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Biotechnology Major

Biotechnology is defined as "any technique that uses living organisms or substances from those organisms to make or modify a product, to improve plants or animals, or to develop microorganisms for specific uses."

What does that mean? A lot. Biotechnology is used in just about every industry and provides an exciting opportunity to put your love of science to work in the business world. 

The Des Moines metro has been named a "biotechnology hub" by the Des Moines Register and a "hub for industry, R&D and Biotech" by Forbes Magazine in 2014. Grand View University offers the only biotechnology four-year degree in a 70-mile radius. Our program is designed to respond to this rapidly growing field in which employers are seeking graduates from four-year institutions.

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Why Grand View?

  • Offer a strong laboratory-based cellular and molecular biology curriculum with emphasis on plant biology.  
  • Faculty will work with you to balance academics and athletics, when necessary
  • Academic training with strong emphasis on a variety of laboratory experiences.
  • Research opportunities abound in recently renovated research labs and a new greenhouse.
  • Students use actual laboratory equipment; Plant ecophysiology research utilizes the industry standard LI-COR 6800 infrared gas analyzer to measure how changes in environmental factors impact the ability of native plants, invasive species, and crops to grow, reproduce, and survive. 
  • The completion of research projects provide students with meaningful experiences which enhance their future success.

Career Options

Biotechnology is an exciting and high tech field that offers a wide variety of professional opportunities such as:

  • Research Associate in industry or academia
  • Microbiologist
  • Vaccine Specialist
  • Soil and Plant Scientist
  • Food Scientist and Technologist
  • Animal Scientist
Course Requirements
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Student Testimonials

Jori AveryJori Avery

“Jori always takes the time to listen to my concerns and help develop a plan of action. She is knowledgeable and loves to share her wisdom. She was recently a student herself so she relates well to students here at GVU.” - Allyssa Angle

Pre-professional Preparation STEM Honors Scholarship DMACC Biotechnology Pathway

GV Degree Combinations

You may also be interested in one or more of the following:

Awards and Accomplishments


  • Published papers in peer reviewed journals and attend national conferences. 
  • Engage in the community by presenting at STEM fairs and working in schools to present science topics.
  • Dr. Merchant used grant funding to teach kids about gardens at local schools as part of educating in the community.


  • Received $100,000 in laboratory equipment in 2017 from the Carver Foundation.
  • Grants have been received from Better Futures for Iowans and the Iowa Science Foundation.
  • Department members have won the Grand View Excellence in Innovation in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Scholarship/Research Award.

Did You Know?

Biotechnology is used to produce foods such as bread, yogurt, soy sauce, cheeses, beer and wine, usually by fermentation. Many fruits and vegetables that we know today were produced by crossing two different species; for example, a nectarine is a cross between a plum and a peach.

Biotechnology is also being used to improve traditional foods called functional foods. Examples include golden rice with vitamin A, soybean oils with less saturated fats and more omega 3, plants with more active vitamin E, potatoes with higher protein content, antioxidants in berries, peanuts without the allergenic protein, naturally decaffeinated coffee and edible vaccines.

Many medicines are produced using biotechnology techniques such as Insulin, Codeine, and cancer therapy drugs. Biotechnology is also important for the environment including advances such as crops resistant to insects and pests allowing for less use of pesticides, using bacteria to clean up oil spills and other contaminants, making ethanol from corn (allowing less use of fossil fuels), as well as producing biodegradable plastics in bacteria.

Biotechnology techniques are used to produce gene therapies and to improve upon techniques of forensics.

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