Careers in Biology

Biology is a vast field that includes everything related to living organisms. From the theoretical to the physical, from the experimental to the computational, there are many fields of interest and possible career options for students who excel in biology.

The most obvious that comes to mind for many when they think of biology is the work of field biology. For many, the thrill of working “in the field” has its own rewards, including the excitement that comes with working outdoors or the thrill of discovering a new species. Botanists study plant life and can spend time in exciting environments, including jungles, forests and even deserts. Marine biologists study aquatic specimens of all sizes, from microscopic protozoa and plankton to the huge mammals of the sea, the whales. Some biologists study animals in their natural environment, while others engage in research on specimens held in special facilities, whether they are zoos, reserves or even laboratories.

Some students who excel in biology might not be as interested in studying animals outdoors. For many, there is just as great a reward to be found by studying the microscopic in a laboratory, where new drugs or biochemical techniques are developed. Whether it’s through research on bacteria or just tissue cultures, these biologists are directly developing biomedical techniques that can help treat or cure diseases or disorders.

For the biology students who are also great at physics or mathematics, the whole realms of structural biology and biophysics are available. Scientists in these fields use known physical laws and techniques to study various systems of biology. X-ray scattering and NMR allow scientists to develop three dimensional structures of proteins and other macromolecules.

Furthermore, biology students with an interest in computers can also find their own niche. Bioinformatics and computational biology are rapidly growing areas of research that help the field of biological sciences by utilizing computing resources to generate and analyze huge databases of information. Geneticists utilize this technology to search the human genome for snippets of DNA with medical relevance. Biophysicists use simulations to predict the structure and dynamics of molecules.

The last distinction that can be made for students of biology when deciding on their career is between the private and public sectors. Biologists who want to work in the private sector, for pharmaceuticals and the like, can expect to make a great deal of money for their work. Biologists in the public sector, whether in academia or employed by the government, can make a pretty penny as well, but their research often finds its way into the public domain to further the cause of research and medicine.

This is just a sampling of what is available to students who excel in biology. There are many more careers available, all of which relate to this great field that deals with the living world around us. Students in biology have lots of options and choices to find that career best suited to them.