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Microbiologists examining cultures on a Petri dish.

Microbiologist (from Greek μῑκρος, mīkros, "small"; βίος, bios, "life"; and -λογία, -logia): 'micro' means 'tiny' in reference to objects that typically cannot be seen with the naked eye; 'bio' means life and '-logia' (or '-logy’) is the suffix for study from the classic Greek.

A microbiologist studies tiny (microscopic) life forms and processes or works in the field of microbiology. Microbiologists investigate the growth and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Most microbiologists specialize in environmental, food, agricultural or medical aspects of medical or industrial microbiology including: virology (the study of viruses); immunology (the study of mechanisms that fight infections); or bioinformatics (the methods for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data). Many microbiologists use biotechnology to advance the understanding of cell reproduction and human disease.[1]

There were 16,900 microbiologists employed in the United States in 2008; this number is projected to increase by over 12 percent in the next decade.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010). "Biological Scientists". Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  2. ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011). "Employment by industry, occupation, and percent distribution, 2008 and projected 2018: Microbiologists" (PDF). 2008-18 National Employment Matrix. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics".