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Biology Overview - Preparation - Specialty Areas - Day In The Life - Earnings - Employment - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations 

Specialty Areas

- Biochemistry
- Bioinformatics and Biostatistics
- Biophysics
- Cell and Molecular Biology

- Ecology/Environmental Science

- Entomology
- Genetics
- Immunology

- Marine and Aquatic Biology
- Microbiology  

- Neuroscience
- Nutrition and Food Science
- Pharmacology
- Physiology

Neuroscience is the study of how cells in the brain and nervous system develop and function, both on an individual level and, even more importantly, as integrated systems of cellular networks. The field of Neuroscience covers everything from molecules, genes, and proteins to behavior. It includes the study of brain development, sensation and perception, learning and memory, movement, sleep, stress, aging, and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Some neuroscientists study the whole organism (behavior), others study specific kinds of cells in the brain, and yet others use computers as their "model system." Some study "simple" systems, such as fruit flies and tiny worms, because so much is known about the genes that control their behavior, while other neuroscientists are delving into the much more daunting study of humans. As with other disciplines of biology, some neuroscientists are interested in basic understanding of how the system works, while others are studying ways to prevent or cure nervous-system based disorders. (Source: adapted from Society for Neuroscience)

   Related Associations:
       Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs
       Society for Neuroscience

   Related Links:
       Neuroscience for Kids
       Neuroscience in the News

Nutrition and Food Science
Nutrition is the study of all aspects of the relation of diet to health and disease, especially in humans and animals of agricultural or zoological importance. Such studies includes determining nutritional requirements and how they change over the life cycle or during the course of disease, nutritional risk factors for disease (either over- or under-supply), eating disorders and weight management, dietary supplements, and special considerations for sports. Food Science is concerned with all aspects of food, including its nutritional content, additives and contaminants, and packaging as well as the security of our food supply. Food scientists study the physical, microbiological, and chemical content of food, as well as the interaction of food components with each other, with air, and with packaging materials, and the preservation of quality during processing, transport, and storage. Both Nutrition and Food Science are closely related to the fields of biochemistry, pharmacology, and physiology. (Source: adapted from American Society for Nutritional Sciences and from Institute of Food Science and Nutrition) See related field: Nutritionist

   Related Associations:
       American Society for Clinical Nutrition
American Society for Nutritional Sciences
       Institute of Food Science and Nutrition
       Institute of Food Science and Technology
       Institute of Food Technologists
       International Union of Food Science & Technology

   Related Links:
       Introduction to the Food Industry
       The Science of Food

Pharmacology is the study of chemicals (drugs) that affect the function of living organisms, whether the chemical is intended to be therapeutic or is an abused substance. Clinical pharmacologists study chemicals of medicinal interest--how they are absorbed, transported, and metabolized in the body, how they function therapeutically, how to change their chemical structure so as to minimize unwanted side-effects. Some pharmacologists purify substances derived from nature (for example, plant materials) in search of new drugs, while others use knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of disease to "design" therapeutic drugs that they synthesize in the laboratory. Pharmacology can also be the study of the body's own internal chemistry, for example, chemical messengers such as hormones and transmitters, and how these are produced, packaged, and transported in the body's normal functioning. Modern pharmacology also is closely tied to biotechnology. (Source: adapted from British Pharmacological Society)

   Related Associations:
       American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
       British Pharmacological Society
       Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

   Related Links:

Physiology is the study of how the body works, focusing on the function of cells and tissues in organ systems and how they are coordinated for the entire body, under normal circumstances and when exposed to stresses. Physiologists study life processes from the molecule to the whole organism. For animals, the systems studied include cardiovascular, digestive, excretory, immune, musculoskeletal, nervous, and reproductive, and how hormones coordinate the functions of all of these. Physiologists ask how these systems work under normal conditions and with disease or under stress. How do they keep us warm in cold environments and cold in hot environments, how do we adjust to low oxygen at high altitudes, how do our heart and lungs adapt to intense exercise, and what happens to astronauts when weightless for extended periods? Plant physiologists study comparable questions, focusing, for example on photosynthesis and nutrient and water transport. (Source: adapted from American Physiological Society)

   Related Associations:
       American Physiological Society
       American Society of Exercise Physiologists
       American Society of Plant Biologists

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by JGPerpich, LLC and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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