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School of Applied Sciences and Technology

Biological Sciences Technology Laboratory Research and Biotechnology

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  • Degree - NAIT offers a number of business degrees and applied science and technology degrees accredited by Alberta Advanced Education.
    Applied degree programs offer a stronger emphasis on practical applications of the concepts learned in the classroom
  • Diplomas & Certificates - These credit programs take 1 or 2 years and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.
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Delivery Options

The flexible schedule options for this course including time of day and full/part-time.

  • Day - Courses taking place between Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • Evening/Weekend - Courses taking place on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online - Sometimes called "Home Study" or "Computer-Based Learning"
  • Distance - Traditional correspondence format. These courses work best if you can't get to a campus or if your schedule can't accommodate fixed class times

Length

The average or expected time it will take to complete your program.

Open Studies

Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program.
It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in.

International Students

Program availability may be limited for international applicants. Contact your student advisor for more information.

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced Credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section and on the Transfer Credit Request Form (PDF), your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 7 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of C in the course(s) or program

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR)

If you do not qualify for transfer credit or credential recognition, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) may be an option.

Contact the program for additional information about Advanced Credit.

Learn what it takes to uncover secrets of the biosphere

In the Laboratory Research and Biotechnology 2-year diploma program, you will study biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, cell culture, animal physiology and animal-handling techniques. You’ll also gain a firm understanding of the principles of quality assurance/quality control that are imperative in a lab.

Gain the laboratory skills essential in life sciences and biotechnology and prepare yourself for a rewarding career in research.

By the end of the program you’ll be familiar with how to use and apply current technologies and research methods in animal physiology, molecular biology, cell culture, immunology, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology.  You’ll be shown the importance of effective communication and lab competency, and learn to work safely and efficiently in a team environment.

Employment rates reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and do not guarantee future employment opportunities.

Salaries reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and are not a guarantee of future alumni income.

Hands-on, industry-relevant skills

Our industry is constantly changing. We work with industry partners to ensure the information and skills included in our curriculum is consistent with industry needs and the current job market. 

Skills you'll acquire

During the first semester, you'll acquire skills and knowledge in the general sciences of biology and chemistry, communications, ethics, botany, zoology, genetics, and lab techniques and calculations.

In this program, you will learn how to:

  • Work with DNA, RNA and proteins
  • Culture and identify bacteria and viruses
  • Perform biological and biochemical analyses of cells
  • Conduct cell cloning procedures
  • Perform immunological assays
  • Handle and work with lab animals
  • Perform chemical testing using analytical equipment
  • Perform basic surgical techniques
  • Conduct a gene knock-down study
  • Work safely with radioisotopes
  • Perform a gene expression study using real-time PCR
  • Design and manage a group-based project
  • Use QA/QC principles to obtain accurate and reproducible data
  • Conduct literature searches, perform oral presentations and prepare written reports
  • Consider ethical issues surrounding research questions

Facilities

This program maintains 6 dedicated instructional laboratories for the delivery of program curriculum, supported by a technical support team of 5 skilled and dedicated individuals. These labs contain an extensive inventory of scientific equipment for investigative and instructional purposes.

We also use various lecture and computer facilities throughout the institute.

Enter the workforce with confidence

The Laboratory Research and Biotechnology program provides training for employment in a diverse biotechnology and research lab market. Graduates have been employed in:

  • the biotechnology industry
  • medical research (e.g. cancer, diabetes, cardiac or colitis research)
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • the agriculture and food industry
  • microbiology and virology
  • analytical chemistry labs
  • waste water treatment
  • post-secondary institutions
  • forensics

Is this program right for you?

To be successful in this program, you must be able to demonstrate the ability to work as an efficient member of a team and display strong interpersonal and communication skills. Further training and the continued acquisition of additional specialized skills may be required to fulfill the needs of your employer or position.

Employment opportunities are not always found locally. Therefore, you must be willing to relocate to various geographical locations within the province, and perhaps western Canada, to secure employment after graduation.

An important key to obtaining successful employment is being able to promote yourself as an individual, and as a well-trained and valuable technologist.

Have questions? We've got answers 

General program information

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Level 1 Term 1

BIOL1145Laboratory Techniques and Calculations
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Conservation Biology, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, or Laboratory Research and Biotechnology.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the principles and basic procedures used in the laboratory, and laboratory math. Topics include laboratory safety, WHMIS, laboratory calculations, water quality and reagent preparation, operation and maintenance of microscopes, balances, pH meters, spectrophotometers and other related laboratory equipment. Emphasis will be placed on accurate and complete documentation methods.

