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Cutting-Edge Careers: Cell and Molecular Biology

By Peterson's Staff updated on Friday, January 31, 2014
Technological advances are bringing new opportunities for cell and molecular biology, and there are applications across a broad variety of fields including not only medicine but agriculture, engineering, and the development of numerous industrial and commercial products. As the name implies, cell and molecular biology integrates both cell biology and molecular biology. Cell biology focuses on the parts of the cell, the life of the cell, and how cells interact with each other. In its simplest form, molecular biology emphasizes the proteins in the cell, particularly genetic reproduction. Because of this, cell and molecular biology is closely tied to the fields of biochemistry and genetics.

In the media, medical breakthroughs stemming from cell and molecular biology research are well-known. Many medications that are extending and improving the lives of individuals began as basic research conducted by cell and molecular biologists. Outside of medicine, cell and molecular biology have been pivotal in discovering the origins of humanity and tracing human migrations across the millennia. It has also been an important part of modernizing forensic science. Crops that produce higher yields, are resistant to disease, and can grow in new area have all been spearheaded within this exciting field. Additionally, cell and molecular biology is the foundation of many green technologies that provide the materials that we need made from renewable resources.

Moreover, having a PhD is not necessary in order to be part of research and work within the field of molecular and cell biology. While many cell and molecular biologists eventually earn their doctoral degrees, a master’s degree can be a great way to gain research experience and further your career as a scientist. There are multiple excellent master’s programs available, including San Diego State University, Tulane, and Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). FIT began as a graduate school that mostly served NASA scientists, so it has a long history of practical research and serving students who are career-oriented. The school’s faculty is dedicated to helping students produce work that is worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and students get to learn in an environment surrounded by other students who are enthusiastic about research.

After earning your master’s degree, you can use the knowledge and skills that you have gained to either continue on to a PhD program or begin working in a private laboratory. A master’s degree can translate well into a career as a physician or lawyer who specializes in areas of law that relate to science such as Propriety Information Law. Also, a graduate degree can help you improve your network and open doors to a variety of opportunities. Whether you want to use your knowledge of cell and molecular biology to help save lives or save the planet, pursuing a graduate degree in cell and molecular biology can be a meaningful next step in your career. 
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