The Pathway to Becoming a Biologist

Written by Dr Sarah Williams – course Leader for Biomedical Science 

The Pathway to Becoming a Biologist

I should be clear from the start, I’m loose with my term biologist.  I am a true believer in the concept of ‘One Biology’ so whether your biology is more towards the biomedical or more aligned with the ecological (or maybe you don’t even know yet?) – I still mean YOU. 

What a situation we find ourselves in, sitting at home doing what we can to maintain a normal work life, a normal family life, a normal social life – even though we all know none of this is normal (so we are really aiming for the impossible there) and we are all hoping that this comes to an end sooner rather than later.  But there are some positives – I see biologists everywhere.  They are providing advice to the government, they are modelling the outbreak, they are working towards a vaccine, they are designing new laboratory tests and implementing them in our hospitals (big shout out here to the NHS Healthcare Scientists – another amazing set of biologists).  They are on our TVs and our radios, they are talking to the general public, they are calm and they are collected, and I feel lucky to be one.   

I am a biologist of many labels – a human biologist, an immunologist, a clinical immunologist, a senior lecturer in biomedical science.  Those names represent an amazing journey of biology that has taken me to different ends of the country, in research labs, hospital labs, lecture theatres – and most recently my attic office.   

People often ask – what does a biologist do?  Look around you, at the moment they are difficult to miss.  However, to use a well-known adage ‘this too shall pass’ and then what?  Well, then the Biologists will move on to the all of the roles they were quietly performing before COVID19 changed all of our lives.  The Healthcare Scientists will go back behind the pathology doors, quietly processing all of our biological samples (being a part of 80 % of  diagnosis).  Research Scientists will continue to strive for answers, to tackle the World’s biggest problems.  They will push for a more sustainable future, they will work to understand disease, to enhance biodiversity, to monitor emerging threats to health, to educate, to advise, to inform.  From where I sit, the opportunities for a biologist are somewhat endless, you just need to find the first step on your path. 

Three seperate pictures of the academic staff of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences department and students in a collage.

We are all biologists, and you could be too. We will help to unlock your potential and start you on your own journey. Become a Biologist with one of our undergraduate or postgraduate courses.

From the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Department, stay safe and stay well.

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