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Having trouble deciding biology subjects (looking for the future)!

  1. Cell Biology

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Microbiology

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. Immunology

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. Nov 8, 2003 #1
    I've just finished 1st year of my science degree, supposedly where they give you a taste of everthing possible, and you get to decide what to specialise in.

    The problem is, I like pretty much all of it ! I'm having real trouble with what majors to choose from. I know I want to major in biochemistry and molecular biology, but what to complement it in is the problem.

    I've listed what i could co-major in below in the poll, just want to know everyones opinion on these areas, and which would have the newest frontier.

    edit - forgot to say, thanks in advance! Feel free to add anything else of interest.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2003 #2

    Monique

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    I would say Cell Biology (that is what I am doing right now) since it is a bit less specialized. Right now I am doing cell biology in a lab who works with immune cells and within a while I will probably go to a lab which works with microorganisms, thus getting a little of everything.

    It depends on the program though, but with cell biology you basically learn the workings of normal cells, immunological or protazoa are just varietians on that model and easy to understand if you have got a good firm foundation.

    Ian might choose microbiology though, probably because of the ease of manipulation microorganisms..
     
  4. Nov 8, 2003 #3

    iansmith

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    Choose microbiology because it is the program you will do everything. In my opinion cell bio and immunology are more specialize.

    Ìn microbiology program, we did biochem, immunology, cell bio, parasitology, virology and molecular biology. Microbiology is not just the study of micro-organism. With my microbio major, we can go into immulogy, cell bio, work with bacteria, human and plant cell culture, protozoan, and fungi. We can also go into many different field, for example microbial ecolgy, animal and human disease, and plant science.

    Can you show us the course selection for each option. We migth give you a more educated opinion.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2003 #4

    iansmith

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    Working with microorganism is not that ease. Some don't even grow in the lab and other are really fastidious and fragile.
     
  6. Nov 8, 2003 #5

    Monique

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    Really? I wouldn't really know because I have never done cell culture (except once a HeLa), but my impression is that protozoa pretty much can grow in any condition while eukaryotic cells have to be stimulated with lots of chemicals in order to grow.

    Then there is the problem that some cell types don't undergo mitosis, such as macrofages..

    Ofcourse depends on the microorganism, which ones are you trying to grow?

    Jinx, it might help finding out how much experience they have with teaching the programs and how much expertise there is among the teachers on the subject. Go with the program that they like the most and you'll do fine.
     
  7. Nov 8, 2003 #6

    iansmith

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    Problem is that everyone think bacteria are easy to work with because of E. coli. E. coli can grow in water with salt and sugar. The problem is not every bacteria have such low grow needs. In enviromnental sample can be full of bacteria and other microorganism but on 1 to 2% migth grow. Some pathogen and symbions, mostly insect symbions, have specific needs due to genome reduction, we do not know everything and are unculturable. Also some protozoans requires specific nutriement and chemicals.

    I am working with Histophilus ovis and Haemophilus somnus. There are pathogen of sheep and cattle. My bacteria is slow growing but it dies fast so I have to be careful when I harvest them. Unlike E. coli, I cannot keep it the fridge and we can only store it at -80C for about 2 years or it become hard to grow it back. It also has high nutrient requirement that we don't know about and it also requires specific chemicals.

    I second that. To add, you should also look if an of your options offer either a undergraduate project or a co-op program. You will gain much experience and see what lab and research works are. This is also a plus if you want to go to grad school.
     
  8. Nov 8, 2003 #7
    Biochemistry
    Biochemistry was one of the majors I considered, but now i'm not so sure if they would compliment properly with the ones below. But i was enticed by my sisters work on HIV proteins, which I thought was the domain of microbiology.


    Cell Biology

    Microbiology

    Immunology

    Thanks for the replies, I'm going to look around on Monday at uni and see what faculties are like. Concerning expertise, they all seem to be Professors - of course that by no means indicates the teaching ability, althought to my suprise, most of the ones that have lectured us biology students this year have infused us with enthusiasm. Which is why I'm in a dilemma.. i like it all !
     
  9. Nov 9, 2003 #8

    iansmith

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    All the opion seem apealing and different from one another.

    What do you want to do later? In what field would you like to work? And why?

    These question could help you make a choice. Biochem, microbio and immuno offer an honour program with research project or training. This is good but you have to work hard to get into the honour class. It is worth it.

    From what I see from the description I would choose the double major of microbiology and molecular biology because it offers a bit of biochem, immuno and cell bio plus it has a one year research project.
     
  10. Nov 14, 2003 #9
    Thanks for all the replies..

    I checked out the Biochemistry area of my uni, and it happened to be the massive building staring me in the face for the entire year. Microbiology seems to be highly recommended as well.. so I think I'm doing Microbiology and Molecular Biology as my first major, and do Biochemistry as my second.

    Science however is only half of my degree, the other half is commerce (which i can do finance, accounting, businesslaw or marketing). Anyone think commerce is any use in this field? Or should I ditch it and concentrate on science.. [b(]. sorry to be a pain.
     
  11. Nov 14, 2003 #10

    iansmith

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    I have done some basic economics classes (microecono, macroecono, management, marketing and entrepreneur leadership). I have done these classes for common knowledge and raise my GPA. It is also a change from having science class class all the time.
    These classes can be usefull if you plan to go into in a more of a management carrer rather than lab work or start our own business.
     
  12. Nov 14, 2003 #11

    Monique

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    Start your own bio/chem company, there you go! :D
     
  13. Nov 15, 2003 #12

    Another God

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    Monash? Monash? You're from Melbourne? LOL!

    hello
    (i'm in sydney...)

    Anyway, yeah, commerce would be great if you wanted to get into Biotechnology stuff. Most molecular biology is done by companies these days, so know how to make money out of an idea is very useful :wink:

    My major at UNSW is Molecular Biology, but as part of our major we have to do quite a few Microbiology subjects. It is as if Microbiology becomes assumed knowledge for molecular biology.

    This being my third year of science classes is actually the first time we have done any cell biology. I love it though. Cell biology is where it has all finally come together for me (but I am interested in technologies relating to humans etc...)
     
  14. Nov 17, 2003 #13
    Ian, I would be interested in knowing what kind of work you are doing with your H. somnus, and what strain you are working with. I too have worked with H. somnus on a somewhat extensive level.
     
  15. Nov 17, 2003 #14

    iansmith

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    We are investigating iron acquisition. We previously investigated transferine-iron acquisition and I am presently investigating haemoglobin-iron acquisition. We are working with stain 649, 2336, and 8025. We also have strain 1P. For H. ovis we are working with 9L, 642, 3384Y, 5688T and 714. Histophilus ovis and Haemophilus somnus are practicaly the same species.

    Who are you working with?

    I am working with Niven. http://www.nrs.mcgill.ca/niven/niven.htm
     
  16. Nov 17, 2003 #15
    I am working with Dr. Jerry Sanders at University of Michigan, Flint. Most of the stuff he has published was work he did with Tagawa.
     
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