I think it was George Michael who once wore a t-shirt with “Choose Life” written on it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I genuinely think he was trying to promote the choice of a career in life sciences. He should have worn a bigger t-shirt or used a smaller font if you ask me; but seriously though, a position in life sciences is a cracking career path to pursue. If biology is your thing, then you should definitely give a graduate job in life sciences a whirl!
What is work as a life scientist like?
Essentially, you’ll be working in laboratories to help increase scientific understanding of genetics, fertility, plant life and the cause and development of diseases (a.k.a. pathology). Furthermore, you will be conducting vital research studies and experiments to help doctors diagnose illnesses and treat people in the best possible way.
If you pursue a career in this area, you will most likely be working in hospital labs, academic institutions, clinics, pharmaceutical companies or specialist clinical research organisations. This is a massively broad area of work and the clinical research scientists that work in the life sciences arena are employed in many different niche roles.
You could become a clinical biochemist and spend you’re your time analysing blood, semen, saliva and urine samples; you could pursue a career as a toxicologist and investigate the effects of chemicals, drugs and other substances on humans; or alternatively, you could become an embryologist, where you’d be using techniques such as IVF treatment to help people with infertility problems.
You could be working in the morgue as a pathologist to determine causes of death; you could become a cytogeneticist who investigates hereditary diseases; or you could develop a career as an immunologist who studies AIDS, HIV, transplant rejection and other problems that relate to the immune system.
How do I get involved with the life sciences?
Understandably, your day-to-day responsibilities as a life scientist will vary depending on your area of specialism. However, in whatever line of work you choose to pursue, you will be spending the majority of your time conducting and overseeing clinical experiments.
You will then be analysing your findings and presenting your conclusions to your peers, colleagues and medical professionals. You may also be required to attend conferences and seminars from time to time and present your research papers to other scientists.
The majority of life scientists have a degree in a relevant medical science subject, such as biology, life sciences, biotechnology, biochemistry, microbiology or pharmacology.
However, you can work as a laboratory technician and provide support to other clinical scientists at a slightly more junior level, with a relevant HND or HNC.
It goes without saying that people who work in life sciences really know what life is all about…So, if you’ve got a head for science and you’re fascinated by life and all its scientific processes, you should definitely consider a career in this subsector!