A microbiologist examining cultures under a dissecting microsope.
, the large subset of microbiology
that is applied
, is a branch of medical science concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases
. In addition, this field of science studies various clinical applications of microbes for the improvement of health. There are four kinds of microorganisms
that cause infectious disease: bacteria
, and one type of infectious protein called prion
A medical microbiologist
studies the characteristics of pathogens
, their modes of transmission, mechanisms of infection and growth. Using this information, a treatment can be devised. Medical microbiologists often serve as consultants for physicians
, providing identification of pathogens and suggesting treatment options.
Other tasks may include the identification of potential health risks to the community or monitoring the evolution of potentially virulent
or resistant strains of microbes, educating the community and assisting in the design of health practices. They may also assist in preventing or controlling epidemics
and outbreaks of disease.
Not all medical microbiologists study microbial pathology
; some study common, non-pathogenic species to determine whether their properties can be used to develop antibiotics
or other treatment methods. Read more...