Microbiology is a science that is divided into several branches: bacteriology, virology, parasitology and immunology. The objective of microbiology is to build specific knowledge in an effort to counter the propagation of harmful microorganisms and to develop concrete applications from research findings (wastewater treatment, the transformation of toxic waste, industrial fermentation, fertilization, medicines).
Description of the microbiologist role
The microbiologist studies the structure, metabolism, genetic properties and ecology of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. He/she is interested in the interaction between these microorganisms as well as their relationship to their environments, observing the beneficial and harmful effects therein. The microbiologist must be interested in biology (the constitution and functioning of living organisms) and enjoy hands-on work using instruments of precision.
Microbiologist principal duties
- Study microorganisms (their nature and characteristics)
- Classify, isolate and grow cultures of the microorganisms
- Conduct chemical and biological experiments and examine behavior
- Write reports
- Publish findings
- Eventually supervise the work of a team
- Participate in scientific congresses
Education to become a microbiologist
In order to become a microbiologist, it is recommended to have a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology.
More than 60% of students continue their studies in order to obtain a Master’s degree or PhD.
- Master laboratory techniques
- Understand the principles of GLP (Good Laboratory Practice), GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points)
- Be conscious of workplace safety and apply the standards of WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System)
- Possess skills in computer science
- Analytical and synthetic mind
- Rigor et meticulousness
- Sense of initiative and autonomy
- Ability to work in a team
- Good oral and written communication skills
Career advancement also depends on the branch of microbiology one chooses. It is possible to move between sub-disciplines. After several years of experience, he/she can train a team. A microbiologist interested in an academic career can conduct research, become a professor and publish his/her work.