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.
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.
Moderate-term on-the-job training
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.
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