Questions for a helpful Cell Biologist

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ChuckS
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Questions for a helpful Cell Biologist

Post by ChuckS » Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:13 pm

I'm considering a bachelors degree in Cell biology. I'm fascinated by the potential that this science holds for advancing human health. However, I have no idea what I'm getting myself into. Answers to these questions would be really helpful.

1.What skills are required to become a good cell biologist? Would I be doing lots of chemistry problems? Would I be injecting squirming lab rats every day? Or would I be running a computer all day?
2.What is a typical work day like for someone in a given field of cell biology?
3.Where can I find blogs or forums where I can absorb info about Cell biology?
4.Will Cell biologists be in demand in 4 or 5 years? I don't want to graduate and then find out that I can't use my degree to get a good job.
5.Which degrees get you into what jobs? How much do those jobs pay and how hard it is to get those jobs?

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mith
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Post by mith » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:47 am

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MrMistery
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Post by MrMistery » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:25 am

yeah, you'll have to know a lot of chemistry. Actually, your studies will be somewhere around 70% biology and 30% chemistry(or something like that). You probably won't be injecting lab rats with anything - most cell biologists work with cell and tissue cultures now. As for the skills required, there are none really - just a passion for the job and liking work in a lab. You will mostly spend time in the lab. the instruments you'll use depend on what exactly you'll be doing - electrophoresis, chromatography, blotting, DNA sequencing, spectroscopy, working with cell cultures, extraction of various compounds - cell biologists do pretty much everything. Using computers is indeed an important part of the job, and it's only going to get more and more important.
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter

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Re: Questions for a helpful Cell Biologist

Post by snowcapk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:21 pm

5.Which degrees get you into what jobs? How much do those jobs pay and how hard it is to get those jobs?

Unfortunately a BS doesn't qualify you for many positions. You could be a lab technician, which pays decently (I've heard up to $60K) but is astoundingly boring: you repeat the same simple tasks over and over until you get carpal tunnel or retire. With a Ph.D., you can get a more interesting and well-paying job in industry or move into related fields like patent law which pay extremely well. If you post-doc, you can get even better work in industry or academia (as a professor) directing your own research.

By the way, if you choose biology (or any other science) join a lab as soon as you can in college. Research experience is absolutely essential to getting into grad school and you'll need as much as possible.
4.Will Cell biologists be in demand in 4 or 5 years? I don't want to graduate and then find out that I can't use my degree to get a good job.

It depends on what you consider a good job and whether 4-5 years is all the education you'll get. There will definitely be demand for technicians in 4-5 years when you have only a B.S. However, there are many more people earning PhDs than there are (or will be) professorships in cell biology, so if you won't consider an industry job then you may have trouble finding work. If cell biology is what you really want to study, you'll try anyway :wink:

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