Molecular and Cellular Biologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Researches and studies cellular molecules and organelles to understand cell function and organization.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Maintains accurate laboratory records and data.
  • Designs molecular or cellular laboratory experiments, oversees their execution, and interprets results.
  • Compiles and analyzes molecular or cellular experimental data and adjusts experimental designs as necessary.
  • Conducts research on cell organization and function, including mechanisms of gene expression, cellular bioinformatics, cell signaling, or cell differentiation.
  • Performs laboratory procedures following protocols including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing, cloning and extraction, ribonucleic acid (RNA) purification, or gel electrophoresis.
  • Supervises technical personnel and postdoctoral research fellows.
  • Prepares reports, manuscripts, and meeting presentations.
  • Directs, coordinates, organizes, or prioritizes biological laboratory activities.
  • Instructs undergraduate and graduate students within the areas of cellular or molecular biology.
  • Monitors or operates specialized equipment such as gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters, and phosphorimagers.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Molecular Biology Director --
  • Molecular Biology Professor --