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Career Details

19-1029.02 - Molecular and Cellular Biologists

Research and study cellular molecules and organelles to understand cell function and organization.

Key Facts
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Bright Outlook
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Current Employment
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The tasks listed below can be performed to prepare you for a career in this field.
  • Verify all financial, physical, and human resources assigned to research or development projects are used as planned.
  • Evaluate new supplies and equipment to ensure operability in specific laboratory settings.
  • Develop guidelines for procedures such as the management of viruses.
  • Coordinate molecular or cellular research activities with scientists specializing in other fields.
  • Supervise technical personnel and postdoctoral research fellows.
  • Provide scientific direction for project teams regarding the evaluation or handling of devices, drugs, or cells for in vitro and in vivo disease models.
  • Perform laboratory procedures following protocols including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing, cloning and extraction, ribonucleic acid (RNA) purification, or gel electrophoresis.
  • Monitor or operate specialized equipment, such as gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters, and phosphorimagers.
  • Maintain accurate laboratory records and data.
  • Instruct undergraduate and graduate students within the areas of cellular or molecular biology.
  • Evaluate new technologies to enhance or complement current research.
  • Direct, coordinate, organize, or prioritize biological laboratory activities.
  • Develop assays that monitor cell characteristics.
  • Design molecular or cellular laboratory experiments, oversee their execution, and interpret results.
  • Compile and analyze molecular or cellular experimental data and adjust experimental designs as necessary.
  • Conduct research on cell organization and function, including mechanisms of gene expression, cellular bioinformatics, cell signaling, or cell differentiation.
  • Conduct applied research aimed at improvements in areas such as disease testing, crop quality, pharmaceuticals, and the harnessing of microbes to recycle waste.
  • Write grant applications to obtain funding.
  • Prepare or review reports, manuscripts, or meeting presentations.
  • Participate in all levels of bioproduct development, including proposing new products, performing market analyses, designing and performing experiments, and collaborating with operations and quality control teams during product launches.
  • Confer with vendors to evaluate new equipment or reagents or to discuss the customization of product lines to meet user requirements.
  • Design databases, such as mutagenesis libraries.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The items listed below are organized into sections that contain knowledge useful for pursuing a career in this field. Each section also contains a "Percentage of Importance" statistic that shows how relevant an item is to the occupation.
  • 96%
    Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
 English Language
  • 89%
    Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 82%
    Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • 76%
    Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
 Education and Training
  • 72%
    Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
 Computers and Electronics
  • 68%
    Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
 Medicine and Dentistry
  • 62%
    Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
 Administration and Management
  • 56%
    Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
 Communications and Media
  • 55%
    Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • 54%
    Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • 53%
    Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
 Personnel and Human Resources
  • 52%
    Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
 Public Safety and Security
  • 50%
    Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The tools listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Laboratory heating and drying equipment
  • Gradiant thermocyclers
  • Polymerase chain reaction PCR thermocyclers
  • Thermocyclers
  • Heat blocks
  • Magnetic stirring hot plates
  • Dessicators
 Laboratory enclosures and accessories
  • Chemical hoods
  • Laminar flow hoods
 Laboratory baths
  • Laboratory water baths
 Laboratory centrifuges and accessories
  • Microcentrifuges
  • Tabletop centrifuges
  • Cooled benchtop centrifuges
  • Laboratory floor centrifuges
 Laboratory incubating equipment
  • Yeast culture incubators
  • Bacterial plate incubators
  • Automatic carbon dioxide CO2 incubators
 Laboratory ovens and accessories
  • Nucleic acid hybridization ovens
 Laboratory pumps and tubing
  • Laboratory vacuum pumps
 Laboratory electrophoresis and blotting system and supplies
  • Gel imaging apparatus
  • Electrophoresis cameras
  • Gel electrophoresis equipment
 Libraries and related materials
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA synthesizers
  • Cloning kits
 Viewing and observing instruments and accessories
  • Dissecting microscopes
  • Charge-coupled device CCD cameras
  • Laboratory binocular optical microscopes
  • Inverted binocular microscopes
  • Fluorescence microscopes
  • Scanning laser confocal microscopes
  • Automated microscopes
 Spectroscopic equipment
  • Fluorimeters
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Ultraviolet-Visible UV/VIS spectrophotometers
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectroscopes
 Chromatographic measuring instruments and accessories
  • Gas chromatography equipment
  • High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
 Clinical and diagnostic analyzers and accessories and supplies
  • Automated DNA sequencing equipment
  • Flow cytometers
 Pipettes and liquid handling equipment and supplies
  • Robotic fluidics stations
  • Manual single channel positive displacement pipettes
  • Manual single channel repeating pipetters
  • Multichannel micropipettes
  • Laboratory transfer pipettes
  • Variable volume pipettes
 Test Tubes
  • Centrifuge tubes
 Medical magnetic resonance imaging MRI products
  • Magnetic resonance imaging MRI systems
  • Laptop computers
  • Desktop computers
  • Personal computers
 Safety apparel
  • Safety gloves
 Vision protection and accessories
  • Emergency eye wash stations
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The technologies listed below include machines, equipment, tools, and software that is useful for individuals who are interested in this career.
 Business function specific software
  • Corel Office
  • Microsoft OfficeHOT
 Content authoring and editing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe IllustratorHOT
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Molecular Devices Corporation MetaMorph
  • Microsoft WordHOT
  • Microsoft PowerPointHOT
  • Microsoft ExcelHOT
 Data management and query software
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA libraries
  • Microsoft AccessHOT
  • Data mining software
 Development software
  • C++HOT
  • PythonHOT
 Industry specific software
  • Mathsoft MathcadHOT
  • AcaClone pDRAW32
  • Agilent CGH Analytics
  • Agilent Technologies GeneSpring GX
  • Basic Local Alignment Search Tool BLAST
  • Blast Output Browser BOB
  • ClustalW
  • Delila
  • EnzymeX
  • Gene Recognition and Assembly Internet Link GRAIL
  • Genotyping software
  • Geospiza GeneSifter
  • GraphPad Software GraphPad Prism
  • Laboratory information management system LIMS
  • Magma
  • Mendel
  • Michigan State University MSU ProFlex
  • MinitabHOT
  • NetPrimer
  • Primer3
  • RasMol
  • Textco BioSoftware Gene Inspector
  • The MathWorks MATLABHOT
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The certifications listed below are useful to pursue if you are interested in a career in this field.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
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The licensing information below is organized into sections and is useful for pursuing if you are interested in a career in this field.
No specific licensing information is listed for this occupation in the area you have selected.
All data sourced from US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration O*Net Database.
Related Programs
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Programs related to this career, offered by participating institution(s), are listed below.

Clicking on the Degree programs in the list below will take you away from the Careers page.
Brightpoint Community College
Eastern Shore Community College
Germanna Community College
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Northern Virginia Community College
Paul D. Camp Community College
Tidewater Community College
Virginia Highlands Community College
Virginia Peninsula Community College
Virginia Western Community College
Wytheville Community College
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Jobs related to this career may be found on or on the Google Job Search page.