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Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology - General Science Questions and Layperson Board

Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology - General Science Questions and Layperson Board


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  #11  
Old 07-21-2010, 01:08 PM
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Default Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
No, no kidding in my posts. I see a lot of people lost between the BS and professional schools; but it is easy to see who is getting in and who isn't. My advice isn't from the academic ranks its from the real world.
But the OP pretty clearly stated his daughters interest. Instead of giving reasonable guidance, relevant to to the OP's question, you gave advice that would have sent her down a career path other than the one she has picked. It's pretty clear from the OP that the academic/pharma route is what the OP's kid has in mind.

And don't give me the "real world" BS - I post-doc'd in pharma, had my own biotech startup, and I continue run my own private company. I'd imagine my understanding of the "real world" is as good as yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
I don't want to make any subfield more prestigious or fight for the respect it deserves. I'm just trying to help a young person accomplish her goal.
Her goal was to work in the area of drug/vaccine development. Not many microbiologists in those fields. Lots of cell/molecular biologists, immunologists, geneticists and clinicians though...

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Microbiology is a great stepping stone, Microbiology requires a lot of mastery by the end of the BS and that is recognized.
I agree, but that has little relevance to the OP's question. His/her daughter wasn't asking how to get an education to do product testing in food plants, etc, but rather how to get into drug/vaccine research.

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Those graduates are recognized as having learned this catalog of information/skills. The tracks to venture into Pathology or Food Science (to take the wide spectrum) are very well-beaten paths with huge amounts of support to make sure you are successful, basically the specialization is like an MBA program, you enroll, you learn and you are accredited.
My experience with microbiologists speaks otherwise...we'll have to agree to disagree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Not to knock Mol. Bio (most of what you said is true, I disagree with your opinion), but Mol. Bio is difficult, the tracks for specialization are new and not well-delineated. Mol Bio can take you anywhere, which is the danger, it can get a young person lost.
2 points:
1) The biotech/pharma industry is one of the worlds fastest growing industries. They hire, almost exclusively, cell/molecular biologists. Most of the grads who don't go onto academia go in that direction. And, ignoring the last two years, their employment rate is very, very good.

2) What's wrong with getting lost? When starting my bachelors the career path I've taken would never have occurred to me. And yet, I am both fantastically happy, and very good at, my job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Plus we all know that Mol Bio undergrad lab is there to expose the students to techniques, not to get mastery of techniques and definitely no mastery of skills (just won't get the time).
Depends on the program. You cannot make generalizations like this one, anymore than you can make the generalizations you made about micro degrees. Some uni's programs - mol or micro - do very poor jobs of prepping students for real-world lab work. Others do excellent work. I've had 4th years cell biol undergrads come through my lab who could do the work that was required with no instruction. I've had people with PhD's come through who needed someone to hold their hand.

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Everyone knows that and everybody challenges a BS Mol. biol grad with the question what are you going to do with it? Because it is not clear.
LOL, funny stuff. You are a comedian! I don't think you'll find many new bachelor recipients - in any field - who have the slightest idea of what they want to do post-graduation. That's not being a mol biologist, that's called being a new grad.

Bryan
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2010, 02:54 PM
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Smile Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

Don't take it personal.
I could pick your comments apart too, but I'm not trying to start a flame war.

This is a person asking about a Bachelor's degree, I focused on that and gave the best advice I can seriously offer. You seem to be very focused on the end result---Mol Bio in pharma work, vaccine work etc. I'm just trying to help this person get on the right launching pad/stepping stone first.

It's called putting the horse before the cart, you are talking about putting the cart before the horse.

----------------------------------------------------------

To the OP, I stand by what I said. Hope you find it helpful.

The bachelor's and graduate degrees are very different.

Bryan/warthaug is right with the graduate degree stuff, but I wholeheartedly disagree with his view on the Microbiology BS degree.
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2010, 03:13 PM
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Smile Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

Not sure why, but I posted a reply yesterday and it has yet to appear. I really appreciate both of your opinions. I find the banter more helpful than just a generic response any day. You are both very passionate about your fields, which is the most important thing of all.

To clarify a little, my daughter is a Junior (11th grade) in HIGH school. I think the way I worded it made it sound as if she was in junior high. She has a 30 ACT on her first try, over a 4.0 and is 2nd in her class going into her Senior year. We live in Illinois, approx 45 min from St. Louis, MO.

The school she wants to go to is SIUC, as they offer the MicroB degree. She chose this simply due to an article she read that she thinks MicroB is what she needs in order to do research into immunizations, developing pharmaceuticals, "curing" diseases, etc. SIUC is an OK school, but is in the lower tier. Wash U is a highly acclaimed school in STL but their degree is a general BS in Biology with a tracks in ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION; GENOMICS AND COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY; MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY; and NEUROSCIENCE (pre-med). We also have two local schools (can live at home) one that offer a BS in Biochem/Biotech with a Chem minor or a general BS in biology (UMSL); and another that has the BS in Biology with specializations in Integrative Biology; Ecology, Evolution, and Environment; Genetic Engineering; Medical Science; Medical Technology; Secondary Education (SIUE).

