Virologists battle some of the worst diseases on the planet.
Virologists study the microscopic organisms, or viruses, that cause these
and other diseases. Their goal is to find vaccines to provide immunity to
the disease in question. Bird flu, AIDS, a resurgence of polio, and the pesky
common flu and cold continue to perplex virologists.
They spend much of their time in a research laboratory working with powerful
microscopes. Increasingly, virologists team up with researchers and experts
from other fields. From time to time, the work involves dangerous organisms.
In these situations, special precautions must be taken -- such as wearing
Virologists may also own a private practice and work with infected patients.
Dr. Joanne Embrey is a medical doctor specializing in pediatric AIDS. When
she's not caring for her patients, Embrey studies the transmission of viral
infection from mother to child. Most of her colleagues have got a doctoral
degree of some kind.
She says that working with sick people can be hard. "High stress? It can
be at times, because you're looking after people who are quite sick."