Careers for Geniuses & Other Gifted Types [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Jan Goldberg
eBook Category: Business
eBook Description: Careers for Geniuses and Other Gifted Types lets career explorers look at the job market through the unique lens of their own interests. The book reveals dozens of ways to pursue a passion and make a living--including many little-known but delightful careers that will surprise readers.
eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies/McGraw-Hill, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2002
Careers in the Biological Sciences
The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking. -- ALBERT EINSTEIN
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Help Wanted -- Research Scientist
Are you looking for a job... or for an opportunity?
Our corporation seeks talented and driven individuals to join its research team developing the next generation of genetic analysis tools. Based in Connecticut and founded on technology licensed from a nearby university, we seek individuals who share our vision of building a world-class organization that will significantly impact humanity through biotechnology. We offer competitive compensation along with excellent benefits, including a 401(k) plan, health insurance, and health club membership in addition to the opportunity for equity participation.
We seek a research scientist who will drive the development of our core technologies through the design, execution, and analysis of experiments and assist in the development of intellectual property for the company. Publication of research findings in peer-reviewed journals will be strongly encouraged.
You must possess expert knowledge of molecular biology and cloning technology with a broad understanding of genetics, biochemistry, and instrumentation. Qualified candidates will possess excellent communication, laboratory, and computational skills. A proven research and publication record and strong analytical skills are necessary. Requires Ph.D. in molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, or related field. Postdoctoral and/or industry experience an advantage but not required. For immediate consideration, please send your resume by mail, fax, or E-mail.
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Welcome to the World of Biological Scientists
Biological scientists are devoted to studying living organisms and their relationships to their environments. Many biological scientists work in the area of research and development. Some conduct basic research to increase our knowledge of living organisms. Others, in applied research, use knowledge provided by basic research to develop new medicines, increase crop yields, and improve the environment.
Biological scientists who conduct research usually work in laboratories using electron microscopes, computers, thermal cyclers, and a wide variety of other equipment. Some of these professionals may conduct experiments on laboratory animals or greenhouse plants.
A number of biological scientists perform a substantial amount of research outside of the laboratory. For example, botanists may conduct research in tropical rain forests to determine what plants grow there, or ecologists may study how forest areas recover after a fire.
Most biological scientists who come under the broad category of biologist can be further classified by the types of organisms they study or by the specific activities they perform, although some of the recent advances in the understanding of basic life processes at the molecular and cellular levels have blurred some traditional classifications.
Aquatic biologists study plants and animals that live in water. Marine biologists study saltwater organisms, and limnologists study freshwater organisms. Marine biologists are sometimes erroneously called oceanographers, but oceanography usually refers to the study of the physical characteristics of oceans and the ocean floor.
Biochemists study the chemical composition of living things. They try to understand the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. Much of the work in biotechnology is done by biochemists and molecular biologists because this technology involves understanding the complex chemistry of life.
Botanists study plants and their environments. Some study all aspects of plant life; others specialize in areas such as identification and classification of plants, the structure and function of plant parts, the biochemistry of plant processes, the causes and cures of plant diseases, and the geological ancestry of plants.
Microbiologists investigate the growth and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Medical microbiologists study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effect of antibiotics on microorganisms. Other microbiologists may specialize in environmental, food, agricultural, or industrial microbiology, virology (the study of viruses), or immunology (the study of mechanisms that fight infections). Many microbiologists use biotechnology as they advance knowledge of cell reproduction and human disease.
Physiologists study life functions of plants and animals, both in the whole organism and at the cellular or molecular level and under normal and abnormal conditions. Physiologists may specialize in functions, such as growth, reproduction, photosynthesis, respiration, or movement, or in the physiology of a certain area or system of the organism.
Zoologists study animals -- their origins, behaviors, diseases, and life processes. Some experiment with live animals in controlled or natural surroundings, while others dissect dead animals to study their structures. Zoologists are usually identified by the animal group they study; for instance, ornithologists focus on birds, mammalogists on mammals, herpetologists on reptiles, and ichthyologists on fish.
