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RESEARCHER, MOLECULAR CELL BIOLOGY: Doing Research As An Undergrad Is Key

About this video 

Jason is a graduate student studying molecular and cell biology. He spends his typical day working on his experiments and attending lectures and presentations. He tells us that in his PhD department, students have their tuition paid for and receive a salary based on cost of living, so it is much more like a job than school. For Jason, doing research as an undergraduate student was key to going to grad school.

Degree: Biology - Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology - Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
Job Title: Researcher, Molecular Cell Biology
Employer: University of California, Berkeley

Job Summary: Biologist, Biochemist, Biophysicist, Researcher

Job Description

Biologist, biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes such as cell development, growth, and heredity.

Biochemists and biophysicists also use electron microscopes, lasers, and other laboratory instruments and equipment to carry out their research. Biochemists and biophysicists use advanced technologies to conduct scientific experiments and analysis. For example, they use computer modeling software to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins and other molecules. Biochemists and biophysicists involved in biotechnology research use chemical enzymes to synthesize recombinant DNA.

Most biochemists and biophysicists work on teams. Research projects are often interdisciplinary, and biochemists and biophysicists frequently work with experts in other fields, such as physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering.

On-the-Job Training

Moderate-term on-the-job training

Additional Info

Most biochemistry and biophysics Ph.D. holders begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research.

Postdoctoral positions frequently offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to get a permanent position doing basic research, especially for those seeking a permanent college or university faculty position.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$45,000 - $145,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
25 to 31 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Office, Indoor, Hospital / Clinic
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Detail oriented, Problem solving skills, Analytical skills, Written communication skills, Verbal communication skills, Organizational skills, Mathematical skills

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
Doctorate
View Detailed Career Data

