The department of biotechnology was set up in 2002. The Biotechnology Department has been funded by the DBT (Dept. of Biotechnology, Government of India) Star College scheme since 2014 and was elevated to Star Status grants in 2018. The department is also funded by the Govt of Karnataka Vision Group for Science and Technology (VGST) through the Centre of Innovation in Science, Engineering and Education (CISEE) Grant’s project to augment science teaching at undergraduate level. The department has also received research grants sanctioned to its teachers from the University Grants Commission (UGC). The department also collaborates with the Seattle University, a Jesuit University in USA, to conduct a joint course on biodiversity and environmental health, involving students and faculty of St. Joseph’s and Seattle University.
The Centre for Biotechnological Research offers use of laboratory facilities to outside researchers at a nominal bench fee. The laboratory is well equipped to conduct research in microbial screening and identification, plant phytochemistry, plant tissue culture, molecular marker technology, Drosophila based assays and Bioinformatics. Laboratories are equipped with PCR, Gel documentation units, ice flakers units, biofermentor, live screening camera, LAF hoods, deep freezers, UV spectrometer, water and air quality parameter testing apparatus among others. The department has a robust curriculum with well-designed practical sessions to compliment theoretical concepts. The students are encouraged to conduct independent experiments which instill research/ inquiry acumen early in the learning process. The department has also recorded videos to assist in student learning. Industrial visits and projects reinforce learning. The department offers certificate courses in Plant Phytochemical analysis and Research Based Learning. In addition to conventional lectures methods, the department embraces alternative teaching- learning pedagogy such as project-based learning, computer assisted learning, experiential learning, research based learning and other ICT enabled technologies to enhance learning outcomes. The department conducts several conferences and workshops. Students participate in in-house activities as well as symposiums outside. Entrepreneurship, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics are integrated in the curriculum in addition to the allied subjects of Biotechnology. Course material is made available to weaker students. The department is committed to enhancing teacher- student interaction as these reinforce and better learning outcomes.