DEPARTMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

Dean of the department Prof. Levon Markosyan (Scientific and Production Center “Armbiotechnology” NAS of Armenia)

Graduate Program for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in biotechnology designed to develop skills and capability in the practice, research, process-engineering and teaching of this discipline. The goal of the program is to provide understanding of the methods, basic and applied knowledge of main fields of biotechnology for students who plan to be employed in multiple settings, including governmental agencies, universities (teaching and research), R&D institutes and industry.
Students are expected to participate for one semester in a pre-candidacy program of courses and preliminary research before being specialized in a specific area of research. They enjoy a high degree of independence and freedom in the choice and development of research programs, selection of major advisors, and pursuit of dissertation research.

Biotechnology has three branches Microbiological biotechnology (head Prof. L. Markosyan), Innovation in Life Sciences (head Dr. Mary Hrachoohi Bogosian), Instrumentation in Life Sciences (head Dr. Vahagn Poghosyan). 

 

Microbiological biotechnology

Head of the branch Prof. Levon Markosyan (Scientific and Production Center “Armbiotechnology” NAS of Armenia)

We focus on the impact on environmental, agri-food and clinical settings of physiology, antimicrobial resistance, development, evolution, genetics and molecular ecology of biofilms, microbiome communities and infectious prions, as well as life science instrumentation and innovation. 

Core Courses in Biotechnology (15 credits)
1. Micro-organisms as the main objects of biotechnology (2 credits)

Microbial world, its biodiversity, ecology and basic metabolism. Characteristics of different groups of micro-organisms. Advantages for the use of micro-organisms in biotechnology. Substrates for microbiological productions. Main branches of microbiological industry.

2. Microbial population: properties, variability and preservation (2 credits)

  • Microbial growth, variability and physiology of nutrition.
  • Microbial metabolism and biosynthetic patterns.
  • Maintenance, conservation and reproduction of microbial culture, lyophilization, drying and conservation in liquid nitrogen. Peculiarities of the maintenance and conservation of various groups of micro-organisms. Culture collections and Databases.

3. Recombinant DNA technology (2 credits)

Biotechnology tools and techniques: restriction enzymes, vectors, method for inserting foreign DNA into cells. Gene libraries. Selection of clone. Making a gene product. Applications of gene engineering in medical therapy, basic research and industry. Safety issues and the ethics of gene engineering.

4. Cellular engineering (1 credit)

Isolated tissue and cell cultures of plants and animals. Peculiarities of callus cultures. Spheroplasts and protoplasts. Fusion of protoplasts and somatic hybridisation. Hybridom technology, obtaining of monoclonal antibodies.

5. Process-engineering in biotechnology (2 credits)

Physiology of nutrition as a background for cultivation of micro-organisms. Extremophilic forms. Regulation of growth and biosynthetic processes. Scaling-up and optimization of fermentation. Certification of products. The use of immobilized microbial cells and enzymes for production of amino acids, antibiotics, hormones, alcohols, etc.

6. Biotechnological productions (2 credits)

Microbial biomass, single-cell protein. Production of amino acids, vitamins, hormones, organic acids, antibiotics, enzymes. Microbial pesticides and fertilisers. Production of fuels. Bacterial leaching of metals.

7. Biocatalysis and biotransformation (2 credits)

  • Regulation of enzyme synthesis. Immobilized cells and enzymes, their properties and uses. Membrane technology  and its application for immobilized systems.
  • Characteristics of industrially used microbial transformations for production of food, feed and biologically active substances.
  • The use of immobilised microbial cells and enzymes for production of amino acids, antibiotics, hormones, alcohols, etc.

8. Biotechnology and environment protection (2 credits)

  • Microbial deterioration of synthetic polymers. Characteristic of microbial biodegradants and creation of Databases. Criteria for biostable materials.
  • Biotechnology of waste treatment: industrial and agricultural wastes. Anaerobic fermentation and bio-gas production.
  • Biotechnology and energy production: biomass to energy, production of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels.
  • Ecology and biotechnology. 

