ALEXANDER MONTGOMERY, HND STUDENT 2017/18

“I was drawn to the course as it has been developed in partnership with industry leaders, improving student employability by ensuring learners obtain the desired skills required by organisations active within this field. “

The HND in Industrial Biology is delivered by three further education colleges in Scotland and intended for those wishing to find employment in industrial biotechnology or to progress to further study.

Alexander Montgomery was an IBioIC HND student in 2017/18: “During site visits to the Ingenza Ltd and IBioIC laboratories I was excited to see the techniques which students on the course have been developing being carried out on an industrial scale and I am eager to enter the industry to apply the knowledge and skills that I have developed during my time on the course.”

Alexander talks about his motivation for applying, some of his favourite modules, skills that he has gained and future plans:

“Industrial biotechnology is a significant, emerging approach to tackle challenging issues such as pollution prevention, resource conservation and cost reduction. However, at present there are few institutions which offer the HND Industrial Biotechnology course despite the demand for individuals with a fundamental understanding of techniques used within industry. I was drawn to the HND Industrial Biotechnology course as it has been developed in partnership with industry leaders, improving student employability by ensuring learners obtain the desired skills required by organisations active within this field.

Although cell biology, DNA and genetics and fundamental chemistry have all been enjoyable this year, biochemistry is the class that I was most interested in as it contained an outcome on enzyme kinetics. This year for my research project I am investigating the enzyme kinetics and thermostability of extremozymes isolated from thermophilic microorganisms for application in industrial procedures carried out at high temperature. As part of the course requirements for biochemistry, students conducted practical laboratory work to investigate the effect of temperature on mesophile enzymes and this improved my understanding of the theory relevant to my topic of interest for this year’s research project.
The microbiology theory unit studied in the final block is the module which I am looking forward to completing the most. This class covers the key aspects of microorganisms from all three domains of life; bacteria, archaea and eukarya and addresses the manipulation of environmental conditions to promote cell growth.

The HND Industrial Biotechnology course places emphasis on developing a student’s practical laboratory techniques and skills alongside a theoretical understanding of the concepts being investigated. To date I have developed my aseptic technique when manipulating microorganisms in the laboratory. I now have the ability to create agar nutrient plates and nutrient broths, and isolate single colonies of microorganisms using the streak plate method. I have also gained skills in the transfer of microorganisms between mediums, such as solid to solid, solid to liquid or liquid to liquid transfers. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to develop skills in creating spread plates and carried out antibiotic resistance testing. I now also possess the fundamental skills required for industry such as the ability to complete COSHH assessments, lab diaries and laboratory reports and to organise and analyse data using excel.

As I have already completed a degree in Business Studies at Glasgow Caledonian University I would like to gain employment in industry upon the completion of the HND Industrial Biotechnology course. During site visits to the Ingenza Ltd and IBioIC laboratories I was excited to see the techniques which students on the course have been developing being carried out on an industrial scale and I am eager to enter the industry to apply the knowledge and skills that I have developed during my time on the course.”