Biology

Biologists study living organisms at levels ranging from specific molecules to entire populations, as well as their relationship to the environment. Biological research can be basic or applied. The former is conducted with the main goal of expanding human knowledge, whereas the latter aims to solve a particular problem. science jobs in this field range from faculty positions at universities, requiring a PhD, to research assistants who assist scientists and work both in labs and in the field to collect data and perform experiments, requiring only a bachelor's degree.

Scientists engaged in basic research work in government, university, or private industry laboratories and frequently contribute to solving health-related problems and to improving the environment. Research conducted by basic researchers is generally funded by federal government agencies such as the NIH and NSF, as well as universities and private foundations. Scientists engaged in basic research must write grants to obtain funding for their projects.

Biologists working in applied research or product development utilize the data generated by basic researchers to develop specific products, such as new drugs and medical diagnostic tests. The research projects these scientists work on are dictated by product marketability. Biological scientists in industry settings often work in teams with engineers and scientists in other disciplines, as well as business managers.

As mentioned above, many biologists work in laboratories using an ever-growing toolkit of technologies to conduct their research. The research is conducted on such basic molecules as DNA and purified proteins or on whole organisms such as mice and corn plants. Some research is conducted outside the laboratory, for example studies of marine flora and fauna by marine biologists are conducted on research vessels.

Most biological scientists will specialize narrowly in the study of a certain type of organism, disease, or even molecular pathway. In addition, biologists also specialize in the approaches and techniques they use to address a problem, though recent technological advances have blurred some of these classifications.

Marine biologists study salt-water organisms, with much work conducted in the study of the biochemical processes that take place inside living cells. Biochemists study the chemical reactions that underlie processes such as metabolism, growth, and reproduction, and the derailment of these processes in diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Biophysicists study the role of physics reactions, such as electrical and mechanical energy, in living organisms. Microbiologists study organisms such as bacteria, algae, or fungi, their role in the environment, and contribution to disease. Botanists conduct research on plants and their environments, while zoologists study the life processes of animals. Finally, ecologists analyze the relationships between organisms and their environment.

The work hours for biologists depend largely on the work environment. While many industry jobs have a 40-50 hour week, many biologists in academia work 60-70 hours a week. Since biologists study living organisms, they are often required to be in the laboratory at odd hours and on weekends.

Employment for biologists is projected to grow 21 percent over the next decade, due in part to the growth of the biotechnology industry. This growth in employment may moderate somewhat as the boom in the biotechnology industry subsides.

In addition to research positions, some biological scientists may find science job opportunities in environmental regulatory agencies, or work in policy advising lawmakers on legislation ranging from environmental protection to bioethics. New industrial applications may also create a demand for biological scientists.