When it comes to different degrees in the sciences, the biological sciences stands out among them as a very versatile topic. Biology, at its most basic definition, is the scientific study of life. Therefore, the biological sciences can be broken down into many sub-disciplines including zoology, botany, microbiology, biochemistry, marine biology, and more.
When we look at those studying the biological sciences, the question of why the future might depend on those students has a simple answer. Since the biological sciences is such a diverse and ever changing field associated with everything from the smallest cells to entire ecosystems, those studying the various biological sciences are going to be doing important work in the future that relate to the world and all living things.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the unique kinds of research that biological scientists across the board are doing and just how their innovations and work are changing the world we know around us. The plethora of research that biological scientists and those studying the various areas within the field are doing are definitely paving ways into the future.
As the biological sciences encompass everything related to the study of living organisms, taking a short look at what scientists who are involved in genetics and genomics are doing can shed a little light on this area. Genetic studies are all about understanding the inheritance patterns (specifically genes and chromosomes) that provide important traits to living organisms.
Within this field of the biological sciences, there are modern advancements in genome sequencing and analysis that are allowing scientists to search for mutations and genes. These mutations and genes can determine development in living organisms, disease, and natural variation.
One specific example is from Graham Walker, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently looking at how cells repair and handle DNA damage. Genetic and genomics studies are key to understanding how living organisms work and function!
Neuroscience is yet another interdisciplinary area falling under the biological sciences that encompasses the study of the nervous system and what it does. It ties into other topics like linguistics, engineering, and medicine. Neuroscience itself can further be broken down into specific sub-disciplines, offering students plenty of areas to specialize in depending on their own interests.
Neuroscientists have played a huge role in expanding the understanding of many common conditions that relate to humans, brain activity, and developing unique tools to assist in identification like MRI scans. Some specific conditions that neuroscience has shed light on include: ADHD, schizophrenia, brain tumors, immune system disorders, and more.
In regards to the future, neuroscience stands as an important sector of the biological sciences because it helps to further our understanding of human functions, how neurological factors might tie into medication development, and how preventative measures might be created to help with other health issues. Recently, neuroscientists at MIT have found memory cells that help people to interpret new situations. Developments like this are being made within the biological sciences, helping to pave our understanding of biological organisms further.
Microbiology, as a subdiscipline, involves the study of all living organisms that are small to the naked eye. Microbiology has become an important subdiscipline thanks to the various research microbiologists are able to conduct that relate to global issues.
Some notable areas that microbiology touches on include climate change, biotechnology, the cause and control of disease, and more! With such varied applications, microbiology is key to the future of many things that have an impact on the daily life of people and the planet. Research that is undertaken by microbiologists can be applied to the human body, food, or to animals!
For example at Edvoy’s partner university, Thompson Rivers University, Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham is part of a team that has been looking at whether probiotics can help bats to fight off fatal fungus. The team’s interests cover several areas including cave microbiology, antibiotic resistance and microbiology education. This is a perfect example of how many different areas studies in the biological sciences can cover!
Those who study the biological sciences are going to be entrenched in the scientific study of life and living organisms which in essence, is very much about the future. The biological sciences, as we explored above, are varied and the different research going on in a branch at any given time can be wildly different!
If you’re considering studying the biological sciences, the above areas of research and their far-reaching impacts are certainly one reason to keep in mind. The biological sciences as a field of study offers students a wide variety of areas to study, from marine biology to ecology. Biological scientists are at the forefront of the future and it’s certainly an exciting field to be a part of.
As Nobel Laureate Jennifer Doudna said recently about her research on gene editing, she has approached her research with “with the vision of bringing genome editing to bear on problems facing humanity, whether they be in biomedicine or in agriculture.” This kind of outlook on the biological sciences, that they encompass many topics at once and can have such positive impacts to multiple areas, is perhaps the biggest reason that those studying the biological sciences are such a key to the future.
Paige Lyman is a freelance writer and journalist who writes in the pop-culture space.