Microbiologists study microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae and protozoa. They focus on the biology of microorganisms at both the molecular and cellular level, as well as their ecology. They also study many important practical problems in medicine, agriculture and industry, looking at how microorganisms affect us and how we can exploit them. Microorganisms affect every aspect of life on earth and, consequently, microbiologists work in a wide variety of settings, although the majority of work is laboratory-based.
Microbiology is a vast subject which overlaps with other areas of life sciences, such as molecular biology, immunology and biochemistry. Specialist areas include basic research, medicine, healthcare and food. Microbiologists can also work in industries such as pharmaceuticals, toiletries and biotechnology, as well as in agriculture, the environment and in university teaching.
Depending on the specialist area, the work of a microbiologist can vary but tasks generally include:
Microbiologists may also undertake activities in the office, and elsewhere, depending on the field in which they work, which may include:
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