Supporting Courses in Biotechnology (16 credits)

1. Biotechnology of food production (6 credits)

Single cell protein from hydrocarbons. Microbiological treatment and protein enrichment of cellulosic and starchy materials. Microalgae and their use for production of SCP.

Characteristics of main groups of micro-organisms perspective for production of SCP.

Bacteriological production of saccharides from cellulose and starch: glucose-fructose syrup and fructose production.

Topinambur and inulin-containing plants as a source for production of fructose, fructose-glucose syrup, feed protein and ethanol process-engineering and production characteristics. LEC, LAB.

2. Bacterial insecticides (2 credits)

Characteristics of main groups of bacteria for production of insecticides. Mechanisms of insecticide action.

Process-engineering of production and product specification. Use of preparations.

Preparative forms and combined use with chemical insecticides. Preparations from viruses, fungi and nematodes. LEC, LAB.

3. Biotechnology of amino acid production (4 credits)

Chemistry and biochemistry of amino acids. Amino acid producing strains. Raw materials. Quality of amino acids. Comparison and choice of method for amino acid production. Economics of amino acid production. Utilisation of secondary products of amino acid manufacturing. LEC, LAB.

4. Biotechnology and environment (2 credits)

Microbial deterioration of synthetic polymers. Characteristic of microbial biodegradants and creation of Databases. Criteria for biostable materials.

Biotechnology of waste treatment: industrial and agricultural wastes. Anaerobic fermentation and biogas production.

Biotechnology and energy production: biomass to energy, production of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels.

Ecology and biotechnology. LEC

5. Clonal micropropagation of plants (2 credits)

Methods and stages of clonal micropropagation. Influence of various factors on the process of clonal micropropagation. Somaclonal variability and the problem of genetic stability. Obtaining of health planting material. Peculiarities of clonal micropropagation of ornamental, medicinal, vegetable and arboreous cultures. LEC, LAB

6. Obtaining of transgene plants (2 credits)

Methodology and problems of plant genetic engineering. Plant cell transformation by the Ti-plasmide of Agrobacterium. Direct transfer of genes into the plants. Markers of genetic engineering of plants. Gene expression. Advances of plant genetic engineering. LEC

7. Microbial, plant and animal cells and tissues cultures (4 credits)

Culture collections as microbial resource centres and the background of biotechnological potentials: principles of organisation and international community. Biodiversity and basic approaches for microbial systematics and classification.

Numerical taxonomy, cluster analysis and use of computer technology for identification and differentiation of microbial species. LEC, LAB

8. Immobilised enzymes and cells of micro-organisms (1 credits)

Principles and methods of immobilisation. Bioreactors for immobilised systems and use of membrane technology.

Activation, stabilisation of immobilised systems and regeneration of enzyme co-factors. Biosensors and use of immobilised system for their creation.

Immobilised systems as the background of biocatalysis and biotransformation.

Obtaining of amino and organic acids by immobilised microbial cells and enzymes (methodology and practical realisation). LEC, LAB

9. Biogeotechnology (1 credit)

Chemolithotropic micro-organisms, their ecology, physiology and role in nature.

Bacterial leaching of copper and other metals. LAB

10. The effects of physical factors on higher plants (potato, soy, corn, tomato, etc.) and microorganisms (yeasts, bacteria) and biotechnology of feed and food processing.

