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A biologist is a scientist who conducts research in biology.Biologists are interested in studying life on Earth, whether it is an individual cell, a multicellular organism, or a community of interacting populations. They usually specialize in a particular branch (e.g., molecular biology, zoology, and evolutionary biology) of biology and have a specific research focus (e.g., studying malaria or cancer).
Biologists who are involved in basic research have the aim of advancing knowledge about the natural world.They conduct their research using the scientific method, which is an empirical method for testing hypotheses. Their discoveries may have applications for some specific purpose such as in biotechnology, which has the goal of developing medically useful products for humans.
In modern times, most biologists have one or more academic degrees such as a bachelor's degree plus an advanced degree like a master's degree or a doctorate.Like other scientists, biologists can be found working in different sectors of the economy such as in academia, nonprofits, private industry, or government.
Francesco Redi, the founder of biology, is recognized to be one of the greatest biologists of all time.Robert Hooke, an English natural philosopher, coined the term cell , suggesting plant structure's resemblance to honeycomb cells.
Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace independently formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection, which was described in detail in Darwin's book On the Origin of Species , which was published in 1859. In it, Darwin proposed that the features of all living things, including humans, were shaped by natural processes of descent with accumulated modification leading to divergence over long periods of time. The theory of evolution in its current form affects almost all areas of biology.Separately, Gregor Mendel formulated in the principles of inheritance in 1866, which became the basis of modern genetics.
In 1953, James D. Watson and Francis Crick described the basic structure of DNA, the genetic material for expressing life in all its forms,building on the work of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, suggested that the structure of DNA was a double helix.
Ian Wilmut led a research group that in 1996 first cloned a mammal from an adult somatic cell, a Finnish Dorset lamb named Dolly.
An undergraduate degree in biology typically requires coursework in molecular and cellular biology, development, ecology, genetics, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, botany, and zoology.Additional requirements may include physics, chemistry (general, organic, and biochemistry), calculus, and statistics.
Students who aspire to a research-oriented career usually pursue a graduate degree such as a master’s or a doctorate (e.g., PhD) whereby they would receive training from a research head based on an apprenticeship model that has been in existence since the 1800s.Students in these graduate programs often receive specialized training in a particular subdiscipline of biology.
Biologists who work in basic research formulate theories and devise experiments to advance human knowledge on life including topics such as evolution, biochemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience and cell biology.
Biologists typically conduct laboratory experiments involving animals, plants, microorganisms or biomolecules. However, a small part of biological research also occurs outside the laboratory and may involve natural observation rather than experimentation. For example, a botanist may investigate the plant species present in a particular environment, while an ecologist might study how a forest area recovers after a fire.
Biologists who work in applied research use instead the accomplishments gained by basic research to further knowledge in particular fields or applications. For example, this applied research may be used to develop new pharmaceutical drugs, treatments and medical diagnostic tests. Biological scientists conducting applied research and product development in private industry may be required to describe their research plans or results to non-scientists who are in a position to veto or approve their ideas. These scientists must consider the business effects of their work.
Swift advances in knowledge of genetics and organic molecules spurred growth in the field of biotechnology, transforming the industries in which biological scientists work. Biological scientists can now manipulate the genetic material of animals and plants, attempting to make organisms (including humans) more productive or resistant to disease. Basic and applied research on biotechnological processes, such as recombining DNA, has led to the production of important substances, including human insulin and growth hormone. Many other substances not previously available in large quantities are now produced by biotechnological means. Some of these substances are useful in treating diseases.
Those working on various genome (chromosomes with their associated genes) projects isolate genes and determine their function. This work continues to lead to the discovery of genes associated with specific diseases and inherited health risks, such as sickle cell anemia. Advances in biotechnology have created research opportunities in almost all areas of biology, with commercial applications in areas such as medicine, agriculture, and environmental remediation.
Most biological scientists specialize in the study of a certain type of organism or in a specific activity, although recent advances have blurred some traditional classifications.[ why? ]
Biologists typically work regular hours but longer hours are not uncommon. Researchers may be required to work odd hours in laboratories or other locations (especially while in the field), depending on the nature of their research.
Many biologists depend on grant money to fund their research. They may be under pressure to meet deadlines and to conform to rigid grant-writing specifications when preparing proposals to seek new or extended funding.
Marine biologists encounter a variety of working conditions. Some work in laboratories; others work on research ships, and those who work underwater must practice safe diving while working around sharp coral reefs and hazardous marine life. Although some marine biologists obtain their specimens from the sea, many still spend a good deal of their time in laboratories and offices, conducting tests, running experiments, recording results, and compiling data.
Biologists are not usually exposed to unsafe or unhealthy conditions. Those who work with dangerous organisms or toxic substances in the laboratory must follow strict safety procedures to avoid contamination. Many biological scientists, such as botanists, ecologists, and zoologists, conduct field studies that involve strenuous physical activity and primitive living conditions. Biological scientists in the field may work in warm or cold climates, in all kinds of weather.
The highest honor awarded to biologists is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded since 1901, by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Another significant award is the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences; established in 1980.
Biology – The natural science that studies life. Areas of focus include structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy.
Developmental biology is the study of the process by which animals and plants grow and develop. Developmental biology also encompasses the biology of regeneration, asexual reproduction, metamorphosis, and the growth and differentiation of stem cells in the adult organism.
