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What does a Medical Scientist do?

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A medical scientist investigates human diseases and conducts research and methods to prevent and treat it in order to improve overall health in humans. They design studies, use clinical trials, develop experiments, and form hypotheses in order to understand certain health issues. Most medical scientists specialize in a certain area of research for example cancer or neuroscience to name a few. Watch a video to learn what a medical scientist does.

How to Become a Medical Scientist

medical scientist working

A medical scientist usually begins their education with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, or another related field. Undergraduates are encouraged to take a wide variety of courses like physical science and math. He or she would also want to pursue classes that would enhance and develop writing and communication skills that are necessary when writing grants or research findings for publication. After completing this, the student usually enters the Ph.D. Program.

Some have duel-degree programs that pair a Ph.D. with other specialty degrees in medicine, for example a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or Medical Doctor (M.D.). Ph.D. Students focus on research methods like data information or project design. The one with a duel degree learns both the research and clinical skills.

Graduate programs stress both original research and laboratory work. He or she continuing medical school spends 2 years in classrooms and labs and take courses in microbiology, biochemistry and pharmacology, for example. They may be required to complete a residency program as well.

Job Description of a Medical Scientist

A medical scientist helps find methods of preventive care of humans and discovering treatment for human illness. They do investigations involving deceases, such as cancer, by analyzing medical samples and performing other tests. They look for cause and treatment of pathogens, toxicity or chronic deceases in their goal to improve human health.

They work with health departments, physicians or others in developing clinical trials or programs to help prevent decease, such as, looking for connections or links between illnesses, like, diet and diabetes or smoking and lung cancer or other links that help them find cause, preventative health measures, and treatment. They standardize drug potency, it’s effects, potency and doses that allow the distribution and mass manufacturing of drugs. They may design tools for medical use.

A medical scientist often works alone in universities and would lead teams of students or technicians in tasks of support, like taking measurements. Some work in laboratories and in offices, spending most of their time studying data and other information.

Medical Scientist Career Video Transcript

In their quest to improve human health, medical scientists study the cause of diseases and test new methods to prevent and treat them. Medical scientists oversee many phases of development for drugs and medical devices. For example, they might develop an experimental combination of drugs to slow the progress of an illness… then design and lead a clinical trial to test its effectiveness, and conclude by writing a report and publishing their findings.

When a new medication is developed for mass production, medical scientists are responsible for determining standards for the potency, dosages, and methods of use. They also develop health programs for organizations. Much of their work includes leading teams of technicians or when in university settings students, who perform support tasks. Medical scientists work in private industry on company-approved research projects, and in government and university positions, where they typically write grant proposals to obtain funding for their research.

Most medical scientists work full time… both in offices studying data and reports… and in laboratories conducting experiments. Precautions must be taken when they work with dangerous biological samples and chemicals. Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D. in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of, or in addition to, a Ph.D. Most have a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Scientists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-1042.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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