  • The Study of the Role of Cell Hydration in Regulation of Microbes sensitivity to toxic effect of chemical factors.  .(credit 1)
  • The Study of Mechanism of non-ionizing radiation effect on plant seeds germination potentials..(credit 1)
  • The study of the nature of metabolic pathway responsible for infrasound sensitivity of sperm membrane and oocytes .(1 credits)

 

Innovation in Life Sciences 

Head of the branch Prof. Mary Hrachoohi Boghosian (Head of Center for Innovation Promotion and Research Yerevan, Armenia)

Innovation is key for business and economic competitiveness. Technology Management is the interdisciplinary field that integrates science, engineering with knowledge of business and management for developing practices, technological advancement, and wealth creation.
The department of “Innovation and Technology Management (I&TM)” Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) degree the goal of which is to prepare future leaders with combined scientific knowledge blended with strategic and economic understanding of innovation. Innovation and Technology Management program is open for all UNESCO/UNITWIN Interregional Network on PhD Education, who wants to sharpen their knowledge and gain practical experience in the field.
Complex business environments require flexible leaders with multidisciplinary knowledge to take risk and flexible role. I&TM program enables the graduates with Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) degree to work in higher-level positions for example as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), or Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) in large high-tech corporations, local and international organizations, government departments, regulatory authorities and public institutions, multi-size business organizations and startups, pursuing innovative research and product development with understanding of the business component of the technology.
Reflecting the charter of the program, the graduates will be suited to work in teams of different sizes of diverse professional experience and multidisciplinary backgrounds on life science, biophysics, and business related issues emphasizing on creative problem solving and technology planning and management.

The Program Goal is to provide students with:

• Multidisciplinary advance knowledge for product commercialization from science investigations.
• Multidisciplinary management skills for efficient innovation and product management.
• Multidisciplinary advance knowledge to work in technology, management and legal fields.
• Ability to perform advanced multidisciplinary research or commercialization.
• Ability to work in international environment and with multidisciplinary teams.
• Ability to optimize business decisions based on creative problem solving.
Learning Outcome.

Graduating students are expected to have gained the following skills and knowledge:

• Identify and explain technology management process
• Identify and explain processes of innovation management.
• Apply theories and processes of innovation development into development of businesses.
• Manage business development based on new technology and product development.
• Learn the process of Intellectual Property management and implications.
• Gain knowledge on legal management of the business and product development.
• Identify processes for new product development and supply chain processes.
• Gain knowledge of business development process, from business plan writing to initial idea generation to product development to Initial Public Offering.
• Apply advance quantitative and qualitative research analysis into producing quality research thesis.
• Ability to conduct independent research, document existing scholarly data, weigh evidence and arguments in a variety of resources.
• Pursue research to support further development in the field of innovation and technology management.
• Identify and evaluate existing problems in the field of I&TM for further research study. And, systematically.
• Identify the outcome of creative thinking in product business development.
• Produce and deliver professional written papers and oral presentations to effectively communicate ideas.
• Produce and deliver professional written papers, reports, and contracts to effectively communicate with professional.
• Be able to lead and manage different projects and programs in all technical, business and legal aspect of the product development to business management.

Core Courses in Innovation and Technology Management (18 credits)

1. Fundamentals of technology management (3 credits) 

This course focuses on the principles of strategy and organization involved in technology choices, guided by the purpose of creating value for stakeholders. Case studies and tools for developing strategies will be discussed and developed for all kinds of technologies and management using examples form different industries. Outcome- student will learn process for technology change (diffusion), technology competition, technology intelligence, technology collaboration strategy, deployment of new products, and deployment of technology in value chain.

2. Fundamentals of innovation management (3 credits)

Introductory course on innovation, practices, supporting processes, and obstacles, and their management skills, identifying and creating preconditions of innovation, building blocks and blockages, building innovation team and organization alignment, innovation motivators, and innovation as value creation in all walks of life, including construction and architecture.

3. Science and supply chain management (3 credits)

Information operation management, optimization and supply chain management play key role for organization and business management, through achieving operational excellence, developing new product and service, developing new business models, and improving decision making process. This course provides the essential, and relevant knowledge on how to effectively use information systems in business management.

4. Technology venture development (3 credits)

This course will integrate entrepreneurship skills and technology management theories and practical concepts to design develop and run successful venture. This course will provide action oriented approach through tools necessary for success in starting and growing technology enterprises. This subject will be taught based on business cases, examples, and business plans.