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. The exact definition of a genetically modified organism and what constitutes genetic engineering varies, with the most common being an organism altered in a way that "does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination". A wide variety of organisms have been genetically modified (GM), including animals, plants, and microorganisms.
Zoology is the scientific study of animals. Its studies include the structure, embryology, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct, and how they interact with their ecosystems. Zoology is one of the primary branches of biology. The term is derived from Ancient Greek ζῷον, zōion ('animal'), and λόγος, logos.
Carl Woese was an American microbiologist and biophysicist. Woese is famous for defining the Archaea in 1977 through a pioneering phylogenetic taxonomy of 16S ribosomal RNA, a technique that has revolutionized microbiology. He also originated the RNA world hypothesis in 1967, although not by that name. Woese held the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair and was professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign.
Biochemists are scientists who are trained in biochemistry. They study chemical processes and chemical transformations in living organisms. Biochemists study DNA, proteins and cell parts. The word "biochemist" is a portmanteau of "biological chemist."
The history of biology traces the study of the living world from ancient to modern times. Although the concept of biology as a single coherent field arose in the 19th century, the biological sciences emerged from traditions of medicine and natural history reaching back to Ayurveda, ancient Egyptian medicine and the works of Aristotle, Theophrastus and Galen in the ancient Greco-Roman world. This ancient work was further developed in the Middle Ages by Muslim physicians and scholars such as Avicenna. During the European Renaissance and early modern period, biological thought was revolutionized in Europe by a renewed interest in empiricism and the discovery of many novel organisms. Prominent in this movement were Vesalius and Harvey, who used experimentation and careful observation in physiology, and naturalists such as Linnaeus and Buffon who began to classify the diversity of life and the fossil record, as well as the development and behavior of organisms. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek revealed by means of microscopy the previously unknown world of microorganisms, laying the groundwork for cell theory. The growing importance of natural theology, partly a response to the rise of mechanical philosophy, encouraged the growth of natural history.
The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center for research and education in biological and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution that was independent for most of its history, but became officially affiliated with the University of Chicago on July 1, 2013. It also collaborates with numerous other institutions.
Synthetic biology (SynBio) is a multidisciplinary field of science that focuses on living systems and organisms, and it applies engineering principles to develop new biological parts, devices, and systems or to redesign existing systems found in nature.
Warder Clyde "W.C." Allee was an American ecologist. He is recognized to be one of the great pioneers of American ecology. As an accomplished zoologist and ecologist, Allee was best known and recognized for his research on social behavior, aggregations and distributions of animals in aquatic as well as terrestrial environments. Allee attended Earlham College and upon his graduation in 1908, pursued advanced studies at the University of Chicago where he received his PhD and graduated summa cum laude in 1912.
Anthony James Trewavas FRS FRSE is Emeritus Professor in the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Edinburgh best known for his research in the fields of plant physiology and molecular biology. His research investigates plant behaviour.
Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary information encoded in genes, which can be transmitted to future generations. Another major theme is evolution, which explains the unity and diversity of life. Energy processing is also important to life as it allows organisms to move, grow, and reproduce. Finally, all organisms are able to regulate their own internal environments.
BioArt is an art practice where artists work with biology, live tissues, bacteria, living organisms, and life processes. Using scientific processes and practices such as biology and life science practices, microscopy, and biotechnology the artworks are produced in laboratories, galleries, or artists' studios. The scope of BioArt is a range considered by some artists to be strictly limited to "living forms", while other artists include art that uses the imagery of contemporary medicine and biological research, or require that it address a controversy or blind spot posed by the very character of the life sciences.
The College of Biological Sciences (CBS) is one of seven freshman-admitting colleges at the University of Minnesota. Established in 1869 as the College of Science, the College of Biological Science is now located across both the Minneapolis and the St. Paul campuses. As of June 29, 2023, the dean of the College of Biological Sciences is Dr. Saara J DeWalt.
Toxicology testing, also known as safety assessment, or toxicity testing, is the process of determining the degree to which a substance of interest negatively impacts the normal biological functions of an organism, given a certain exposure duration, route of exposure, and substance concentration.
The School of Biological Sciences is a research-led academic community at the University of East Anglia. It works with partners in industry on a range of activities, including translating research discoveries into products, making knowledge and research expertise available through consultancies, contract research and provision of analytical services, as well as partnering industry in training both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Ronald David Vale ForMemRS is an American biochemist and cell biologist. He is a professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco. His research is focused on motor proteins, particularly kinesin and dynein. He was awarded the Canada Gairdner International Award for Biomedical Research in 2019, the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine in 2017 together with Ian Gibbons, and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 2012 alongside Michael Sheetz and James Spudich. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the president of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2012. He has also been an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1995. In 2019, Vale was named executive director of the Janelia Research Campus and a vice president of HHMI; his appointment began in early 2020.
Faculty of Biology of the Belarusian State University was founded in 1931. It is a major biology research and teaching establishment in the country, which includes nine Departments and nine Research Laboratories. The Dean is Vadim Viktorovich Demidchyk, Docent, Doctor of Sciences
The Roslin Institute is an animal sciences research institute at Easter Bush, Midlothian, Scotland, part of the University of Edinburgh, and is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.