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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Undergraduate Studies

The sky is the limit!

Ever thought of becoming a Bacteriologist, Biochemist, Biotechnologist, Cell Biologist, Environmental Scientist, Geneticist, Immunologist, Mirobiologist, Mycologist, Parasitologist, Science Writer, Teacher or Virologist? Then a degree in Microbiology is for you.

Searching for answers, asking questions and testing theories are some of the many intriguing avenues that may lead a biologist to an interesting, rewarding and fulfilling career.

Having a microbiology degree may make you a world-renowned scientist. Collaborating with fellow colleagues to share knowledge that you have gained from your research, may solve an environmental problem or help fight a disease. Your opportunity for achievement is limitless. Who knows, there might even be a Nobel Prize in your future!

Bacteriologists use bacteria as model systems for their studies in order to seek basic answers about bacterial growth, metabolism, diversity and evolution. The role of bacteria in the environment and as a cause of disease are also being explored by Bacteriologists.

Biochemists decipher the equations of life by experimenting on the influence of chemical reactions within the cell. Biochemists discover and teach us how organisms obtain energy, consume nutrients and reproduce. The process of life seems complex when viewed as a whole; however, biochemists take this complex process and show that the chemistry of life is interrelated. Biochemists are showing that life functions in a coordinated manner.

Biotechnologists produce novel organisms that make new products for human use. This is accomplished by manipulating genes in order to modify microorganisms. Some examples of new products produced include medicine, grocery store items, and even the snowmakers at ski resorts. Hundreds of products have become available through the research performed by Biotechnologists; but there are still thousand more products waiting to be developed. You might just be the individual to accomplish this feat.

Cell Biologists explore the actions of molecules on and in the cell. Cell biologists' investigations determine how microorganisms and cells function, and apply these findings to human cells as well. The control of cell growth and structure is the basis for understanding diseases such as cancer.

Environmental Scientists provide information necessary for helping humanity cope with the consequences of life by investigating the effects of biological, chemical and geophysical activity on the environment. We have learned that air can become polluted from factory smokestacks, and Environmental Scientists have offered us solutions such as designing filters, scrubbers and other equipment to reduce or eliminate the pollution that is released into the atmosphere. Microbiology is used by Environmental Scientists to facilitate the cleanup of oil spills, landfills, and other environmental disasters.

Geneticists study the process by which organisms inherit and transmit genetic information. Four letters, A, C, G, and T are the language of life. Each letter by itself is meaningless, but together, the letters create a code of life. Through Geneticists efforts, we learn how to interpret this simple code. Currently, we are learning how to read and speak the language of inheritance. Simply by reading this life language, Geneticists of the future will tell us the life history of an organism.

Immunologists are detectives of disease. When new diseases are found, immunologists develop many of the laboratory tests for diagnosis. By investigating the body's defense against diseases, immunization against disease often results from the work of immunologists. Immunologists continue to search for a new understanding of cancer, allergies, and emerging infectious diseases.

Mycologists work with fungi. They explore the various uses of mold and yeasts for the production of antibiotics as well as food. How fungi derade organic materials is what Mycologists investigate. Interestingly, a fungus that lives in the forests of the midwestern United States is the largest microorganism on Earth.

Parasitologists investigate the complex life cycles of and adaptations made by organisms which depend on other organisms for survival. Parasitologists may travel to exotic places to investigate parasites that cause disease.

Science Writers must have a thorough understanding of language, grammar and science. They have the important job of writing scientific articles for both the general public and for microbiology professionals. Science Writers must write in a way that effectively communicates science to the readers of newspapers, magazines and journals.

Teachers educate students about the usefulness of uniqueness of microorganisms and are needed at every level from elementary to gradute school. Teachers must understand science and communicate effectively so students will learn about the role of microorganisms, and to educate students about the ability of a small percentage of microorganisms to cause disease.

Virologists study bacteriophages and viruses. Viruses are so small that they can only be seen with the aid of an electron microscope, but these minute viruses cause diseases such as colds and influenza. Virologists are always on the alert for new types and are interested in how viruses change.

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