What are the roles of Medical Microbiologist?

Microbiologists work in public health laboratories, hospital laboratories, reference or independent laboratories, and physician office laboratories. Strengthening the diagnostic capacity is the major role of Clinical microbiologists.

Clinical microbiologists advise on the prioritization of specimens, selection of diagnostic tests, choice of antibiotics for susceptibility testing, validation of results, and safeguarding quality. Microbiologists must be aware of what the physician needs and what the laboratory needs.

At an elementary level, the physician needs answers to three basic questions from the microbiology laboratory:

Role of Microbiologist: Cartoon by Czichos
  1. Is my patient’s illness caused by a microbe?
  2. If so, what is it?
  3. What is the antibiotic susceptibility profile of that organism so that therapy can be targeted?

To answer the above-mentioned questions, the laboratory needs quality specimen: a specimen that is sufficient in quantity and properly selected, collected, and transported. To ensure this, microbiologists must communicate with physicians, nurses, and laboratory staff regarding appropriate sample selection, collection, and transport methods. Preanalytical specimen management in a microbiology laboratory is critical to accuracy.

The roles of medical microbiologists differ according to the workstations. Medical microbiologists working in reference laboratories might be devoted to carrying out research in a particular gene. In contrast, microbiologists working in a general diagnostic laboratory are confined to routine laboratory works.

But in general, a microbiologist will perform one or more of the following functions:

  1. Direct detection of pathogenic organisms by microscopy  (this might involve using staining techniques tailored for suspected pathogenic organisms).
  2. Cultivation (growth), identification, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of microorganisms
  3. Direct detection of specific products of infecting organisms using chemical, immunologic, or molecular techniques.
  4. Detection of antibodies the patient produces in response to an infecting organism (serodiagnosis).
  5. Working with specialist computer software to undertake studies and research;
  6. Managing and overseeing laboratory work.
  7. Work as a key figure in the control of hospital infection and the antimicrobial policy.
  8. Academic jobs:  microbiologists make a substantial contribution to teaching activity, i.e., teaching medical laboratory, medical science, or basic science students, preparing the assessment, and providing feedback.

Acharya Tankeshwar

Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. As an asst. professor, I am teaching microbiology and immunology to medical and nursing students at PAHS, Nepal. I have been working as a microbiologist at Patan hospital for more than 10 years.

6 thoughts on “What are the roles of Medical Microbiologist?

  1. As a biotechnology student doing micro as a module…what posts for me are available for me in the medical field,will i even get employed in the medical field?

  2. Hello sir I am, microbiology student of 2nd semester i have little confusion about my field .could a microbiologists does all health related tests like malaria , typhoid, hepatitis A, and B, C etc?

    1. Arif Jan, yest, its the (clinical/medical) microbiologist who is supposed to do such tests but in some lab, technicians might be doing the routine works. In some settings you may find serological tests under Biochemistry lab too (thus Biochemist running the tests).

  3. Iam a Bsc. Holder in public health Science with Second class upper Division, I want to do my post graduate Study PGD on Medical microbiology, instead of MSc. In public health. What is your advise to me.?

  4. Hello sir, I have a confusion about my field of study hope you can help me. I am a general microbiology graduate and want to apply for a PhD in microbiology, but my course is falling in either medicine department or in medical sciences. So as a general microbiology student am I eligible for the course in these streams?

    1. Hello Pooja
      For PhD in Microbiology, universities will be seeking biological science graduates (Microbiology, or Other Biological Sciences). You can check the eligibility for PhD program on that university’s website. Students who have done graduation in Food Microbiology, may still be doing PhD in Virology or Immunology, so there are possibilities.

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