BIOL1424Biological Diversity
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology with a plan of Laboratory and Research.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course provides an introduction to the major groups of organisms (prokaryotes, protists, plants, fungi, invertebrates, vertebrates): their evolutionary relationships, major adaptations, and reproductive strategies. Topics include the origins of life, evolutionary principles, and embryonic development and life cycles of select organisms. The course also introduces important model organisms used in laboratories and explains their characteristics and how they are used in research. The practical component of the course provides an introduction to the scientific method and techniques for working with live and prepared organisms.

CHEM1632Inorganic and Organic Chemistry in Biology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology Laboratory and Research and Biological Sciences Technology Renewable Resources plan.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on basic inorganic chemistry concepts related to chemical formulas, bonding, aqueous solutions, reactions and equilibrium. The organic chemistry portion of the course focuses on nomenclature, structure and physical and chemical properties of biological and environmentally important organic compounds. Laboratory work includes evaluation of properties, reactions and methods of titration of inorganic chemical materials. To emphasize organic chemistry concepts, laboratory exercises include extraction, identification and synthesis of organic compounds.

COMM1220Communications in the Biological Sciences
  • Course Equivalencies: COMM1105
  • Open Studies: Available

Students will develop their written and oral communication skills by writing, editing, reviewing, and presenting various forms of technical communications including workplace correspondence, short technical reports, and formal technical reports. Students will use MS Office applications to create and import graphs and tables into a document, as well as apply standard formatting conventions, desktop publishing and mail merge functions. Students will also learn to create and use appropriate and effective audio/visual aids to deliver oral presentations during classes.

MICB1560Introduction to Microbiology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL1165
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the tools and methods used to study the microbial world. An overview of the vast diversity of microorganisms is provided as well as a comparison of the distinguishing characteristics of bacteria, archaea, fungi, prions and viruses. Other topics include techniques for cultivating microorganisms, handling and disposing of biohazardous materials, and controlling microbial growth. This course introduces classic strategies used in applied microbiology and environmental microbiology to identify, characterize and quantify microbes.

Level 1 Term 2

BIOC1814Biochemistry
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Laboratory and Research. Pre-Requisites: CHEM1632, BIOL1145.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOC2457
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The course builds on previous concepts from general and organic chemistry to discuss synthesis of biomolecules and the role of structure and chemical properties in determining function. The structure-function connection is further explored by looking at enzyme kinetics and their regulation with an emphasis on energy, carbohydrate, lipid, amino acid and nucleic acid metabolism. The course also has a laboratory component with an emphasis on biomolecule purification and the properties and actions of enzymes.

BIOL1330Introduction to Lab Animal Care
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences program with a plan of Lab and Research.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL2330
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course covers the elements of laboratory animal care and handling. The animal care section of the course is based on the syllabus developed by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. Topics include the ethics of animal use, animal housing, breeding, and handling. The biology and behavior of select species in also discussed. In addition, students will handle animals, care for animals in a facility, and practice simple restraint techniques.

BIOL1774Laboratory Safety and Advanced Techniques
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Lab and Research. Prerequisites: BIOL1145, MICB1560.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course introduces students to principles of Quality Assurance and Quality Control in the laboratory. Additionally students will learn and apply Biosafety, Radiation Safety and Occupational Health and Safety regulations. Students will learn to calibrate and maintain, and correctly use common laboratory equipment and will engage in lab management activities including using LIMS software. Students will also learn about types of advanced microscopy and perform immunofluorescence microscopy.

BIOL1788Introduction to Molecular Biology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Lab and Research. Prerequisite: BIOL1145.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the concepts of recombinant DNA technology and its applications in biotechnology. Differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems will be explored. In the laboratory students will isolate plasmid and genomic DNA, perform transformations, restriction enzyme digests, ligations and electrophoresis. Additionally, PCR techniques and troubleshooting will be covered in detail.

STAT1245Biostatistics
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: BSC1245, BSC245
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This introductory course focuses upon organizing data and selecting appropriate statistical tests for biological data. Descriptive statistics from samples and populations are used to organize raw data from databases into summaries, tables and charts. Confidence intervals for means, proportions and regression lines are calculated and interpreted. Normal, Binomial, Poisson, and Chi Distributions are studied. Fundamental principles of experimental design are explained and applied. Hypothesis tests are conducted on biological data sets with particular focus on career relevant scenarios (traditional non parametric and parametric testing Z test, t-tests, correlations, regressions, one-way and two-way ANOVA, Chi2, post hoc contrasts, etc.,). Analyses are performed manually or using commonly available software with various demo software introduced for awareness.

