A scientist or researcher who is trained in biology particularly in the context of medicine is known as Biomedical Researcher. These researchers work for gaining knowledge of the main principles of how the human body works. They find new ways for curing and treating diseases through the development of advanced diagnostic tools or new therapeutic strategies. Biomedical researchers conduct their research in a laboratory using living organisms as models to conduct experiments. These experiments can include animal cells or cultured human grown outside of the whole organism, small animals like worms, mice, fish, flies, primates, or larger animals. They also do their research directly with human tissue specimens for performing experiments as well as participation in clinical research.
A variety of techniques are employed by biomedical scientists to carry out laboratory experiments:
Electrophoresis: The motion of dispersed particles relative to a fluid under the influence of a spatially uniform electric field is known as Electrophoresis. FOr positively charged particles, it is called cataphoresis and for negatively charged particles, it is called anaphoresis. This process is used in laboratories for the separation of macromolecules on the basis of size. Applicable for both DNA and RNA analysis, it applies a negative charge so proteins move towards a positive charge.
Immunostaining: Any use of an antibody-based method for the detection of a specific protein in a sample in biochemistry is immunostaining. It encompasses a wide range of techniques which are used in histology, cell biology, and molecular biology. In the methods of this process, an antibody is used to detect a specific protein epitope. The antibody used can be monoclonal or polyclonal.
Chromatography: This technique is used for the separation of a mixture which is dissolved in a fluid called the mobile phase. This carries it through a structure holding another material called the stationary phase. This process can be preparative or analytical. The preparative chromatography has the purpose of separating components of a mixture for later use and is thus a form of purification. The analytical chromatography has the purpose of establishing the presence or measuring the relative proportions of an analysis mixture. It is normally done with smaller amounts of material.
Mass Spectrometry: This technique ionizes chemical species and sorts the ions on the basis of their mass-to-charge ratio. It measures the masses within a sample and is used in many different fields. It is also applied to pure samples as well as complex mixtures. With both qualitative and quantitative applications, this technique can identify unknown compounds, determine the isotopic composition of elements in a molecule, and determine the structure of a compound by the observation of its fragmentation.
PCR and sequencing: The method of making copies of a specific DNA segment used in molecular biology is known as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). It is commonly used in medical laboratory and clinical laboratory research for an extensive array of uses including biomedical research and criminal forensics. Developed by Kary Mullis in 1983, the vast majority of PCR methods rely on thermal cycling. This technique is widely applicable for sequencing, DNA cloning, gene cloning and manipulation, gene mutagenesis, construction of DNA-based phylogenies, and detection of pathogens in nucleic acid tests. Determination of the primary structure of an unbranched biopolymer is called sequencing.
Microarrays: It is a two-dimensional array on a solid substrate or a multiplex lab-on-a-chip. It assays large amounts of biological material using high-throughput screening miniaturized, multiplexed and parallel processing, and methods of detection. There is a large number of technologies underlie the microarray platform including the material substrates, spotting of biomolecular arrays, and the microfluidic packaging of the arrays.
MRI: This is a medical imaging technique which is applicable in radiology for the formation of pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease. The scanners of MRI use strong magnetic fields, magnetic field gradients and radio waves for the generation of body organs images.
PET: The full form of PET is Positron-emission tomography which is a nuclear medicine functional imaging technique. This technique is applicable for observing metabolic processes in the body as an aid to the diagnosis of disease. It is both a medical and research tool which is used heavily in clinical oncology and for clinical diagnosis of certain diffuse brain diseases.
X-Ray: Radiography is an imaging technique which uses X-rays, gamma rays, or similar radiation for viewing the internal form of an object. A beam of X-rays which is produced by an X-ray generator is used to create an image.
Transfection: It is the process of deliberately introducing naked or purified nucleic acids into eukaryotic cells. It is applicable for describing non-viral DNA transfer in bacteria and non-animal eukaryotic cells including plant cells.
Viral Transduction: This process introduces foreign DNA into a cell body by a virus or viral vector. It does not require physical contact between the cell donating the DNA and the cell receiving the DNA.
Transgenic model organisms: In these organisms, genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These organisms are applicable to the production of many medications and genetically modified foods.
Patch clamp: This technique in electrophysiology is applicable to study ionic currents in individually isolated living cells, tissue sections, or patches of the cell membrane. It is especially useful in the study of neurons, muscle fibers, cardiomyocytes, and pancreatic beta cells.
Bioinformatics: This is an interdisciplinary field which develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data. It is an umbrella term for the body of biological studies which use computer programming as part of their methodology.
Computational biology: This technique involves the development and application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling, and computational simulation techniques.
Biomedical research is a promising cause area which seems to constrained by good researchers. It is a highly interesting work for the intellectually curious. These researchers investigate how the human body works with the aim of finding new ways to improve health. Training of this technique is usually done either by doing a Ph.D. in biomedical science or by doing a medical degree. After training, you usually start as a postdoc and work your way up to professor level.
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By: Preeti Narula
Posted By - Assistant Editor