What does a Molecular Biologist do?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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Molecular biologists analyze the molecular aspects of genetics. Work that a molecular biologist does specifically involves the study of how biological aspects of life forms get passed from generation to generation. The work is typically done with microscopic life forms that are not visible to the eye under normal circumstances. Other types of work that molecular biologists can do is work which enables gene transfer, work such as testing food or water for harmful organisms, agricultural work, industrial work, or work that is done for oil companies.

Typically, molecular biologists are expert chemists and geneticists. Thus, their academic background tends to include doctoral preparation in these academic areas. Also, in addition to their academic skills, they tend to have excellent analytic skills, attention to details, computer skills, organizational skills. They also tend to have a good ability to handle stress, follow directions, and do tasks in a precise manner.

Usually, molecular biologists work in various settings such as universities, hospitals, industrial labs, agricultural companies, biotechnology companies, food or beverage companies, oil companies, and the government. Their career trajectory depends on the extent of their education. Some become quality control professionals, clinical technicians, bioremediation professionals, college molecular biology professors, or physicians.


Molecular biologists believe everything is connected. It is true that people and things have individual aspects that make them unique. Nonetheless, molecular biologists emphasize the connectedness of things. In fact, a major view that has been expressed in the field of molecular biology is the idea that a molecular chain connects all of us to the first living things that were on this planet billions of years ago.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is of special interest to molecular biologists. DNA has a prominent role in matters of heredity. Also, DNA has a role in determining the occurrence of illness, another reason that molecular biologists are interested in studying DNA.

Molecular biologists study bacteria and viruses. They investigate how microscopic life forms tend to function in production of antibiotics, alcohol, sugar, or amino acids. In fact, this type of research has resulted in major gains in medical knowledge as well as improvements in agriculture, industry, and other fields.

In their work, molecular biologists do use microscopes; however, they use more complex equipment as well depending on the particular goal of their research. For example, a molecular biologist might use equipment such as liquid chromatographs, thermocyclers, phosphoimagers, or electrophoresis units. Or, they may use fluorescence-activated cell sorting equipment.

Exposure to toxic chemicals is a dangerous aspect of being a molecular biologist. Thus, a molecular biologist tends to wear jackets, goggles, and other protective safety equipment while working to prevent injury or death due to chemical or infection exposure. Also, molecular biologists get inoculations to prevent infection by diseases.


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Post 3

What tools are used by molecular biologists?

Post 2

@anon322513: General lab equipment, like beakers, Eppendorf pipettes, test tubes, etc. In particular, centrifuges, microscopes (ranging from regular light microscope to electron microscopes), petri dishes, electrophoresis tanks, maybe HPLC, incubators and autoclaves. It depends on the line of work, really.

Post 1

What tools or equipment are used by a molecular biologist?

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