Bacterial geneticists expand our understanding of genetic and genomic science by studying bacteria. A bacterial geneticist conducts research to understand the nature of bacteria and its mechanisms, looking for insights into its relationships with other organisms. By studying bacteria, geneticists can help develop new medications like antibiotics and new defenses to bacterial infections that afflict patients, especially those with immune-compromised systems such as AIDS patients.
Bacteria also represents a good model for studying mechanisms that happen in all organisms. Processes like DNA replication, gene expression, and cell division can be studied in bacteria, but the knowledge gained can be interpreted for all living things.
The fields of bacterial genomics and genetics are expected to expand in response to new developments in the delivery of clinical services in areas such as AIDS, cancer, and antibiotic resistance. Heightened environmental concerns will likely prompt research as well. The threat of biological weapons may also lead to expanded research and job opportunities.
Positions held by bacterial genomicists and geneticists tend to be economically secure given the essential nature of the services they provide.
Working Conditions & Context
Bacterial genomicists and geneticists work in laboratory settings. Some work with pathogenic organisms, so strict safety procedures must be followed at all times. Others work in clinical settings with infected patients and their families.
Research is essential, so to help fund their efforts, bacterial genomicists and geneticists may have to write grant proposals. Many also work within academic settings and often publish reports in specialized scientific journals.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $35,620 - $101,030 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $65,080 annually.
Students interested in a career in bacterial genomics and genetics need to complete a relevant academic program in the sciences. An initial broad survey of science fundamentals is best, followed by a specialization in genetics, genomics, or microbiology.
A Bachelor's degree specific to the field meets the minimal requirements for some non-research positions. Most administrative and research-oriented positions, however, require a higher degree, even as much as a Ph.D.
Certification & Licensing:
The Human Microbiome Project
The American Society of Human Genetics
The American Society of Microbiology
The US Department of Energy
The US Centers for Disease Control
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The US Department of Defense
The US Department of Homeland Security
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.