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, fungi, or some types of parasites. They contribute much to the field by trying to understand and learn about the interaction between these microbes and the environment. Most microbiologists are certified to work in offices and or research facilities such as a laboratory. There, they conduct experiments that help analyze investigation of microbes and their contributions to the field. A microbiologist's work is often repeated or improved in order to establish accurate research. 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. Some microbiologists have contributed to knowledge of pathogens and disease-causing microbes.
Microbiology is a specific subset of science that often overlaps with other subjects surrounding biology. Because microbiologists specialize in the investigation of microorganisms that typically cause infection, their research commonly promotes information found in immunology, pathology and molecular biology.
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.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010). "Biological Scientists". Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
- 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.
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