Life sciences is a very broad field so multiple sub-fields. Careers in the life sciences are diverse and can apply to many industries. For example, these scientists may work in agriculture and food science, conservation and environmental advocacy, or medicine and bioengineering. In this post, we will look at the major branches of life sciences with great career scopes.
Major Branches of Life Sciences
You are alive and so am I, but there are a lot of differences between the two people. Life is defined as “living matter,” which includes matter that has certain characteristics including response, growth, metabolism, energy conversion, and reproduction. The word “life” is a noun, just like other specified entities, yet it might be better expressed as a verb to represent its fundamental nature as a process.
Individuals, living things, and assignable groups make up life (taxa). Each person is made up of one or more cells, which are the smallest living entities. Cells can grow, reproduce, and change other chemicals into carbon-based ones through metabolism.
Living Organisms vs Non-Living Objects
Nonliving objects may exhibit some, but not all, of life’s characteristics. For example, snow crystals can grow and are ordered even though they lack cells, but they do not meet the other requirements for life, they simply grow by depositing on the surface. Similar to how people grow, new flames and fires can do all of these things. Fire, on the other hand, lacks organization, equilibrium, and the genetic material needed for evolution.
It might be challenging to identify the precise set of characteristics that best describes life because living things possess so many diverse qualities associated with being alive. As a result, various thinkers have created various lists of the characteristics of life.
For example, some lists may say that movement is a distinguishing attribute, while others may state that living organisms contain DNA as their genetic material. Others might emphasize the carbon basis of life. As a result of a hierarchy that encompasses atoms, molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems, living things are highly organized.
Major Branches of Life Sciences
The field of Life Science is immensely diverse and has numerous branches and subfields. Examples include molecular biology, ecology, botany, zoology, microbiology, neuroscience, Bioinformatics, and medical sciences.
The study of molecular biology, which includes biomolecular synthesis, modification, processes, and interactions, aims to comprehend the molecular underpinnings of biological activity within and between cells. Molecular biology is the study of the chemical and physical makeup of biological macromolecules.
Related Article: How to Make a Career in Molecular Biology
Ecology examines how animals and their surroundings interact. This can cover subjects like interactions within species, parasitic and beneficial relationships, and the food chain. Additionally, the study of ecology looks at biodiversity, the size, and the dispersion of organism populations.
In essence, ecology seeks to get a broad understanding of how ecosystems function. These systems are intricate, dynamic webs of life that are always changing and preserving a fine balance without which the system would break down. This ecosystem could be the size of a Minnesota pond or the size of an enormous jungle.
The study of plants is the focus of the biology discipline known as botany. Botany includes everything from lichens, grass, and various groundcovers to enormous redwood trees. In addition, it might contain algae and fungi, which are not plants.
One of those biological subcategories with subcategories of its own is botany. While other researchers study plant ecology, a field that lies between botany and ecology, others concentrate on the biochemistry of plants. Plant genetics, evolution, physiology, and anatomy and morphology are other divisions.
Zoology examines the animal kingdom, while botany concentrates on the plant kingdom. It examines several animal traits, including behavior, breeding, migration patterns, habitats, and more.
Zoology shares common ground with a number of other academic fields, including paleontology, entomology, and genetics, similar to how ecology and botany do. Various zoologists concentrate on various animal species, such as birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, and more. The study of zoology is divided into more than a dozen subfields.
Biochemistry is the branch of life sciences that is concerned with the chemical and physicochemical processes and substances that occur within living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided into three fields: structural biology, enzymology, and metabolism.
Single-celled organisms or small cell colonies are some of the tiniest living things studied in microbiology. This can include the microscopic organisms that live on, in, and around us, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Because it has been so difficult to gain a clear picture of the issues, microbiology has historically been one of the most difficult areas to define.
For instance, the study of viruses has both been included in and excluded from the discipline of microbiology. Viruses are one of those organisms that love to jump rope with the idea of what life is and how to define it specifically. Not to mention the 99 percent of bacteria that are impossible to observe using conventional techniques.
Related Article: Microbiology Careers and Jobs in India
Genetics is the study of genes at all levels, including how they act in the cell and how they are transmitted from parents to offspring. It forms one of the central pillars of biology and overlaps with many other areas, such as agriculture, medicine, and biotechnology.
The neural systems that regulate various animal species are the focus of neuroscience. Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord. It’s a broad term encompassing numerous, more specific disciplines, including cognitive, clinical, and developmental neuroscience.
