-What is microbiology?
Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, protists, and fungi that can only be seen with a microscope. Microbes are ubiquitous and have existed since life began on Earth.
-What is the importance of microbiology in society?
Microbiology is important because microorganisms provide insight into human health as they are often present or interact with us physically and chemically. Microbes also act as agents of change in nature by breaking down dead organic matter.
-What are the different branches of microbiology?
The different branches of microbiology include: Environmental Microbiology, Clinical Microbiology, Industrial Microbiology, Food Microbiology and Medical Mycology.
-How do you study microbiology?
There are two ways to study microbiology: a B.S. or a Ph.D. The B.S is a Bachelor of Science degree, which takes 4 years at minimum to complete (including general education). The Ph.D is a Doctoral Degree in the field, which can take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to obtain and requires an extensive lab coursework and thesis project before you can graduate with the degree (which can be anywhere from 30 to over 100 pages long).
-What specifically do microbiologists do?
Microbiologists are involved in many fields including: industry, medical care, food supply, agricultural and biological research.
-What are the requirements for getting a B.S. or Ph.D in microbiology?
The requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree are four years of coursework (including general education courses) and passing an exit exam that includes multiple choice questions and a short essay based question. For the Ph.D, the applicant must have earned a B.S. in microbiology, have a minimum of 30 letters of recommendation, complete an oral presentation and defend their project based on the work they have done over the past years.
-What are the stipulations for being accepted into grad school?
Pursuing a graduate degree in microbiology takes lots of time and dedication. If you are considering a career in microbiology, it is important to understand that hard work is needed to achieve your goals. These can be financial as well as personal. There are many wonderful opportunities available to talented students, but only those who are committed will make it through the rigorous nature of a graduate program.
-What does the Ph.D stand for?
"Doctor of Philosophy".
-What is the difference between a Ph.D and a M.D?
-A Ph.D is more research oriented than an MD, it usually takes longer to complete (5 years vs. 4 years) and MD's are more clinical and focused on patient care while the PHD is more research based than an MD while still having clinical work as well, but in their free time they can focus on independent projects such as research papers or thesis papers, etc.
-What is the difference between a biologist, a microbiologist and a chemist?
Biologist study the morphology and behavior of organisms, while chemists use the physical properties of substances to explain the existence of atoms and their properties. Microbiologists study microorganisms that are too small to see in a microscope. To study them, microbiologists use laboratory equipment that enables them to view/observe or even manipulate microorganisms for research purposes.
-What is an example of an environmental microbiologist?
An environmental microbiologist studies how microbes influence health in different ecosystems such as soil, water and even snow–just to name a few.
-What is a typical schedule for a microbiologist?
A typical schedule for a microbiologist would be 10-hour days, with some nights and weekends off.
-What does the government expect from a microbiologist?
The government expects from the microbiologist to work hard and produce results on projects that can benefit not only their own department but also our nation.
-What is an example of an industrial microbiology project?
One of my personal favorite examples of an industrial microbial project is E. coli that has been used as a bioreactor by Bausch & Lomb since it was in the 1970s to grow collagen, which is used in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even food additives.
-What is the weather like in Albuquerque, NM?
The weather in Albuquerque, NM can change quickly and be very unpredictable. However, it is a great place to study microbiology because it has a very humid subtropical climate with warm summers and mild winters.
-What are some of the work opportunities available to microbiologists?
Microbiologists have many different opportunities available to them. These include medical research, industrial research and development for companies such as Bausch & Lomb, Pfizer pharmaceuticals, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Novartis among many others. Another option is to teach high school or college students about microbiology, as well as conduct public outreach programs. Microbiologists also work in industrial settings such as sewage treatment plants, food processing facilities, pulp and paper mills and even in breweries. There are also individuals who work for the government on issues such as bio-terrorism response, agriculture biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
-How can a Ph.D help you get a job?
A Ph.D can help you get a job because employers look at it as an indicator that you performed well within academic circles; they assume that if you made it through graduate school with honors then you must be very intelligent and motivated to succeed.
-What is a microbiologist's salary range?
The salary range for a microbiologist can vary depending on what level of the workforce you want to work at. However, here are some example salaries:
RN: $76,000 - $96,000
Research Scientist: $38,000 - $55,000
-Is there a possibility of getting a job right after graduating with a B.S. in Microbiology?
-Yes! Many universities offer summer internships for their microbiology students to gain experience or you can apply for jobs outside of the department with many different major companies such as Pfizer and Novartis pharmaceuticals using your microbiology skills and training.
-What types of labs are available to work in as a graduate student?
There are different types of labs available to work in as a graduate student including basic research/development and clinical research.
-What is the difference between a basic research lab and a clinical research lab?
A basic research lab would be doing projects on something such as antibiotic resistance or how toxic substances can affect microbes, which are usually not tested on actual humans or animals and are only in test tubes.
-Where is microbiology most visible?
If you are talking about medical research, it is not very visible; however, if we were to talk about industrial microbiology and food microbiology, then it would be quite visible. For example, seeing microbes in an office setting may be too simple so we must look at it from a larger perspective and include the entire population/community they are working in. From a health care standpoint, it is important to study microorganisms in order to find ways to keep people healthy and diseases from spreading.
-What is some inspirational advice you could give to someone who wants to become a microbiologist?
Whether you are in college or high school, focus on your studies and enjoy them. This will be one of the best times of your life and if you take advantage of it you will realize that you have learned not only about microbiology but other aspects of life as well. To begin your career as a microbiologist, you should take courses that are specifically related to the field such as math and chemistry courses because without them, starting off will be very hard.