So, from these options, which would you have your daughter choose?

Thanks to both of you again for your help!
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  #14  
Old 07-21-2010, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Don't take it personal.
I could pick your comments apart too, but I'm not trying to start a flame war.
Nor am I, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
This is a person asking about a Bachelor's degree, I focused on that and gave the best advice I can seriously offer. You seem to be very focused on the end result---Mol Bio in pharma work, vaccine work etc. I'm just trying to help this person get on the right launching pad/stepping stone first.
But to what end. As the OP stated, his daughter is interested in a career in lab research on immunizations, medicines, diseases, etc. What is the best area for her undergrad, basic Biology degree, Biotech, Microbiology, Pharmacy, or other? Will she need a Masters to do this type work?
(direct quote, emphasis is mine).

No matter what field you're in - including microbiology - that'll require more than a bachelors. I know of no academic or industry research group that'll take someone with a bachelors as anything other than a grad student.

As I stated in my first post to the OP, there are two routes his daughter can take to get into research - clinical or basic science. For the former a specialized bachelors is of less value than a generalized biology degree. For the later you need to specialize, but no one specialization is any better than the other. For both, you're going to need more than a B.Sc.

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
It's called putting the horse before the cart, you are talking about putting the cart before the horse.
No, its called answering the entirety of the question, not just the middle part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Bryan/warthaug is right with the graduate degree stuff, but I wholeheartedly disagree with his view on the Microbiology BS degree.
I don't think I've disagreed with you on that - there are a lot of non-research jobs you can get with a micro degree. But the OP didn't ask about those...

Bryan
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  #15  
Old 07-21-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

What about a CLS degree? Is that a better route than any type of Biology degree for conducting lab research on pharma, immunizations, diseases?
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  #16  
Old 07-21-2010, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

Not sure why, but I posted yesterday and today and they never appeared. I really appreciate both of your opinions. I find the banter more helpful than just a generic response any day. You are both very passionate about your fields, which is the most important thing of all.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

My daughter has a 30 ACT, over a 4.0 and is 2nd in her class going into her Senior year. We are in IL, 45 min from St. Louis, MO. The school she wants to go to is SIUC, as they offer the MicroB degree. She chose this simply b/c she read that MicroB is what to get to do research into immunizations, pharmaceuticals, "curing" diseases, etc. Wash U in STL offers general BS in Biology with a tracks in ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION; GENOMICS AND COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY; MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY; and NEUROSCIENCE (pre-med). Two local schools: UMSL offers a BS in Biochem/Biotech with a Chem minor or a general BS in biology; SIUE has the BS in Biology with specializations in Integrative Biology; Ecology, Evolution, and Environment; Genetic Engineering; Medical Science; Medical Technology; Secondary Education (SIUE).

So, from these options, which would you have your daughter choose?
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  #18  
Old 07-21-2010, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

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Originally Posted by spongebob14 View Post
What about a CLS degree? Is that a better route than any type of Biology degree for conducting lab research on pharma, immunizations, diseases?
CLS = clinical laboratory scientist I assume.

My wife is one of those (although we call them something different up here; here they're MLA/T - medical laboratory assistants/technicians), and the vast majority of jobs are in hospitals and community clinics, where they do things like take patients blood, run blood tests, help pathologists, take EKG's, etc. Its good work, but research positions are rare. Those positions that do exist in research tend to be concentrated in a small number of places where major pharma firms have testing facilities (i.e. Montreal and Toronto are the only Canadian city with many of these positions; there are 5 or 6 centers in the US, and a half-dozen or so in Europe).

While limited, the CLS positions in research are pretty standardized. Most common are people involved in clinical trials - they'll test subjects samples, take blood, monitor patients, etc. Some of it can be pretty boring - my wife once worked briefly in a trial where she had to sit around for hours, making sure the subjects ate all the food they were provided, and making sure the subjects did not fall asleep (during a 30-odd hour period). Its not all like that, but the CLS's in clinical research often get the jobs others do not want.

My wife now works in a hospital, and she prefers that greatly compared to the research position she formally had. Its also worth pointing out that CLS positions are a growth field, with lots of employment opportunities. But as an entry point into research, its probably not a good option.

Bryan
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:14 PM
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Cool Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

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Originally Posted by Warthaug View Post

But to what end. As the OP stated, his daughter is interested in a career in lab research on immunizations, medicines, diseases, etc. What is the best area for her undergrad, basic Biology degree, Biotech, Microbiology, Pharmacy, or other? Will she need a Masters to do this type work?
(direct quote, emphasis is mine).