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='440'>I'm</span> <span m='630'>a</span> <span m='660'>grad</span> <span m='950'>student</span> <span m='1360'>at</span> <span m='1500'>UC</span> <span m='1840'>Berkeley,</span> <span m='2390'>and</span> <span m='2550'>I'm</span> <span m='2660'>studying</span> <span m='3210'>molecular</span> <span m='3800'>and</span> <span m='4019'>cell</span> <span m='4270'>biology.</span> <span m='5140'>And</span> <span m='5300'>I'm</span> <span m='5410'>in</span> <span m='5490'>the</span> <span m='5570'>Ph.D.</span> <span m='6170'>program,</span> <span m='6790'>and</span> <span m='7000'>I'm</span> <span m='7590'>year</span> <span m='7910'>three</span> <span m='8270'>out</span> <span m='8400'>of</span> <span m='8490'>five.</span> <span m='9130'>A</span> <span m='9230'>typical</span> <span m='9680'>day</span> <span m='10170'>is</span> <span m='10850'>coming</span> <span m='11170'>into</span> <span m='11430'>lab,</span> <span m='12200'>seeing</span> <span m='12490'>my</span> <span m='12610'>coworkers.</span> <span m='13460'>I</span> <span m='13750'>am</span> <span m='13870'>working</span> <span m='14210'>on</span> <span m='14350'>my</span> <span m='14500'>experiments,</span> <span m='15370'>which</span> <span m='16410'>can</span> <span m='16580'>be</span> <span m='16850'>from</span> <span m='17070'>one</span> <span m='17260'>project</span> <span m='17800'>to</span> <span m='17900'>three</span> <span m='18170'>different</span> <span m='18440'>projects</span> <span m='18940'>at</span> <span m='19020'>once.</span> <span m='19590'>So</span> <span m='19720'>I'm</span> <span m='19830'>doing</span> <span m='20020'>lots</span> <span m='20280'>of</span> <span m='20340'>different</span> <span m='20640'>things</span> <span m='20920'>throughout</span> <span m='21230'>the</span> <span m='21290'>day.</span> <span m='21900'>And</span> <span m='22200'>then</span> <span m='22430'>sometimes</span> <span m='23020'>there's</span> <span m='23710'>lectures</span> <span m='24370'>or</span> <span m='24500'>scientific</span> <span m='25230'>presentations,</span> <span m='26130'>where</span> <span m='26570'>people</span> <span m='26850'>come</span> <span m='27060'>and</span> <span m='27150'>present</span> <span m='27520'>their</span> <span m='27620'>results.</span> <span m='28170'>So,</span> <span m='28720'>there's</span> <span m='29740'>a</span> <span m='29830'>lot</span> <span m='29990'>of</span> <span m='30050'>hands-on,</span> <span m='30640'>fun</span> <span m='30860'>activities,</span> <span m='31750'>data</span> <span m='32070'>analysis</span> <span m='32830'>and</span> <span m='33310'>then</span> <span m='34270'>talks</span> <span m='34730'>and</span> <span m='34930'>kind</span> <span m='35080'>of</span> <span m='35150'>social</span> <span m='35550'>things.</span> </p><p><span m='36200'>At</span> <span m='36380'>UC</span> <span m='36670'>Berkeley,</span> <span m='37270'>in</span> <span m='37480'>the</span> <span m='37810'>department</span> <span m='38310'>that</span> <span m='38490'>I'm</span> <span m='38630'>in,</span> <span m='38930'>they</span> <span m='39030'>give</span> <span m='39250'>you</span> <span m='39540'>a</span> <span m='39570'>base</span> <span m='39970'>salary</span> <span m='41300'>of</span> <span m='41480'>$31,000.</span> <span m='43070'>And</span> <span m='43240'>that</span> <span m='43400'>goes</span> <span m='43650'>up</span> <span m='43820'>every</span> <span m='44050'>year</span> <span m='44450'>to</span> <span m='44860'>compensate</span> <span m='45410'>for</span> <span m='46010'>cost</span> <span m='46310'>of</span> <span m='46420'>living.</span> <span m='47180'>And</span> <span m='47400'>then,</span> <span m='47890'>you</span> <span m='48070'>also</span> <span m='48470'>get</span> <span m='49140'>tuition</span> <span m='49690'>paid</span> <span m='49970'>for,</span> <span m='50320'>so</span> <span m='50600'>that</span> <span m='50870'>is</span> <span m='51030'>a</span> <span m='51070'>huge</span> <span m='51460'>deal</span> <span m='51710'>also.</span> <span m='52150'>So</span> <span m='52750'>it's</span> <span m='53540'>really</span> <span m='53840'>like</span> <span m='53990'>a</span> <span m='54050'>full</span> <span m='54290'>time</span> <span m='54560'>job,</span> <span m='54940'>it's</span> <span m='55110'>not</span> <span m='55300'>really</span> <span m='55580'>like</span> <span m='56920'>a</span> <span m='56990'>student</span> <span m='57950'>once</span> <span m='58160'>you</span> <span m='58230'>get</span> <span m='58390'>to</span> <span m='58460'>this</span> <span m='59010'>point.</span> </p><p><span m='59850'>In</span> <span m='60010'>undergrad,</span> <span m='60670'>I</span> <span m='61020'>studied</span> <span m='61460'>biology,</span> <span m='62170'>and</span> <span m='62330'>that</span> <span m='62480'>was</span> <span m='62590'>my</span> <span m='62720'>major.</span> <span m='63460'>And</span> <span m='63640'>I</span> <span m='63710'>did</span> <span m='63940'>research</span> <span m='64410'>as</span> <span m='64519'>an</span> <span m='64610'>undergrad,</span> <span m='65170'>and</span> <span m='65269'>that's</span> <span m='65459'>really</span> <span m='65700'>important</span> <span m='66220'>if</span> <span m='66320'>you</span> <span m='66440'>want</span> <span m='66580'>to</span> <span m='66630'>go</span> <span m='66780'>into</span> <span m='66970'>grad</span> <span m='67250'>school.</span> <span m='67960'>And</span> <span m='68140'>then</span> <span m='68400'>I</span> <span m='68560'>worked</span> <span m='68910'>as</span> <span m='69090'>a</span> <span m='69150'>research</span> <span m='69670'>tech</span> <span m='70040'>for</span> <span m='70210'>one</span> <span m='70390'>year,</span> <span m='70760'>and</span> <span m='70970'>then</span> <span m='71230'>I</span> <span m='71380'>applied</span> <span m='71660'>for</span> <span m='71830'>grad</span> <span m='72080'>school.</span> <span m='72920'>I</span> <span m='73050'>think</span> <span m='73430'>the</span> <span m='73840'>main</span> <span m='74240'>thing</span> <span m='74520'>is</span> <span m='74760'>that</span> <span m='74930'>you</span> <span m='75050'>realize</span> <span m='75580'>you're</span> <span m='75980'>much</span> <span m='76220'>more</span> <span m='76420'>independent</span> <span m='77130'>then</span> <span m='77330'>you</span> <span m='78550'>we're</span> <span m='79010'>before.</span> <span m='79540'>So</span> <span m='80270'>before,</span> <span m='80590'>maybe</span> <span m='81050'>you</span> <span m='81230'>had</span> <span m='81370'>a</span> <span m='81430'>lot</span> <span m='81610'>of</span> <span m='81660'>people</span> <span m='81980'>telling</span> <span m='82270'>you</span> <span m='82400'>what</span> <span m='82560'>to</span> <span m='82660'>do,</span> <span m='83230'>or</span> <span m='83350'>what</span> <span m='83620'>things</span> <span m='83940'>you</span> <span m='84060'>should</span> <span m='84250'>be</span> <span m='84360'>working</span> <span m='84780'>on.</span> <span m='85440'>But</span> <span m='85600'>at</span> <span m='85730'>this</span> <span m='85940'>point</span> <span m='86360'>in</span> <span m='86670'>your</span> <span m='86820'>career,</span> <span m='88140'>everything's</span> <span m='88620'>more</span> <span m='88950'>individual,</span> <span m='89790'>and</span> <span m='89950'>you're</span> <span m='90120'>kind</span> <span m='90310'>of</span> <span m='90380'>responsible</span> <span m='91020'>for</span> <span m='91390'>everything</span> <span m='91840'>that</span> <span m='92000'>you're</span> <span m='92300'>doing.</span> </p>","file":{"id":356986,"video_id":"3217811666001","name":"2024-Jason-p-MolecularCellBio","duration":93414,"thumbnail_url":null}});