Overview and Key Facts
Jobs in 2031
What Do They Do?A microbiologist could...
Overview Listen to this sectionMicroorganisms (bacteria, viruses, algae, and fungi) are the most common life-forms on Earth. They help us digest nutrients; make foods like yogurt, bread, and olives; and create antibiotics. Some microbes also cause diseases. Microbiologists study the growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of microorganisms to promote health, industry, and a basic understanding of cellular functions.
Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of a Microbiologist?
- Science: ? Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Writing: ? Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Reading Comprehension: ? Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening: ? Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking: ? Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking: ? Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning: ? Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making: ? Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring: ? Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Learning Strategies: ? Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Core TasksThink about if you'd like the typical tasks a Microbiologist might do:
- Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
- Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
- Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.
- Provide laboratory services for health departments, community environmental health programs, and physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
- Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease, including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
- Prepare technical reports and recommendations, based upon research outcomes.
- Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.
- Monitor and perform tests on water, food, and the environment to detect harmful microorganisms or to obtain information about sources of pollution, contamination, or infection.
- Use a variety of specialized equipment, such as electron microscopes, gas and high-pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence-activated cell sorters, and phosphorimagers.
- Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.
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