Job Title: Scientist
Type of Company: I work at one of the top medical research institutions in the country.
Education: PhD in Molecular Biology, Moscow State University, Russia
Previous Experience: I was a graduate student at Cardiology Research Center, Moscow, Russia. Specializing in the field of prion and neurodegenerative disease biology.
Job Tasks: I am a scientist working in the lab that specializes in RNA biology. RNAs are molecules that are used by the cell to make the essential proteins that it needs from DNA. We study a protein that regulates this process. Our work in the lab does not directly produce any cure for any disease, but is the essential basis for such discoveries.
The hours at the job are not regulated which means that you can come at any time and leave at any time, as long as you produce good results. Sometimes it may be expected to come on weekends or work extra hours. There is not a very good financial compensation for that - the salary is pretty small. But if you like to think and generate interesting ideas, come up with experiments to prove these ideas and perform them this is a good job for that.
A typical day consists of two parts: sitting at the computer and reading new articles about your field of study, roaming around the Internet - finding clues to generate ideas; and doing the experiments to prove those ideas. A typical experiment may be growing a plate of cells (isolated from human skin) and use a specific dye to stain your protein, RNA etc.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: For me the best part of my job is thinking how everything (the protein or gene that you study) is connected with others inside the cell, how it functions, what other players are there and devising experiments to solve the problem.
Sometimes you have to do repeats of the same or almost the same experiment again and again and again - that I don't really like, but you still have to do these.
1. To pursue this job it's really nice to have a good basic knowledge of biology (molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology etc.), which you get during your college and graduate school years.
2. You have to understand that end goal, which there could be two options: - be a PI (Principle Investigator), which is basically head of the lab (2-40 people). A PI thinks about where he leads the lab, thinks about what the data that all these people produce mean, chooses the field of study, writes papers and grants. Nice job, but hard to get. - the second option is going to a biotech or pharmaceutical company.
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