Microbiologist (from Greek , mīkros, “small”; , bios, “life”; and , -logia): ‘micro’ means ‘tiny’ in reference to objects that typically cannot be seen with the naked eye; ‘bio’ means life and ‘-logia’ (or ‘-logy’) is the suffix for study from the classic Greek. A microbiologist studies tiny (microscopic) life forms and processes or works in the field of microbiology. Microbiologists investigate the growth and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Most microbiologists specialize in environmental, food, agricultural or medical aspects of medical or industrial microbiology including: virology (the study of viruses); immunology (the study of mechanisms that fight infections); or bioinformatics (the methods for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data). Many microbiologists use biotechnology to advance the understanding of cell reproduction and human disease. There were 16,900 microbiologists employed in the United States in 2008; this number is projected to increase by over 12 percent in the next decade.
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