Biophysics Group, Molecular Genetics Group , Reproductive Biology Group, Plant Biotechnology Group , Microbial Biotechnology Group, Molecular Biology & Proteomics Group etc. The core-thrust has again been molecular scale research here too. For some unknown reasons, most students are unaware of IIT Roorkee's Biotechnology expertise which dates back to 1980. Their biotechnology lab facilities are state of art, and research prospectives are bright there. Rather, IITR offers a wide range of expertise which makes them quite a flexible research hub.
Biotech IITR

So, this was a very brief overview of the research thrusts of top 7 IITs of India in the field of biotechnology. A specific detail on faculty, students & labs of these IITs may be had from the "Red Links" mentioned at the end of every IIT's detail.

hello sunil sir,
i am btech biotechnology 2016 graduate.i have been preparing for gate 2017 for the past 1 year.result marks 60.03,score 630,rank 134
i have been selected for MSR in IIT MADRAS and i am on the waiting list for MSR in IIT DElhi.
since i am from chennai,IITM is the most preferred one.i have already read your article on the Research areas of various IITs.i have few queries ?
does biochemical engineering have scope in india,sufficient to fetch a job after masters ??what are the most preferred areas that can get me a job immediatelly after masters.i am planning to do PHD but i am not sure of now.
you have been doing a great job of guiding students.i am really grateful to you.thank you per your advice i will try to remain proactive during my course.

[+] 1 user Likes subasuba's post
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Hello Suba,

Congrats for your achievement! Well done!
As long as you wish to pursue a career in core field, Biochemical Engineering has a lot of offer as it is an industry oriented course. The packages for job are not great to start with (6-7 lpa) but the career progression is good. Companies of the likes of Biocon, Wockhardt, Dr Reddy's, Novozymes etc are frequent at IIT Delhi for Biochem MSRs. Getting PhD abroad won't be tough after doing it from IITD. And there are ample research opportunities in this field as well.

If you can get Computational Biology Masters from IITM, I would recommend you to go for that only if you are comfortable with Bioinformatics and computers. Computational Biology has huge huge prospects (probably much more than any field in Biotech). But it can also be a bad decision if you are not good at it. It is always great to be a master of a simple skill than being a mediocre in an outstanding technology. PhD propspects are also brilliant and interesting in this field. There is so much to explore in fact.

I will safely recommend IIT Madras if you are comfortable with informatics. If you are a wet lab lover then opting for related project in IITM or simply going for IITD would be a wise decision.

And believe me, both IITs are hugely respected in the world, so it hardly matters from which institute you pursue the masters. All that matters is what your interests are and what would keep you happy in the future,

Let me know if I can be of any other help

Best wishes

Computational Biology has
Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC

Suggested Reads:
Top Biotech Companies | Top places to work
Indian Biotech Companies and Job Openings
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Careers in Biotechnology | A list of various Options
Biotechnology Competitive Exams in India
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Hey sunil sir ,
could you please share your own placement experience at IIT delhi
Regards ,
Lavkesh Sharma

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thank you very much for your valuable suggestions, sir.
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