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We come into contact with tons of bacteria and diseases daily. And yet, for the most part, we manage to stay reasonably healthy. The reason for this is our immune system, which fights off sickness so we can keep living our lives rather than spending our days laid up in bed.
It’s an awesome system, unless something breaks. As a Laboratory Immunologist, you’re part of the branch of science known as immunology, which studies immune systems, especially broken ones.
Immunology is a really broad field, and it can be broken down into smaller subsets. These subsets include evolutionary immunology, clinical immunology, and developmental immunology, to name a few. Each subset focuses on different diseases; for example clinical immunology looks at immune systems that don’t do enough to attack a disease, like in the case of HIV or AIDS. As a Laboratory Immunologist, you can choose which specific subset to focus on based on your interests and skills.
As you might imagine, Laboratory Immunologists spend most days in a laboratory. You perform tests in order to better understand the way the immune system works and why it occasionally fails. Like any type of Scientist, Laboratory Immunologists employ the scientific method daily, which means you also do a lot of research. Before you start an experiment, you read peer-reviewed articles and journals that detail previously done experiments and the hypotheses that did (or didn’t) work.
After completing your experiments, it becomes your turn to publish your work. Like a newspaper Journalist, you deliver the facts about how you did your experiment and what the outcomes were. That information is used to create better medicines and improve medical techniques or procedures.