Microbiologist Kaimātai Koiora Mororiki
Microbiologists study micro-organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the effects they have on plants, animals and humans. They also develop products from micro-organisms to benefit humans or the environment.
Microbiologists may do some or all of the following:
- analyse and perform tests and experiments on micro-organisms
- identify and characterise micro-organisms, including those that cause disease
- develop and use micro-organisms for the production of vaccines, medicines, fuels and chemicals
- grow micro-organisms to use in food such as yoghurt and cheese
- identify micro-organisms that may pollute food, water and the environment
- prepare reports and papers, and present results
- provide technical guidance to assistants.
Useful experience for microbiologists includes laboratory work.
Microbiologists need to be:
- patient, persistent and inquiring
- analytical, accurate and careful
- able to communicate complex ideas simply.
Microbiologists need to have:
- knowledge of molecular biology and genetics, biochemistry and chemistry
- practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment
- knowledge of laboratory hazards and proper safety procedures
- skill in analysing and interpreting research results and other information
- problem-solving skills
- presentation and writing skills for reports or grant proposals
- maths and computer skills.
- usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings and weekends
- work in laboratories and offices, but may also work in the field collecting samples or performing field trials
- may travel locally and overseas to attend workshops and conferences.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include biology, maths, chemistry and physics.
Microbiologists may progress to senior positions or project leadership, or move into medical sales, policy work or teaching.
With further training they may specialise in:
- environmental/medical microbiology
- food/industrial microbiology
Years Of Training3-9 years of training usually required.
To become a microbiologist you need to have a Bachelor of Science majoring in microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry or molecular biology.
A postgraduate qualification, such as a Master's degree or Doctorate, is usually required for research-based positions.