How about a career in microbiology?

If you want to remain at the forefront of scientific discovery, molecular life sciences are the subjects you should be studying.  With endless growth opportunities and possibilities that can help you change the entire landscape of humanity, microbiology isn’t your run-of-the-mill career. It is for the special chosen one and if you want yourself to be counted amongst those, this post is the right place to start with.

The key to the world’s most prominent and widespread problems like treatment of cancer, energy crisis and pollution lies in the hands of biochemists and molecular biologists. Most of the elementary discoveries that have made mankind the powerful race which it is right now can be attributed to the hard work and research of microbiologist. Whether it was the discovery of the life-saving drug penicillin by Alexander Fleming or the discovery of Pasteurization by Louis Pasteur, a process which is now widely used in the food and beverages industry, as well as homes to make bacteria-free food, microbiology has been at the very core of the human development. Few fields are so challenging and potentially so rewarding. It is a perfect branch for those who wish to challenge themselves and have an insatiable curiosity for the natural world.

What is Microbiology?

The study of microorganisms is microbiology. These microscopic organisms can be unicellular or multi-cellular or without any cell at all. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and protists are the various microorganisms being talked about here.  The study of these microorganisms is to prevent various infections, diseases and medical conditions from happening and also to find cure to the existing diseases. Scientists have learned ways of producing biotechnologically important enzymes and new techniques such as yeast two-hybrid system through their knowledge of microbiology.

The benefits of Microbiology

The worldwide perception about microbiology is that it is just about finding ways of killing microbes that cause various medical conditions. However, there are many more constructive ways in which microbiology have benefitted the human race, continue to do so and are expected to do so in the near future as well. It is responsible for Industrial fermentation which is an essential part of alcohol, vinegar and dairy production, helps in antibiotic and amino acid production.

Microorganisms are used to develop biopolymers, such as polysaccharides, polyesters and polyamides. Some microbes are credited for improving the human digestion, production of beneficial vitamins and amino acids.

Latest trends: Recent research suggests that microorganisms can aid the treatment of cancer as well. In the wake of the depleting energy resources like coal and petroleum, and also in a bid to reduce pollution levels, efforts are ongoing to manufacture better biofuels such bioethanol and biodiesel using raw material such as algae, biomass and lignocelluloses. All these are only some of the important benefits which mankind has been able to leverage through the study of microbiology.

Things to keep in mind while pursuing microbiology

Candidates aspiring to work in the microbiology field need to have effective communication and team working skills. You should be confident while handling new technologies, techniques and processes. Besides these tangible skills, you must be very strong at basic and applied aspects of microbiology which includes special skills in laboratory techniques. There are a number of microorganisms and studying all of them is not possible in a single lifetime. Most successful scientists choose a research area early on in their career and proceed in that direction. For example, a bacteriologist focuses on study of bacteria, their benefits and disadvantages, a virologists specializes in the study of viruses, while mycologists study fungi.

Education

The aspirant must have an inherent interest in biology, right from the school days. Once out of school, ne can pursue degree in microbiology or an education in molecular biology or biochemistry. Top institutions like National Center for Cell Sciences and AIIMS not only serve as a superb research and development centers but also offer excellent education and training. Students who want to upgrade their skills can also advance their ability by pursuing various certificates, diploma and short-term courses in different disciplines of microbiology.

Job prospects

There are plenty of work opportunities in R&D institutes, government agencies as well as private companies. You can find a microbiologist working behind the scenes in a hospital, in food and beverage industries, in pharmaceutical industries, pollution control department, energy development, and water treatment plants among other places. In addition to the core research jobs, one can also follow professions as bio-journalists or technical writer. Another work area is education, where you can teach and train the new crop of microbiologists.

Author Bio: Saurabh Tyagi is a new media enthusiast with professional experience as a blogger. He keeps an eye on the top employment trends across the world and pens his thoughts for leading online publications on topics related to career, technology and education.

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