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Branches of biomedical science

Medical microbiology

As a biomedical scientist in microbiology, you will study micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi and other parasites which cause diseases. You will identify these organisms and establish the antibiotic treatment required to kill them. Diseases diagnosed include meningitis and tuberculosis. Clinical chemistry

In clinical chemistry, biomedical scientists analyse blood and other biological materials to help diagnose diseases such as diabetes. They also carry out toxicological studies, test liver and kidney functions and monitor therapies. Transfusion science

In this discipline, scientists identify blood groups for blood donation, ensure the correct blood is matched to the patient due to receive donation and ensure there are sufficient blood supplies in stock in case of emergencies such as road traffic accidents, operations and cancer treatments. Haematology

Haematology is the study of blood, and in this discipline you will be involved in the formation, composition, functions and diseases of the blood. Some of the diseases diagnosed by the haematologist are leukaemia, malaria, anaemia and haemophilia. Histology

In histology, tissue samples are studied microscopically to establish the cause of illness. Tissue may be taken during surgery or at post-mortem. Diseases such as cancer are diagnosed by looking for abnormal features in tissue cells. Cytology

This is best-known for its work in screening cervical smears, but it also provides non-gynaecological services. Like histology, specialised techniques are used to prepare and study samples of cells.


Virology is the study of viruses and the disease caused by them, such as German measles, HIV, hepatitis and chickenpox. You will also be involved in monitoring the effects of vaccines. Immunology

Biomedical scientists in immunology deal with the conditions of the body's immune system and its role in infectious diseases, parasitic infestations, allergies, tumour growth, tissue grafts and organ transplants. Their work is particularly important in the monitoring and treatment of Aids.