As biological sciences and biotechnology become ever more important sectors of our economy, engineers will be needed to work side by side with life scientists to bring laboratory developments into commercial production. Such industries as plant and animal production, tissue culture, biotechnology, food processing, aquaculture and forest production will all need engineers with strong backgrounds in biology.
Biochemical engineers apply the principles of biology, chemistry, and engineering to produce useful products such as biopharmaceuticals, biofuels, biopolymers and industrial enzymes. Biochemical engineering includes cell culture processes and separation processes for biopharmaceutical production, food processing, biofuels and biological waste treatment. As a biochemical engineering major at UC Davis, you'll learn to grow cells in bioreactors and to separate their products from solutions using the most up-to-date processes and equipment available.
As organisms that sequester carbon and convert solar energy to usable forms, plants are the primary source of food on the planet as well as important buffers against climate change. The plant biology major focuses on fundamental aspects of how plants function as organisms and interact with their environment. A wide variety of scientific disciplines are integrated within the major, including physiology, cell and molecular biology, development, genetics and genomics.
A sea urchin, a gecko, a horse and a human are very different creatures at first glance. Yet each relies on a few basic functions for survival—including growth, reproduction and response to stimuli—that are common to all animals. Students who major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior study these vital processes: their functional mechanisms; the control, regulation and integration of these mechanisms; and the behavior relating to these mechanisms.
The trillions of tiny organisms dwelling around us and within us, far too small to be visible to the naked eye, affect our lives in profound ways. Some are vital to the functioning of our bodies or to aspects of our economy such as food production; others cause destructive diseases in humans or in species of special importance to humans. Microbiologists study the structure, function and environmental importance of bacteria, yeasts and other fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses.
Our oceans account for more than 96 percent of the world's water, and few of the world's coastlines are beyond the influence of human pressures. The interdisciplinary Marine and Coastal Science major highlights the terrestrial-marine interface, coastal issues and human impacts on the marine environment.
Geneticists seek to answer fundamental questions about how organisms inherit characteristics and transmit them to their offspring. Concepts of heredity and evolution are important in many areas of modern science and industry, including biotechnology, medicine and agriculture. As a genetics major, you'll have the opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty members and develop your own interests in preparation for a science career or graduate study.
As an Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity (EEB) major, you will learn about the diversity of life on Earth, including diversity in genes, physiology, shapes, sizes and behaviors. You will learn about how this diversity emerged, as plants, animals, and microbes became adapted to the environment and to each other. And you will learn to predict whether populations of interacting organisms persist over time or become extinct.
Cells—the basic unit of organization of all life—carry out the fundamental processes necessary for organisms to grow, reproduce and negotiate their environments. Cell biologists study these processes and the principles that govern the organization and function of cells within the body. Cell biology integrates principles from many disciplines, including chemistry, physics, genetics, biochemistry and physiology, for a more complete understanding of cell function.
A single nerve cell, transmitting electrical impulses in a continuous chain of stimulus and response. A wind-polished cypress tree, its roots digging deeper into the soil with every passing season. A patient receiving chemotherapy to help target and destroy the cancer invading her body. Each of these situations, and every function of every living being, is within the scope of interest of a major in biological sciences.