Biohacking the future: careers in biomedical science

Amelia Luu
Amelia Luu studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechatronics) at QUT and is now a robotics field engineer at CSIRO.

A biomedical science career combines new medical discoveries and cutting-edge technology to ensure we all live happy and healthy lives

Biomedical science is about how the body works and how we evaluate, diagnose and treat illnesses. Through biomedical science, scientists have developed vaccines, antibiotics and stem cell therapies.

Now, they’re even using science and tech to optimise our bodies. “Biohacking” could mean something as simple as how you fuel your body, think: personalised nutrition, where you tailor your diet to your genetics. Or it might mean a sci-fi upgrade. For people who have lost limbs, bionic arms and legs connected to the nervous system are already transforming lives. This is where biomedical science works to combine and understand the interface of robotics and health.

Siri, download health hacks

QUT researchers are at the forefront of this biomedical and robotics revolution. For example, a team led by Professor Prashant Sonar recently looked into the potential of bioelectronic devices made of soft organic materials within the human body to constantly monitor our health. Meanwhile, Professor Yin Xiao is searching for novel

bone regeneration techniques to prevent and cure bone and joint diseases. And, on the robotics side, Professor Ross Crawford is a leading orthopaedic surgeon revolutionising surgery using robotics, having performed Australia’s first robotic hip replacement surgery in 2016.

There are also innovators like Professor Jonathan Roberts who are designing robots to perform jobs humans find dull, dirty and dangerous. He and his colleagues are developing new ways to manufacture medical devices using collaborative robots.

Pick your degree

Want to qualify at the cutting edge of biotech across nutrition, agriculture and sustainability? A Biology major in the Bachelor of Science will see you coming up with ideas for future foods and new proteins made using synthetic biology and precision fermentation and designed to be super nutritious, nutraceutical and bioactive. Or, you could be engineering plants with vitamin boosts to help them survive harsh environmental conditions due to climate change. QUT researchers have also been working with BlockTexx on textile recovery technology, helping to make use of fashion waste, and are now building a $5M textile waste facility in Queensland!

QUT’s Bachelor of Biomedical Science course offers students the opportunity to major in five distinct disciplines: anatomy, physiology (and pharmacology in third year), cell and molecular biotechnology, infection and immunity and biochemistry, plus an honours year option.

This means you gain a solid grounding if you want to pursue medicine or allied health courses like physiotherapy, dentistry or osteopathy once you graduate. But you also receive critical scientific training, and hands-on learning in research-ready facilities, across a wider range of topics.

The Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Medical) prepares you for a career at Australia’s number one research institution for biomedical technology as a medical engineer, you could design artificial limbs and create robots that perform life-saving surgery.

The Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science offers accredited units and professional placements if you want to become a medical laboratory scientist and carry out tests that assess, diagnose and monitor health status.

The Bachelor of Science Advanced (Honours) (Chemistry) is for you if you have a passion for chemistry. Get straight into analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry during the course.

The Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences) provides a strong foundation in the core sciences such as physiology, genetics, zoology and microbiology.

The Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechatronics) introduces you to the high-tech field of automated systems and robotics, with at least 60 days of experience working in industry.

Infectious diseases

COVID-19 has highlighted how important breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment
of infectious diseases are to global health. Gaining the knowledge and the skills in laboratory techniques, you could lead research in infectious diseases to find solutions for emerging pathogens, and work on drug design and development. Or you could advise the government for better health management, or educate the public on how to avoid infection.

Degree: Bachelor of Biomedical Science, major in infection and immunity

Data

Understanding public health, the causes of disease and the development of new approaches to treatment increasingly calls for experts in bioinformatics, computer science and statistical modelling. Gaining knowledge in both biomedical science and data analytics, you could become a data scientist or statistician who spots patterns in data (or trains artificial intelligence to spot patterns) that give new insight into health issues. And, you can learn how to integrate measurements of human biochemistry with advanced data mining techniques.

Degree: Bachelor of Biomedical Science / Master of Data Analytics

Start your career here

Biomedical Science Study

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science
  • Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
  • Bachelor of Science Advanced (Honours) (Chemistry)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Medical)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechatronics)

Biomedical Science Jobs

  • Biochemist: $55K–$102K
  • Biomedical scientist: $41K–$99K
  • Clinical laboratory scientist: $56K–$91K
  • Robotics engineer: $59K–$108K
  • Biomedical engineer: $55K–$93K

Salaries according to payscale.com

Biomedical science role models

This article was created in partnership with QUT and originally appears in the QUT STEM Guide 2022.

Ben Skuse

Author: Ben Skuse

Ben Skuse is a UK-based former mathematician turned professional science writer, who has written for the Careers with STEM magazines for over 5 years. You can follow him on Twitter @BenSkuseSciComm.

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