Professional profiles at Fraunhofer IZI
Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI
- © Fraunhofer IZI
The scientific staff members are the essential resource of any research institution. Their major tasks are research and development. With their knowledge and creativity, they have to find solutions to problems by developing innovative technologies.
Experienced research assistants who have already been proven as project leaders can work their way up, for example to become a head of unit.
As a head of unit, their responsibilities grow. In addition to research and development tasks they are also responsible for leadership, budget management and acquisition of third-party funds.
A unit typically has between 5 and 10 employees.
To work as a research assistant you have to meet the following requirements:
- general qualification for university entrance
- completed academic studies (diploma, master)
- optionally: conferral of a doctorate
The professional aptitude is determined by the requirements of the job.
The specializations and capabilities of biotechnologists are very diverse. Following the acquisition of basic skills during academic studies, specialized knowledge can be obtained in the fields of chemistry and bioreactors, immunochemistry, enzyme technology, bioprocess technology, pharmaceuticals, ecology of microorganisms, technical biochemistry, genetics, disease and treatment of organs, clinical testing of drugs, cell culture technology, and legal foundations of biotechnology.
Another domain of biotechnologists is quality assurance and quality management. The Fraunhofer IZI is equipped with a modern GMP manufacturing facility where projects in the field of drug manufacture and quality control can be realized in accordance with the quality standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
In particular, these tasks comprise maintenance and further development of existing quality management systems in accordance with the European GMP guidelines for medical products and the coordination of validation and qualification work. Further tasks include the handling of projects around the GMP-compliant manufacture and quality control of cell therapeutics and the design of manufacturing processes and quality controls. Preparing required documentations, writing standard operating procedures (SOPs), as well as practical laboratory work is also part of the job.
As a biotechnologist you work in a team together with the head of unit and the technical assistants who support the practical routine work in the laboratory. The position offers a mix of technical and biological contents, combined with practical work in the laboratory. However, it should not be forgotten that the position is associated with very high demands on documentation. Therefore, you should have excellent organizational skills and a high degree of reliability and accuracy.
Biotechnology can be studied in colleges and universities. The study course can be chosen as an independent branch of study or as a specialization within agriculture, biology, chemical engineering and other courses.
Laboratory / Technical assistant
Laboratory technicians handle the different working methods for analyzing organisms – plant, animal or human. For example, they isolate cells, get them growing on special culture media and examine them. They further compare and examine the structure of viruses or bacteria with the help of microscopes.
In biochemical experiments, they put cells, proteins and blood or tissue samples in chemical solutions and test their reaction. They also breed parasites and pests in order to study them. In animal studies, they prepare animals for surgery, take blood and tissue samples or inject the animals with drugs.
Experiments in the field of genetic engineering can be one of their further tasks. If they work in pharmacology, they deal with the interaction between drugs and organisms.
In safety pharmacology, they test side effects of drugs in the development phase. Laboratory technicians use laboratory-specific computers for planning their studies and analyzing the test results.
Laboratory technicians are required to have good organizational skills and to work independently and reliably.
The education of a laboratory / technical assistant is regulated in the Vocational Education Law (Berufsbildungsgesetz). It is controlled nationwide and takes 3 1/2 years. Practical trainings are offered by companies and research institutions. As the educational structure is very flexible it is possible to choose between several professional qualification units. Even a school education is possible.
Medical-technical laboratory assistants
Medical-technical laboratory assistants conduct examinations of tissues and body fluids such as blood, emiction and gastric juice. The results are used to detect diseases at an early stage, to treat or to prevent them. Medical-technical laboratory assistants carry out such investigations in the fields of clinical chemistry, hematology / serology, histology / cytology and microbiology.
They take samples and prepare them for examination, thereby assisting physicians and doctors. For example, they create tissue or pathogen cultures and centrifuged liquids.
Furthermore they carry out tests and measurements on samples, for example to test their quality or to test them for potential pathogens. The chemical and medical analyses are the basis for clinical diagnostics. Therefore, they check the progress of investigations and document the results with the utmost care. They also care for the observance of hygiene rules and sterilize equipment and instruments.
Medical-technical laboratory assistants are required to have good organizational skills and to work independently and reliably.
The training of Medical-technical laboratory assistants is regulated in the Vocational Education Law (Berufsbildungsgesetz). It is controlled nationwide and takes three years. Practical trainings are offered from companies and research institutions.