5. Ethics and business law (3 credits)

Every business has to follow laws of local and international ethics. This course will explore the details. It will also will distinguish between codes of conduct. what strategies are for both.  

6. Intellectual property management (3 credits)

What is intellectual property (IP) protection and management, what is it consists of, why is IP important for the technologist and the business, and why and how it should be managed. This course will provide the role of (IP) protection including copyright, information privacy, patent law, trademark, branding, etc within processes of innovation and technology management.

7. Innovation, technology and international law

International law responds, regulates and promotes new technologies in different ways. This course explores the details of legal issues and regulatory responses arising from new emerging technology development, commercialization and or transfer on societies. Law, market, and technology, student will learn effect of technology development on society’s ability to reap rewards through legal and judicial processes, which will also be examined.

Supporting Courses in Innovation and Technology Management (13 credits)

1. Commercialization & technology transfer (3 credits)

Having broad understanding of both Commercialization and Technology Transfer is critical for both technologists and lawyers. This course will cover details and dependencies of these two important process during the life of technology development and marketing.

2.Recent technologies and law & policy

In today’s technology development world understanding the legal landscape is important. Both technologists and lawyers need to understand that technology and law intersect and both should understand each other language and domain. This course will refer to understanding laws and policies in place for Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, IT and digital communication, Cyber law and national security, Cryptocurrencies and blockchain, Big Data and more.

3. Venture development laws & emerging growth companies

This course covers the legal and business issues during venture development and that arise in the context of representing emerging growth companies. In particular, the course will focus on the legal issues typically encountered by private companies at formation, financing, operation and key corporate events, including acquisition transactions and public offerings. Topics covered include corporate formation and governance, venture capital financing, employment and equity compensation matters, protection of intellectual property, securities laws compliance, debt financing and exit strategies through merger, acquisition or initial public offering. The course will offer an introduction to these topics through the eyes of attorneys who practice in a Silicon Valley-based law firm active in the East Coast technology and life sciences market and will also include guest presentations by industry participants, such as venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs. The course will include a practice exercise designed to introduce students, working in practice teams, to the process of structuring and executing venture capital transactions.

4. Project and program management

This course provide knowledge on projects and programs and management tool and processes, including time and schedule management, team and cost management, organizational design, strategic context of projects, project prioritization, project evaluation, and stakeholders’ management.

5. Resource management

Resources needed for innovation and technology development are all around us, they need to be detected, sensed and harnessed for proper management. This course will provide details on the how, where, and when to manage resources strategically, including human capital.

6. Business management

This course is a general overview of business management for engineering, scientists and technologists, including management styles, engineering resources, quality, materials, design and new product, and organizations.

7. Creativity and technology innovation

This course introduces students to the elements of Creativity and derived Technological Innovations; creative mind, visualization, teamwork, communication, and creativity blocks, problem solving process, concepts and applications leading to technological innovations. The course provides Creative Problem Solving techniques applied to technological innovations.

8. Product design, development and marketing

This course describes how a product has been designed, developed and marketed using both engineering design and market analysis. This is group project based course. Final exam is a group presentation.

9. Invention, innovation & entrepreneurship

This course describes how to take scientific idea to commercially viable product. This is a project based course, based on group work where students teams first develops and idea, then takes the idea to product, then applies all the entrepreneurs’ processes to develop profitable company.

10. Venture development and financing

This course will concentrate on venture development from financing prospective. The kinds of financing mechanisms available for the different kinds of ventures.

11. Entrepreneurship

This course will deal with the essentials of entrepreneurship from attitude to personality of entrepreneurship to managing product innovation processes to managing the entire organization and its innovation positioning.

 

Instrumentation  in Life Sciences 

The subject of research and education is diagnostic therapeutic (and agro technological and environmental control issue) instrumentation.