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Pay and Remuneration
Microbiologists who are employed in government / private organizations get remuneration along with perk and other benefits as revised from time to time. In India, the professionals who are working in pharma or biotechnology labs can get starting salary somewhere between Rs.1.2 lakhs to 1.8 lakhs as grade pay. With two or three years of experience, the salary gets doubled.
Those who are working in government organizations or research labs also get handsome salary with other benefits. The salary ranges from Rs.1.8 lakhs to 2.5 lakhs as grade pay. Those who have M.Sc or PhD degree in microbiology can get a salary ranging from Rs.3.5 lakhs to 7 lakhs a year in reputed industries.
Microbiologists can either go into pure research, in which case they would work as research scientists in premier government institutions like the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, the National Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, or the National Center for Cell Sciences, Pune, or at private research institutes.
Or they can get into industry and work as part of in-house research teams, developing products for the company they work. All kinds of industry employ microbiologists, but the biggest employers are the pharmaceutical industry, the biotechnology industry, the food and dairy industry, the fermentation industry, the agricultural industry and the environmental industry. A lot of microbiologists also work in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and universities.
Microbiologists in industry could be involved in quality control – testing random samples of vaccines, antibiotics, vitamins, food samples, dairy products, antiseptics and disinfectants, for instance, before they go out into the market. They might also work at identifying disease-causing organisms in water, air, or human and animal blood, or at developing life-saving drugs or more effective vaccines.
Alice Catherine Evans (1881-1975) - Her work in Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture led to the identification of bacteria in fresh milk. Her later research, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), improved the treatment of epidemic meningitis and she became first female president of the American Society for Microbiology in 1928.
Cholera and Tuberculosis were two of the most dangerous killer diseases in the late 19th century. Cholera was nicknamed 'King Cholera' because no one seemed to be able to cure it. Tuberculosis was known as the 'White Death' because sufferers vomited up white matter as their lungs disintegrated. Robert Koch made a breakthrough in the fight against these diseases.
Rebecca Craighill Lancefield (1895-1981). Developed a system of classification for Group A streptococcal bacteria - the Lancefield Grouping - which identifies bacteria including those causing scarlet fever, sore throat and erysipelas. She received the Lasker Award and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Holger Jannasch was one of the world's leading experts on life around mid-ocean hydrothermal vents. His team discovered Pyrolobus fumarii, an Archaea, at the mid-Atlantic ridge in 1996. Holger died in 1999.
Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, microbiologist, scientist, and researcher, most notable for his work in directed evolution and his role in developing a genetically engineered organism using plasmid transfer while working at GE. For his work in genetic engineering technology, he was awarded the civilian Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2007.
A Day in Life
The work of a Microbiologist is totally dependent on the kind of specialization one has taken or the kind of industry one has taken. A typical day of a researcher starts with working with DNA and bacteria, or then moving into tissue culture, and taking care of the lab and cell lines and viruses. Besides planning and experimentation, one just gets down to the work, yet, the most time-consuming aspect is sitting down and looking through the data one gets back. Reading research papers, blogs, and literature and analysing it takes most of the time of a microbiologist. A Microbiologist in food industry does analysis, checks safety of food and also experiments with new products. Highly experienced microbiologists, typically in a day, oversee projects and others' work, and intermediate experienced ones can do independent testing and analysis. Beginners generally work under supervision and learn from other microbiologists.
A typical day of a medical microbiologist: A typical day might start by joining a multidisciplinary team, ward round and then off to the lab to find out this morning’s positive culture results, and then spend time reviewing patients and discussing the management plans with their teams.
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