Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Biomedical Research Career Path: Is Biomedical Research Good Career?

Is biomedical research career path the right profession for you? Do you think you’ve got what it takes to work in this industry? From challenges to daily tasks, Boston-based biomedical researcher Aishwarya Srivastava discusses everything you need to know about the profession. 

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1. Career Path: What Does a Biomedical Researcher Do?

A biomedical researcher works in a laboratory where they apply their expertise to generate new ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat human diseases. Any experiment begins with first, planning and discussing ideas second, executing the experiment in the lab, third, collecting information, data, and results which are then finally, presented to colleagues and managers.

Additionally, some of the skills a biomedical researcher must understand are mammalian cell culture techniques, in-vitro immune assays, CRISPR screening, and flow cytometry.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Industry/Sector
1.2 Social Image
1.3 Reasons to Become a Biomedical Researcher
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 Industry Sector

Biotech industry and pharmaceutical industry

Most biomedical researchers come from a biotech and pharmaceutical background. As this profession utilizes biotechnology techniques with a knowledge of pharmaceuticals, most students complete their undergraduate degrees in one of the two specialized programs.

1.2 Social Image

Respectable profession.

The perception of being a biomedical researcher varies in different countries. In the USA, being a biomedical researcher is a very respectable profession and is considered valuable. Also, there is a plethora of opportunities in this field that encourage students to pursue this profession.

However, in India, pursuing biomedical research is considered a dead end with very few core research job opportunities. As a result, most students prefer to pursue further education in countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany, and others. Also, because biomedical research is concerned with the direct enhancement of live organisms, high-level facilities are required, which are not readily available in India.

Therefore, in most cases, graduates in India often end up with jobs that have nothing to do with this science due to a lack of relevant companies in the nation.

1.3 Reasons to Become a Biomedical Researcher

Professional fulfillment, new learning opportunities every day, good pay scale.

My area of research focuses on making genetically engineered T-cells that generate an anti-tumor immune response, making it a promising cell therapy for cancer patients. As a result, to know that my contributions help cancer patients live longer and healthier lives, this job feels very fulfilling.

Also, I enjoy that my job supports my never-ending thirst for knowledge. My profession encourages me to learn something new every day and work with amazing scientists who inspire me.

Besides, working as a researcher also pays really well. Especially in the industry, where the companies are well funded, they provide their employees with exceptional benefits. In the US, people with a biomedical science degree have a high employment rate, which increases as they gain experience. As a result, job prospects overseas are bright, and there are a variety of options accessible.

2. What It Takes to Be a Biomedical Researcher

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

Curiosity, patience, discipline.

One of the many skills a biomedical researcher must possess is the discipline to lead and conduct research projects. To succeed in this role, you’ll also need a curious mind, a keen eye for detail. Similarly, researchers must have good communication skills and a willingness to ask questions and follow-ups.

Additionally, to become a biomedical researcher a student must be good at academics because this profession is solely based on the knowledge researchers acquire in specialization courses and expertise. Apart from this, organizational abilities to keep track of research findings and following instructions is also an important skill.

2.2 Physical Demands

Long hours of physical work in the lab, while wearing biosafety PPE.

As a biomedical research scientist, I conduct medical research, which usually entails evaluating cultured cells or samples and running clinical studies to assess preventative and treatment approaches. As a result, this process demands standing and walking for long periods of time in the lab whilst wearing the biosafety personal protective equipment.

Therefore, if someone dislikes working long hours on a project, the biomedical research career path could be uncomfortable.

2.3 Psychological Demands in the Biomedical Research Career Path

Stress due to time constraints.

Biomedical researchers often suffer from emotional burnout, stressed nerves, and acute physical tiredness, among other things. As a result of tight deadlines, extended work hours, unhealthy competition and high levels of competitive pressure at work, and increased research loads.

Also, research in any field is a slow-moving process, so if you lack patience you could find yourself being frustrated and unfulfilled.

3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Biomedical Researching

3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

Inter-school competitions, debates, science projects.

When I was in high school, I worked very hard at enhancing my communication skills by participating in debate competitions, competing for the student council, and participating in various inter-school activities. In my opinion, communication skills, both verbal and written are essential for funding your research. For instance, if a grant committee isn’t satisfied with your presentation or that your idea is a game-changing solution, it won’t get past the preliminary stages.

Nonetheless, everyone is different, and being a scientist means having an open mind. Therefore, I would highly encourage young aspirants of biomedical research career path to give anything that piques their interest a try and considers playing at least one sport as it helps in teaching various skills like leadership, patience, patience, team efforts, and social skills.

3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

Reading encyclopedias, books about science and technology, experimenting with science project kits.

Young aspirants must browse through encyclopedias, read about nature, science, and technology as much as they can to gain comprehensive knowledge on certain topics and to find a topic of interest.

Additionally, I would also suggest science projects kits or games to stimulate the mind and give food for thought. Apart from that, building an interest in reading and watching documentaries about history also develops vital analytical skills required in this profession.

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

Many movies use an entertaining approach to increase interest in the subject of science. However, most of the shows and movies focus on space, aliens, and dinosaur-related research and do not represent biological research.

A few of my favorite sci-fi shows and movies are:

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Interstellar
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Manifest

Additionally, I would also encourage watching Nat Geo, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet as these channels are fun to watch.

3.4 Related Books to Read

Books hold a great charm for me, and I personally enjoy reading about empowering women, women in science, and novels classics. A few of my all-time favorite books that I would recommend are:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall

However, if you really want to get updates about the world of science, you can read articles published by journals such as Nature, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.

4. Life as a Biomedical Researcher

4.1 Part-Time Options

Part-time as co-ops or interns.

A biomedical research scientist profession is usually a full-time job. In some cases, students can also work part-time as co-ops or interns at labs at the beginning of their biomedical research career path.

4.2 Travelling Required

Not common.

Travelling is uncommon in this profession as most of the work is done in the lab or the office. Conversely, rare events of travelling may occur to meet with clients or to present research findings.

4.3 Average Workday/ What to Expect in the Biomedical Research Career Path

On most experiment days, I reach the office before 8 am to start my experiments. The duration of an experiment is not fixed and can range from one day to several weeks. Additionally, my day also involves meetings with my team.

In the time that I don’t spend in the lab, I am often analyzing data and writing reports. On an experiment heavy day, I would leave late in the evening. Whereas, on non-experiment days I can also work remotely. This career path offers high flexibility.

5. Future of the Biomedical Research Career Path

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Approximately at the age of 60, most biomedical research scientists step back from their full-time jobs and later, take up guest lecturer opportunities at universities and institutes.

5.2 Threats from Automation

In my opinion, there will always be a demand for biomedical researchers as more healthcare decisions are made based on information obtained through laboratory tests. However, this doesn’t mean that the job will not change.

Particularly, with the introduction of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence, biomedical science is at the forefront of technological advancements, and with the increased use of molecular biology and genomics in diagnostics, job roles will undoubtedly change, with a greater emphasis on science.

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit the Biomedical Research Career Path

Although the love of science is a powerful incentive for people in this profession, many early career researchers consider quitting due to job insecurity and funding shortages for their research. Apart from this, many professionals quit the biomedical research career path to pursue academic research.

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Curated & Edited by Akarshi Srivastava (CareerNuts Staff)

Read next:

How to Become a Biomedical Researcher: Salary, Exams & More

Discover more about what the practice of biomedical research entails, the variety of job opportunities available, and how you can kickstart your career to become a biomedical researcher today.

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