The use of computation and analysis tools to collect and understand biological data is known as bioinformatics. For the administration of data in contemporary biology and medicine, bioinformatics is crucial. The fields of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology are extremely overlapping.
Computer software applications like BLAST and Ensembl, which rely on the availability of the internet, are part of the bioinformatics toolkit. One of the most significant accomplishments of bioinformatics to date is the study of genome sequence data, particularly the analysis of the human genome project.
Future contributions to the functional understanding of the human genome, which will improve the identification of pharmacological targets and enable individualized treatment, are among the opportunities in the field of bioinformatics.
Related Article: Careers and Jobs in Bioinformatics
Medical (Biomedical) Sciences
Many topics in medical science aim to explain how the human body functions. Beginning with the fundamentals of biology, it is typically divided into specialized fields like anatomy, physiology, and pathology with little biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, and genetics thrown in. The relevance of the mind-body link and nutrition is also recognized by students and practitioners of holistic models of health.
Marine biology focuses on life in the oceans, everything from whales to fish to plankton to algae. It studies different ecosystems, food chains, and botany found in various water bodies.
Marine biology is vast, so most researchers select a particular area of interest and specialize in it. Specializations can be based on a particular species, group, behavior, technique, or ecosystem.
Other Major Sub-Branches of Life Sciences
There are many more biological sciences than these subfields. The fields of biotechnology, bioinformatics, and Synthetic Biology all explore various parts of the ever-increasing link between life and technology. Astrobiology studies the origins and distribution of life, including that which exists on Earth.
The field of Biolinguistics is concerned with the biology and development of language in all living things. Biophysics and Biomechanics study how living things move in the environment and what that can reveal about them. Developmental Biology examines the life cycles of diverse organisms, beginning with zygotes and continuing through fully developed adults.
Pharmacology studies how medications affect our bodies and also work to fight bacteria and viruses. While Structural Biology examines the structure of living things, quantum biology analyses quantum phenomena in living things.
Ethology and population biology study how people act and communicate in social groups. Toxicology studies the effects of chemicals and toxins on living organisms. Exploring fermentation is Zymology. Furthermore, Theoretical Biology looks at abstractions and mathematical models that represent biological phenomena rather than any scientific field.
Why Should You Pursue a Career in Life Sciences?
The enormous depth of study available in the field of life science is the main incentive to pursue it. It is a rather big field, the study of every living thing in the cosmos, past and present. There is a considerable possibility you will be able to locate a certain region that interests you.
A chance to influence the future
Working with customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and MedTech industries to find the best talent is a great approach to help create breakthrough medicines and products that will be used to treat hundreds of thousands of patients globally.
This is an opportunity for you to make a genuine difference in one of the most prosperous and significant sectors of the global economy by applying your education, experience, and knowledge.
Each outstanding candidate you place at these top, international businesses will move them one step closer to supplying the entire world with life-saving medications. You can rest easy knowing that there are opportunities to change the world every day.
Become a specialist on the topic – Subject Matter Expert (SME)
Candidates and clients will anticipate that you have a certain level of expertise in the life sciences sector and the industrial vertical in which you specialize. They are highly-paid, seasoned professionals who will place their faith in you if you can show that you comprehend the requirements of the customer and candidate as a whole.
You will essentially develop into an SME to accomplish this. As a regulatory affairs consultant, for instance, you must have a thorough knowledge of regulatory bodies, how they function, and the expertise a regulatory professional would require to bring a medicine to market. You can determine what is required to identify the ideal candidate for the position using your knowledge.
Numerous work options
There are many opportunities available in a variety of sectors.
Biochemists, clinical research associates, and microbiologists hold most of the employment in the life sciences. However, this industry also offers unusual but rewarding professions. Biomedical researchers, biotechnologists, and industrial pharmacists are included in this.
Yes, most positions in the life sciences industry are in the medical field. But it can also present chances for those who are interested in computer science, ecology, and other fields.
Options outside the Lab
Even if you aren’t interested in becoming a scientist, studying life science is still a good idea for the life science industry’s wider job opportunities. It can help you understand the world. Because of Life Sciences, we are able to predict, diagnose & treat diseases more precisely, The latest example is COVID-19 & the proactive development of vaccination.
Average Entry-Level Salaries for Life Sciences Graduates
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*Salary data has been taken from Indeed, Glassdoor, and PayScale (2021 – 2023).