-What advice should I give to parents who want their child to become a microbiologist?
This is a very important question because it affects what kind of environment they raise the child in. If they raise the child in an environment where the child has nothing but academics, then that would be good. If however, they want to raise the child in a nurturing environment, then this can make or break them during their graduate school years. My advice would be to provide encouragement and support throughout; this is as important as attending to your child's basic education needs.
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter microbiology?
If you want to enter microbiology, you must be very hard working and determined. You will have a lot of homework and projects but with hard work they will be completed successfully. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your work, such as memorable memories, learning new skills and making friends.
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue medicine?
My advice would be that it is important for an individual to have a strong background in science so that they are familiar with different terminology such as anatomy and physiology. If a person does not know the basic terminology, then how can one study medicine?
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in a laboratory as opposed to a teaching environment?
If you want to work in a lab, I would say enjoy it and learn everything you can about it. If on the other hand, you want to teach microbiology try to get a Master's degree, this will help you obtain the necessary knowledge and experience needed for the job.
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in a government agency?
If you want to work in a government agency, then try to find out what is required for that particular job. Depending on the job, it may be very different than you thought it would be. Also, try and focus on finding out what their goals are so you know where they are trying to go.
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to work at a pharmaceutical company?
This is a high-paying field and one that can have lots of advancement opportunities if the individual is dedicated enough. If the individual is only looking for money, then this is probably not the field for them because there will be minimal advancement opportunities.
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the private sector?
This is a very competitive field and it will be difficult to obtain a job if the individual does not have a Ph.D. Also, once an individual has obtained the job and is working, it is important for them to work as hard as possible and never stop learning.
-What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the medical research field?
I would say that in order for one to enter this field they should first gain experience since experience is more valuable than knowledge. If a person has not worked in the field, they may have the knowledge but they will not be able to apply it to real life. What is more important is experience working in that field.
The employees/people I interviewed were:
-Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Washington/Seattle, WA
-Doctoral Candidate/Doctoral Student, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Washington/Seattle, WA
-Assistant Scientist II, Food Safety Services Division-Microbiology and Biotechnology Support Coordination Center (SBAC), USDA FSIS -West Virginia
-Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Scientist, Department of Microbial Biology and Immunology Research Laboratory (MLI), Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics LP -San Diego CA
-Vice President for Regulatory Affairs & Vice President for International Operations & Headquarters Services for Transgene Incorporated – San Diego CA
-Cultural Specialist WG3 Biological Diversity; Department of Labor; Washington D.C.
-Regulatory Specialist, Internal Medicine; National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville Maryland Office
-R&D Director - Manager, Regulatory Affairs and Manufacturing, Lilly USA LLC -White Plains NY
-Scientist IV/Microbiologist I; Department of Agriculture; North Carolina State University – Raleigh NC
microbes:pre-medical; Pre-Medical Internships & Graduate Applied Sciences Opportunities, Microbiology Blog
-Social Biology/Microbiologist – University of Southern California/Los Angeles, CA
-Translational Research Technician and Microbiologist, Biomarker Discovery Lab – University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago IL
Microbes in the world:
In a sample of municipal water taken in 1998, it was found that E. coli was present at an average count of 126 per 100 milliliters of water. E. coli is a normal inhabitant in the intestines of warm-blooded animals and people, but can cause health problems if they are introduced into other parts of the body by way of contaminated food or water or if they gain access to areas where they can cause infection.
E. coli is usually harmless for healthy individuals because their immune systems prevent the cells from invading their intestines or causing infection elsewhere in the body. However, harmful strains do exist, such as strain O157:H7, which causes blood and urinary tract infections. Though very common in nature, this strain of E. coli has been linked to a number of outbreaks in which many people were infected and several died. For example, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 occurred at Jack in the Box restaurants and Taco Bell restaurants in the summer of 1997, sickening over 200 people. In that outbreak, 90 people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and 7 people died, including one person whose infection was traced back to eating raw ground beef from Jack in the Box restaurants; others developed HUS after eating meat from others' plates or from drinking contaminated water from local wells.
E. coli O157:H7 is a contagious bacterium, meaning that it can be passed from one person to another in infected food or water. People who have E. coli infection experience diarrheal illness, throwing up blood and frequently fever; many of them will also contract HUS, where red blood cells die in the body and cause anemia, or develop kidney failure if their kidneys fail to filter out the bad O157:H7 bacteria from their bodies. Other intestinal diseases caused by E. coli include hemorrhagic colitis and necrotizing enterocolitis; these are forms of insidious and often deadly diarrhea that generally occur in very young children.
E. coli is a very common bacterium found in the gut, or intestines, of most warm-blooded animals and their feces. The bacteria are normally harmless, but harmful strains have been found to cause diarrhea and kidney failure, especially in children and the elderly.
"Escherichia coli" is divided into three pathovars – enterotoxigenic "E. coli" (ETEC), enteropathogenic "E. coli" (EPEC), and enteroinvasive "E. coli" (EIEC) – on the basis of their respective virulence factors that determine how they cause disease in humans.
Enterotoxigenic "E. coli" (ETEC, E. coli O157:H7) are gram-negative bacteria; their cells are spherical (the shape of a sphere); they are nonmotile and do not have flagella. Enterotoxigenic "E. coli" (ETEC) cause diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in humans and non-human mammals, the most important being calves. ETEC is responsible for severe diarrheal disease outbreaks in young children while they are consuming contaminated food or water. When cows consume ETEC-contaminated grass or water, the bacteria can be transmitted to human beings through contact with contaminated animals, including through breast milk.