Ecologists study the relationship among organisms and between organisms and their environments and the effects of influences such as population size, pollutants, rainfall, temperature, and altitude.
Biological scientists who do biomedical research are usually called medical scientists. Medical scientists working on basic research delve into the functioning of normal biological systems in order to understand the causes of and to discover treatment for diseases and other health problems. Medical scientists often try to identify the kinds of changes in a cell, chromosome, or gene that signal the development of medical problems, such as different types of cancer. After identifying structures of or changes in organisms that provide clues to health problems, medical scientists may then work on the treatment of problems.
For example, a medical scientist involved in cancer research might try to formulate a combination of drugs that will lessen the effects of the disease. Medical scientists who have a medical degree might administer the drugs to patients in clinical trials, monitor their reactions, and observe the results. (Medical scientists who do not have medical degrees normally collaborate with medical doctors who deal directly with patients.) The medical scientists might then return to the laboratory to examine the results and, if necessary, adjust the dosage levels to reduce negative side effects or to try to induce even better results. In addition to using basic research to develop treatments for health problems, medical scientists attempt to discover ways to prevent health problems from developing, such as affirming the link between smoking and increased risk of lung cancer or alcoholism and liver disease.
Advances in basic biological knowledge, especially at the genetic and molecular levels, continue to spur the field of biotechnology forward. Using this technology, biological and medical scientists manipulate the genetic material of animals or plants, attempting to make organisms more productive or disease resistant. The first application of this technology occurred in the medical and pharmaceutical areas. Many substances not previously available in large quantities are now beginning to be produced by biotechnological means, and some may be useful in treating cancer and other diseases. Advances in biotechnology have opened up research opportunities in almost all areas of biology, including commercial applications in agriculture and the food and chemical industries.
Education and Training
Biological scientists who intend to teach at the college level, perform independent research, or serve as administrators are generally required to earn doctoral degrees. Usually master's degrees are sufficient for some jobs in applied research and for jobs in management, inspection, sales, and service. Bachelor's degrees will suffice for some nonresearch jobs.
Sometimes, graduates with bachelor's degrees are able to work in laboratory environments on their own projects, or they may find work as research assistants. Others become biological technicians, medical laboratory technologists, or (with courses in education) high school biology teachers. Many with bachelor's degrees in biology enter medical, dental, veterinary, or other health profession schools.
Most colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in biological science and many offer advanced degrees. Curricula for advanced degrees often emphasize a subfield such as microbiology or botany, but not all universities offer all curricula. Advanced degree programs include classroom and fieldwork, laboratory research, and a thesis or dissertation. Biological scientists who have advanced degrees often take temporary postdoctoral research positions that provide specialized research experience. In private industry, some biological scientists may become managers or administrators; others leave biology for nontechnical managerial, administrative, or sales jobs.
A doctorate in a biological science is the minimum education required for prospective medical scientists because the work of medical scientists is almost entirely research oriented. This degree qualifies one to do research on basic life processes or on particular medical problems or diseases and to analyze and interpret the results of experiments on patients. Medical scientists who administer drug or gene therapy to human patients, or who otherwise interact medically with patients (such as drawing blood, excising tissue, or performing other invasive procedures), must have a medical degree. It is particularly helpful for medical scientists to earn both doctoral and medical degrees.
In addition to a formal education, medical scientists are usually expected to spend several years in postdoctoral positions before they are offered permanent jobs. Postdoctoral work provides valuable laboratory experience, including a background in specific processes and techniques (such as gene splicing) that is transferable to other research projects later on. In some institutions, the postdoctoral position can lead to a permanent position.
Despite prospects of faster-than-average job growth from now through 2006, biological and medical scientists can expect to face considerable competition for coveted basic research positions. More biological scientists will be needed to determine the environmental impact of industry and government actions and to prevent or correct environmental problems. Expected expansion in research related to health issues -- such as AIDS, cancer, Diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease -- should also result in growth.
Copyright © 2001 VGM Career Books