The more knowledge doctors have about certain diseases, the better they are able to treat patients afflicted by them. This is where biomedical scientists come in, as they study, perform research and conduct tests on different diseases and treatment methods in an effort to advance medical science.
What is a Biomedical Scientist?
A biomedical scientist is someone who has extensive knowledge in the field of biology, and performs extensive studies on diseases that affect the human body. These professionals conduct research in a number of manners to find out more about how illnesses are spread, their effect on different systems of the body, and the effectiveness of preventative measures. Biomedical scientists play a key role in the development of new medicines and the discovery of different treatment methods. Their work may be published in medical journals, encyclopedias or textbooks.
What does a Biomedical Scientist Do?
The work of a biomedical scientist encompasses a number of things, which can include conducting scientific studies and laboratory tests, grouping and testing blood, taking pathological samples, and screening different bacteria. Some of the work involves interacting with patients one on one, especially those who have rare or newly-discovered diseases. A scientist will also work very closely with sophisticated laboratory equipment and advanced computer programs in order to accurately record results.
A biomedical scientist has the opportunity to specialize in one or more areas in order to perform advanced, highly-specialized research. An individual could become a hematologist who specializes in the study of blood, an epidemiologist that studies the transmission of diseases, or geneticist who is involved in research concerning DNA. There is also the opportunity to specialize in other fields such as immunology, microbiology, neuroscience, pathology, physiology, cell biology, biophysics or molecular biology. The type of specialty one has can largely determine the type of setting he or she works in as well.
How to Become One
Biomedical scientists must have a Ph.D. in a science-related field. A medical degree is also an acceptable form of education, and in fact may be required in some cases. An internship program and dissertation are also required as part of a degree program. An additional two to four years of college may be needed in order to obtain a specialty. After graduation, most go on to complete a two to five-year long fellowship at a university or hospital. Obtaining a medical license is also necessary in order to have one-on-one contact with patients, but can be helpful in other situations as well.
Biomedical Scientist Jobs
Biomedical scientists have a wide range of job opportunities available to them. Many positions are found in university research laboratories, while others take place inside hospitals, in-patient treatment centers or specialty medical clinics. Pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers also conduct their own research, so some may find employment with private corporations or research facilities. Those who prove themselves in the industry can go on to teach at major universities, oversee research laboratories, or become consultants for publishers of medical textbooks.
A biomedical scientist job description can include the analysis and testing of bodily organs, fluids, tissues, and cells. The testing of disease-causing micro-organisms, along with the study of different treatment methods is also part of one’s duties. An individual will be required to make careful calculations, record precise results, and compare different methods against others. As a part of these duties, they will also need to operate highly technical medical equipment to exact specifications.
Biomedical Scientist Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks the salary of biomedical scientists, estimating the mean annual wage to be around $90,230. Those on the lower end of the pay scale make approximately $42,830, while workers on the higher end of the pay scale can earn as much as $149,310. Those working directly for research and development firms tend to make more money than others, earning on average around $100,430 each year. Scientists in the Western United States tend to make more, as the highest salaries are reported in Idaho and California respectively. Biological scientists who are noted as specialists in a particular field tend to earn more money as well.
Biomedical scientists are an elite group of people whose focus is to constantly develop new ways to fight diseases. Were it not for the work of these professionals, a number of conditions that can be treated easily with simple medications could be life threatening or seriously debilitating. The contribution they make to medical science is truly astounding, and will continue to be in the years to come.