No matter what field you're in - including microbiology - that'll require more than a bachelors. I know of no academic or industry research group that'll take someone with a bachelors as anything other than a grad student.
I direct you to the previous comments on this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Microbiology, with Immunology courses.
There are Pathology and Immunology graduate degrees, yes they are necessary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Microbiology is great as a Bachelor's and can open the door to graduate degrees in Pathology, Immunology, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology and so on.

..........
Microbio [still referring to a BS degree] teaches people to think of the unique cell features whether morphological, biochemical, genetic and combine it with enviromental data or classification system----great training for a brain that will go into medicine or medical research.
Obviously I'm not against graduate degrees. You seem to imply a student magically learns everything in grad school, not the case.

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Originally Posted by Warthaug View Post
As I stated in my first post to the OP, there are two routes his daughter can take to get into research - clinical or basic science. For the former a specialized bachelors is of less value than a generalized biology degree. For the later you need to specialize, but no one specialization is any better than the other. For both, you're going to need more than a B.Sc.
Your "2 routes" is such a bland, safe answer.
More importantly is that a student learn how to think properly about disease, the disease causing agents, their methods of action, the host's response-----that will blow the door's open to a professional (your clinical route) or graduate (your 2nd route) degree program more than allowing yourself to be a newbie/novice with a declared dedication to one route or the other and nothing more.

Knowing how to think properly is why I wrote this in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Microbio [Still referring to the BS degree] teaches people to think of the unique cell features whether morphological, biochemical, genetic and combine it with enviromental data or classification system----great training for a brain that will go into medicine or medical research.

Last edited by danfive; 07-21-2010 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:38 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Difference b/t Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Obviously I'm not against graduate degrees. You seem to imply a student magically learns everything in grad school, not the case.
I implied no such thing. I simply pointed out the reality that if someone wants to get into research involving drug/vaccine development, or disease research, a graduate degree is a necessity. A masters is the minimum any pharma, academic or government lab will accept for lab-tech type research positions. If you want to lead your own research program you're going to need an MD, PhD, or both.

spongebob14 hit on one of the few positions where a non-graduate degree holder may be able to get into the clinical side of research. Nursing should also be added to that list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Your "2 routes" is such a bland, safe answer.
While bland, it also has the advantage of being the correct answer. For spongebob's daughter to get into disease/drug/vax research, she requires a graduate degree - that is the standard in the field. If you disagree, then prove that I am wrong - show us a job listing, linkedin profile, webpage, etc, of someone involved in clinical/drug/vaccine/disease research who has only a bachelors and who is not a grad student.

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
More importantly is that a student learn how to think properly about disease, the disease causing agents, their methods of action, the host's response-----
Your microbiology bias is showing. Infectious diseases are a rare problem in the developed world - in the US for example, bacterial septicemia (something I used to study, btw) ranks #10 in causes of mortality. The only other infectious disease in the top 10 is a viral one - influenza at #8, and virology (at least at the uni's where I've worked/been educated) is not part of a microbiology degree. Of the remaining 8 causes of mortality in the USA, all but one are age-, lifestyle-, or gene-related diseases with no underlying infectious cause.

So if your interest is drug development, and you're looking to enter areas of the most active research and biggest impact, a micro degree is the last one you would want. A pre-med, general biology, or some sort of human biology (cell biology, mol biology, physiology, etc) would be a better route.

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that will blow the door's open to a professional (your clinical route) or graduate (your 2nd route) degree program more than allowing yourself to be a newbie/novice with a declared dedication to one route or the other and nothing more.
And why do you figure a micro degree would be superior to a cell/molecular one in that regard? During my bachelors in cell and mol biol I took courses on virology, biochemistry, immunology, biostatistics, cell biology, parasitology, human genetics, molecular biology, biophysics, and yes, even some micro (which is pretty standard topic load in a cell/mol biol degree). I fail to see how that specialization in cell biology is any less useful than one in micro. You don't honestly believe that taking courses on pathogens, archeans, fermentation and environmental bacteria represent any more diverse (or limited) a basis of knowledge?

For that matter, I couldn't do the research I do without that cellular background. And to be clear - I study the interactions of macrophage with a variety of pathogens (legionella, chlamydia, and plasmodium) as well as tumors and apoptotic cells. I could never have entered the area of research I am currently in with a micro degree - even though I study host-pathogen interactions. A cell biology degree serves me far better in that regards than a micro degree ever could...

...and obviously there are research areas where a microbiology degree is a necessity, and far superior to a cell biol degree. But pretending that a micro degree is always better is just stupid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Knowing how to think properly is why I wrote this in the first place.
And a micro degree - nor any other - isn't going to guarantee that. Critical thinking is, unfortunately, something not taught well at the undergraduate level in any discipline. A student will either learn to think critically, or they won't, regardless of what discipline they are in. It is a vital skill - on that we agree in totality - but pretending that a micro degree is the best way to learn that is disingenuous at best.

Bryan
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