Level 2 Term 1

BIOL2240Anatomy and Physiology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a specialization of Laboratory and Research. Prerequisite: BIOL1424.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the physiology of various vertebrate systems including the nervous, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Topics will also include the integration of systems to maintain homeostasis and a comparison of different vertebrate systems to one another. Laboratory exercises which stress form and function are comparative in nature using fish, birds and mammals as representative examples.

BIOL2336Cell Culture
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: BIOL1230, BOTA1115.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

A lecture and laboratory course that deals with the basic methodology of cell and organ culture for plant and animal tissues. Laboratory exercises for mammalian cell culture include establishment of primary cell lines, subculture and maintenance of cell lines, cell cloning and characterization, mycoplasma screening, viral culture and plaque assay, as well as cell preservation by freezing. During plant cell culture laboratory exercises, plant callus and explants are regenerated, in addition to protoplast fusion.

BIOL2426Bioinformatics
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a specialization of Laboratory and Research. Prerequisite: BIOL1788.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course provides an introduction to computational biology. Students will be introduced to a variety of software and online databases to explore topics such as nucleic acid and protein sequence analysis (DNA and protein sequence alignment and database searching), protein in silico analysis (including prediction of post-translational modifications and other characteristics), and three dimensional modelling of macromolecules.

BIOL2676Eukaryotic Cell Biology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a specialization of Laboratory and Research. Prerequisites: BIOL1788, BIOC1814.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course provides an introduction to the structure and function of eukaryotic cells at a molecular level. Major topics include cell membranes and organelles, transport, the cytoskeleton and cell movement, regulation of chromatin structure and gene expression, protein folding, cell signaling, cell division, cell death, and oncogenic transformation.

CHEM2369Instrumental Analysis
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: CHEM1104, CHEM1256.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

A lecture/laboratory course dealing with the theory and fundamental laws related to the instrumental analytical areas of spectroscopy, and chromatography. Spectroscopy topics include ultraviolet, visible, infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance, and fluorescence. Chromatography topics include gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, and the combined techniques gas chromatography – mass spectroscopy and liquid chromatography – mass spectroscopy.

MICB1216Principles in Microbiology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisite: BIOL1165.
  • Course Equivalencies: BSC1216, BSC216
  • Open Studies: Not Available

In this course, students build upon the knowledge and skills learned in BIOL1165 – Introductory Microbiology and Genetics. Major topics include prokaryotic cell structure, microbial metabolism, microbial genetics, regulation of gene expression, and the basics of viruses, viroids and prions. In addition, students learn the basic principles of recombinant DNA technology and explore some biotechnological applications of microorganisms. In the laboratory, students build upon their knowledge of basic microbiology laboratory techniques by applying their skills to more advanced applications.

Level 2 Term 2

BIOL2445Surgical Techniques and Radiation Safety
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisite: BIOL2330.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course provides a practical introduction to anesthesia and basic surgery in rodents and to the safe handling of radioactive materials in the laboratory. Students practice common laboratory procedures on mice and rats including aseptic surgical techniques, anesthesia, organ removal, catheterization, and organ bath studies. In addition, students learn about the types and uses of radioactive isotopes, and practice safe handling of radioactive materials.

BIOL2448Immunology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: BIOC2457, BIOL2330.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This immunology course stresses the fundamental concepts of innate and specific immunity, including the biology of lymphocytes, the structure and diversity of antibodies, the applications of immunoassays, and clinical immunology such as hypersensitivity, immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders. Laboratory exercises involve cell differentials, purification of immune sera, agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and staining of proteins, Western blotting and a variety of immunoassays including precipitations, agglutinations, immunodiffusions and ELISA. Course Credits: 3

BIOL2560Advanced Molecular Biology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a specialization of Laboratory and Research. Prerequisite: BIOL2426.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL2442
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Building on the concepts of BIOL1788 and BIOL2426, this course will provide students with a foundation in practical aspects of computational biology (bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics) PCR primer design and optimization will be covered in theory and practice. The relevance of PCR will be highlighted with several applications of this technique including DNA sequencing, scanning mutagenesis, cloning and subcloning and gene expression analysis. Techniques for, gene editing and epigenetic modification measurement will be discussed.

BIOL2831Biotechnology Project
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Science Technology - Laboratory and Research program. Prerequisite: Completion of level 3.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL2401A
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is designed to give students experience in researching and presenting scientific literature, designing and creating a research proposal, and implementing a research project. Students conduct their research and write a technical paper summarizing their results as part of a team.

