Biomedical scientist

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Template:Worldview A biomedical scientist (or biomedical doctor, biomedician, medical scientist), is a scientist educated in the field of biological science, especially in the context of medicine. Biomedicians are typically active in biomedical research and tend to have more limited and research oriented contact with patients than physicians.

The general motivation may be stated as: "to increase the body of scientific knowledge on topics related to medicine."[1] Biomedical scientists study disease, drugs, and other topics related to human health. Their role is to develop or improve treatments, vaccines, equipment, and techniques involving health care.[1][2]

Biomedical scientists tend to focus more on basic science and research over treatment techniques and day-to-day medicine as their more patient-oriented physician counterparts.

Professionals educated in fields other than medicine might also contribute to medical overall knowledge. Examples include biological scientists such as molecular biologists.


Medical scientist assessing the health status of transgenic mice in a British laboratory, 2000

Biomedical scientists study aspects of living organisms, such as reproduction, growth, and development to develop treatments prevent disease, and promote health.[3] Their research can investigate health (basic) or investigate how to prevent disorders (applied). Scientists may use human volunteers or models. Workplaces include institutes, hospitals or industries, laboratory-based.[1]

People in this field may:[1]


Biomedical education programs (sometimes known as Medical Scientist Training Programmes) are given at most medical faculties around the world, usually with the aim to create professionals with future leading positions in medical research and development.[citation needed]

The education has a clear focus on human biology and basic science and how this knowledge can be transferred into a medical and clinical setting.

United Kingdom

The programs usually encompass an initial bachelors degree, which is presupposed for two years of further studies eventually earning the students a medicine master's examina (that might however differ in extent and depth between different countries and/or faculties). Nevertheless many students choose to study on (for as much as) another 4 years to earn the higher Ph.D/Doctor's degree, at this time the students specialize in a certain medical area such as, for example, nephrology, neurology, oncology or virology (by now the student has passed a maximum 9 years of higher learning).

A PhD in Biomedicine is however required for most higher research and teaching positions, which most colleges and universities offer.[3] These graduate degree programs may include classroom and fieldwork, research at a laboratory, and a dissertation.[2] Although a degree in a medicine or life science is common, recent research projects also need graduates in statistics, bioinformatics, physics and chemistry.[1] Abilities preferred for entry in this field include: technical, scientific, numerical, written, and oral skills.[1]

Students who complete a bachelor's degree can work in non-research positions such as performing, less advanced, medical tests at hospitals or assisting Biomedical doctors in their work. When in high school, students should prepare themselves for this field by taking science and health-related courses such as biology, chemistry, and mathematics.[3]

Areas of specialization

File:John Carew Eccles.jpg
John Carew Eccles was an Australian neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synapse

Medical scientists can specialize, for example, in the following areas, which are explained:[2][3]

Salaries and work conditions

Biomedical scientists are employed by federal and state governments, are consultants for chemical and pharmaceutical business firms, or work in laboratories where they perform tests and experiment.[3][2] In the United States, the average salary for research scientists is $66,393.[7] In the United Kingdom, they are paid anywhere from £20,000 to £40,000, depending on experience, education, and position.[1]

File:Radioactive.svg Laboratory experiments often include toxic or radioactive materials and dangerous organisms.[1][2] Safety procedures must be followed to avoid contamination.[2] Ethical issues are brought up when research scientists work with animals and animal products, like stem cells.[1]

Job growth

Job growth[7]
10-year job growth 17.05%
Total jobs (2004) 29,442
Forecast (2014) 34,461
Average annual growth 1,424

Status worldwide

The United Kingdom

Biomedical scientist is the protected title used by professionals working within the pathology department of a hospital.[8] The biomedical sciences are made up of the following disciplines; biochemistry, haematology, immunology, microbiology, histology, cytology, bacteriology and transfusion services. These professions are regulated within the United Kingdom by the Health professions council. Anyone who falsely claims to be a biomedical scientist commits an offence and could be fined up to £5000.

Each department specialises in aiding the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Entry to the profession requires an Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) accredited BSc honours degree followed by a minimum of 12 months laboratory training in one of the pathology disciplines, however the actual time spent training can be considerably longer. Trainees are also required to complete a certificate of competence training portfolio, this requires gathering extensive amounts of evidence to demonstrate professional competence. At the end of this period the trainees portfolio and overall competence are assessed; if successful state registration is achieved. State registration indicates that the applicant has reached a required standard of education and will follow the guidelines and codes of practice created by the health professions council.

Biomedical scientists are the second largest profession registered by the Health Professions Council and make up a vital component of the health care team. Many of the decisions doctors make are based on the test results generated by biomedical scientists. Despite this, much of the general public are unaware of biomedical scientists and the important role they play. This lack of awareness extends to many doctors and nurses; often biomedical scientists are incorrectly referred to as laboratory technicians.

Biomedical scientists are not exclusively confined to NHS laboratories. Biomedical scientists along with scientists in other inter-related medical disciplines seek out to understand human anatomy, physiology and behaviour at all levels. This is sometimes achieved through the use of model systems that are homologous to various aspects of human biology. The research that is carried out either in Universities or Pharmaceutical companies by biomedical scientists has led to the development of new treatments for a wide range of degenerative and genetic disorders. Stem cell biology, cloning, genetic screening/therapies and other areas of biomedical science have all been generated by the work of biomedical scientists from around the world.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Research scientist (medical) at Prospects". 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-11. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Hot Jobs". Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Health Careers". Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  4. "Bacteriology at The Free Online Dictionary". Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  5. "NHS Careers". Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  6. "Virology at The Free Online Dictionary". Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. Paul D. Ellner (2006). The Biomedical Scientist as Expert Witness. ASM Press. ISBN 1555813453.

External links