Everything we do, touch, see, smell, and taste is related to biology: the study of life. The career options and places you can work to better understand life and all that it entails are distinct, dynamic, and ever evolving.
Below are just three (of so many!) interdisciplinary fields in Biology – from the magnified to the magnificent – and we’ll give you a taste of just a few places you may find yourself. Click on each area to see biology career opportunities, John Carroll course recommendations and recent happenings in the field:
Healthy ecosystems hang in the balance. A key to fighting a rapidly changing climate is understanding, restoring, and sustaining the incredible variety of life on Earth.
Career Spotlight: Conservation Scientist
Conservation scientists work to better understand how organisms respond to their environments and how they can best adapt, grow, and thrive in the future, despite extreme changes surrounding them. Their work includes project management, data analysis and interpretation, and communication with a variety of audiences. Conservation scientists may work with government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, with conservation-mission non-profit organizations or for private companies seeking to adapt to a changing world.
- Research Ecologist
- Hydrologic Technician
- Climate change specialist
- Environmental policy analyst
- Invasive Species Specialist
Courses to Take:
Study of aquatic organisms and their environment. Study of algae, insects, and fish as biological indicators of water and habitat quality in stream, lake, and wetland ecoystems.
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Introduction to analysis of spatial data using ArcGIS software. Students will acquire hands-on experience with a variety of analytical techniques and spatial data types, and apply their skills to investigate environmental and social problems using GIS.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
Analyze the history of climate change, and the effects of policy and biology on greenhouse gasses, aerosols, and radiative forcing mechanisms, as well as future rapid climate change effects on ecosystems.
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As our understanding of the world grows, so does our ability to create new medicines and therapies. With access and equity at the front of mind, drug discoveries blended with a public health perspective can lead to extraordinary outcomes on the quality of life of entire communities for generations.
Career Spotlight: Epidemiologist
Once a somewhat unknown biological specialty, epidemiology became a household-known career in the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemiologists must be able to investigate patterns of specific diseases and make decisions surrounding appropriate public health responses, strategies and research. Working in hospitals, in government, or for private drug and healthcare companies, epidemiologists have specific focus areas of practice such as chronic disease, infectious disease, mental health, or drug development.
- Genetic Counselor
- Public Health & Policy Analyst
- Environmental Health and Safety Technician
Courses to Take:
SOCIAL INEQUALITY & DISEASE
Study health access differences across the US and globe, including health inequalities such as diabetes, obesity, HIV/AIDS, and more.
Epidemiological principles, concepts, and methods used in surveillance and investigation of global and domestic health-related events; discussion of historical and current examples from epidemiologic studies; focus on populations living in resource-limited settings.
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Biologists who study computational, synthetic, and quantitative biology fuse biology with principles of computer science, data science, mathematics, physics, engineering, and chemistry to solve life-impacting equations.
Career Spotlight: Bioinformatician
At the inception of this field, bioinformaticians logged many hours sequencing DNA, genomes, and other biological data, but a bioinformatician’s role has quite evolved into more interpretation and testing with advances in DNA sequence technology. It’s a great career for someone who is curious and seeks to find the answers to big questions in some of life’s smallest units. A bioinformatician must be able to understand data analytics and communicate across disciplines.
- Biomedical Engineer
- Computational Biologist
- Statistical Analyst
- Genomics Researcher
- Phylogenetic Inference Analyst
Courses to Take:
Techniques of DNA analysis, including restriction digests, DNA cloning, plasmid and genomic DNA isolation, polymerase chain reaction, and computer analysis of DNA and protein sequences.
Gene and genome analysis; genome organization; transposable elements; chromosome structure; replication and expression of genetic information with emphasis on eukaryotes. Reading and analysis of current primary literature.
Identification, naming, description, classification, and organization of extant and extinct biological diversity. Philosophy and practice of methods of reconstructing evolutionary history.
Understanding the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, biomembranes, and carbohydrates. Enzyme catalysis, coenzymes, regulation of proteins, DNA binding proteins, molecular genetics (introduction), laboratory methods, and signal transduction.