BISC1344Professional Practices in Biotechnology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology - Laboratory and Research program.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Interpersonal and teamwork skills required in the workplace will be developed through various activities; peer evaluation will be implemented to assess these skills. Safe work practices and professional behaviour related to the biotechnology field will be discussed and demonstrated within the classroom setting. Students will investigate organizations and publications relevant to research in the biotechnology field, and will demonstrate knowledge of ethics in the biological research field. Organisational behaviour, time management, prioritization, budgeting, and other aspects of today’s workplace will be explored.

MICB2333Applied Microbiology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisite: MICB1216.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

A theory and laboratory course that deals with applications of microbiology in industry and research. Topic areas include growth and fermentation technology, sampling, isolation, enrichment and enumeration methods, food and water microbiology, viruses, bioremediation, toxicity testing methods, quality assurance in microbiology and HACCP.

Tuition

Cost Per Credit: $180
Tuition Cap: $1,940

Tuition for International Students

Cost Per Credit: $567
Tuition Cap: $6,111

Mandatory Fees

NAITSA: $129
U-Pass: $175
Health & Dental: $128
Rec. & Athletics: $70

Pay Your Tuition & Fees
How much will first year cost?

Books, Supplies & Program Fees (est.)

Level 1 Term 1: $925
Level 1 Term 2: $1,025
Level 2 Term 1: $825
Level 2 Term 2: $675

Dates & Deadlines

We recommend submitting your program application at least 90 days before the application deadline.

Application Deadline: Sep 03, 2019

Term Start Date: Sep 03, 2019

Program Availability Status:  

Domestic Applicants: WL
International Applicants: WL

Entrance Requirements

  • Grade 12 English
  • Math 30-1 or 30-2 or Pure Math 30 or Applied Math 30 or Physics 30
  • Chemistry 30
  • Biology 30
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency

Additional Requirements and Considerations

Immunization Requirements: Students are required to have their immunization for Red Measles and Hepatitis B. A form will be provided that must be filled out by a healthcare professional (a Doctor or a Public Health Nurse).

Laptop Requirements:

Students are required to provide their own laptops for the duration of their studies at NAIT. Extensive use of computers in industry has changed how technologists work and additional knowledge and skill are expected from our grads. The NAIT campus provides a wireless environment for students to use. NAIT will also provide a virtual environment (VDI) for the students to access course related software. The VDI model will allow students to access software and work on projects both on and off campus.

Recommended Laptop Requirements:

  • Minimum of 12 inch display (minimum 24-bit colour depth);
  • Intel quad-core i5 - 2.2 GHz minimum
  • 8 GB RAM; 500 GB hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows
  • 2.5" USB 3.0 portable hard drive (for backups)
  • 8 GB USB 3.0 flash drive (16GB or larger recommended)
  • Wireless mouse (Bluetooth preferred)
  • Video/Graphics adaptor 256MB RAM (NVIDIA, ATI, and Intel chipsets supported) may be required.

Notes:

Apple laptops are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. Often there are NO MAC VERSIONS of the required software. Previous semesters have shown that Apple laptops are often incompatible with some of the software we use. Microsoft Office 365 will be provided to students for free. Students are responsible for the service and repair of their own computers. NAIT Tech Support will be available to assist with software licensing and installation issues as much as possible. If you have any questions please contact either the School of Applied Sciences and Technology or our program by email.

Additional Requirements:

  • Power extension cord (minimum 3 meter length)
  • A method for Backup Storage of Files such as online "Cloud" storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or a larger USB external hard drive is recommended
  • Up-to-date Virus protection for your computer.

Apply to Program

Apply to the program with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application process. Please note, processing time may vary for applicants, so we recommend starting early.

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Open Studies

A great option to get started or take a few courses without committing to a full program. Learn more

International Students

This program is open to international applicants. For more detailed information about applying, visit our admissions page. Learn more

Legend

Term Definition
Open Program still has seats available.
Waitlisting Program is full and qualified applicants are being placed on a waitlist. For information about waitlists, please visit the Waitlist FAQs.

If you’re on a non-competitive waitlist, you should consider NAIT’s Academic Upgrading program or NAIT Equivalency Tests to become a more competitive applicant.

There is no guarantee that waitlisted applicants will be offered a seat, however it is common for seats to become available until the start of class. As seats become available, they are filled from the waitlist.
Closed Program is no longer accepting applications.
N/A Not available for this term.


*Program availabilty is subject to change without notice.

Scholarships & Awards

NAIT supports over 4,000 students with over $6 million in scholarships and bursaries each year. Many are available for students across a wide range of programs.

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Program intake information

Entry into the Biological Sciences - Laboratory Research and Biotechnology specialization is competitive based on academic performance and will be established using the rankings of your weight-averaged marks upon application.  Due to resource and training considerations, the program maintains a second-year enrollment quota of 20 students in the laboratory research and biotechnology program.

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