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How do I Become a Stem Cell Researcher?

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  • Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2016
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The decision to become a stem cell researcher could lead to being part of a groundbreaking research field. An academic foundation that includes advanced degrees in biomedical science—applying biology concepts to medical science—might prepare you to fulfill research duties specific to stem cell engineering methods. During your academic studies, you might benefit from an internship in an organization that conducts stem cell research. Once you have completed the academic requirements, you might have opportunities to become a stem cell researcher with a variety of organizations and explore the possibilities of stem cells and medical treatments.

If you are currently in secondary school, you may want to enroll in science and mathematics courses. Taking biology and chemistry courses may help to broaden your knowledge of scientific theories and medicine. This may also give you a chance to determine your capacity to excel in the types of courses related to being a stem cell researcher.

Pursuing an undergraduate degree in biology, chemistry or biophysics is academic preparation that might help you become a stem cell researcher. In addition to the scientific courses, you might also consider taking writing courses. Most stem cell researchers report findings to other researchers and scientists. You might also have the opportunity to write a report for academic or scientific journals.

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The postgraduate work to become a stem cell researcher may include an advanced degree in biomedical science or biology. Within biology, you might select a specialty such as molecular, developmental or cell. The specialty area usually depends on the focus of research you want to pursue.

Molecular biology typically relates to the structure of molecules and its effect on cells. Developmental biology focuses on the development of living organisms. With cell biology, you will learn all aspects of a cell, including structure, life cycle and the way cells interact with the environment.

As a researcher, you will typically need specific soft skills to prepare you for scientific research. Having the ability to understand cell formation and regeneration concepts is only part of the equation for developing research methodologies. Developing problem-solving, teamwork, collaboration and critical thinking skills may help you to identify the appropriate methodology.

An internship in a laboratory that conducts stem cell research might offer further preparation. With an internship, you may have an opportunity to collaborate with stem cell scientists on current research. The internship may also provide an opportunity for you to conduct clinical investigations, write technical reports and sharpen your research skills.

Career prospects once you become a stem cell researcher may place you in a variety of laboratory settings for conducting stem cell research. You might work for progressive public or private entities that are pursuing the potential in stem cell use. Other opportunities might be with a pharmaceutical laboratory, university or health care organization.

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