Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

A Sampling of What Microbiologists Do

Scientist in lab working in hood


Environmental microbiologists identify organisms and research their uses, such as cleaning up oil spills and hazardous wastes. They also develop genetic probes to detect microbial contaminants in the water supply.

Agricultural microbiologists may work on developing disease-resistant crops, or producing vaccines that protect livestock from disease. They also identify organisms that can reduce the need for chemical pesticides.

Medical microbiologists/virologists identify and study the microorganisms that cause diseases such as AIDS, Lyme disease, and toxic shock syndrome.

Immunologists contribute to the better understanding of the immune response and the development of vaccines.