|Field of Study:||Immunology
|Description:||Microbiology is the study of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, unicellular eukaryotes, and parasites. Microorganisms play an important role in human and animal disease; food production (bread, cheese, wine); decay and spoilage; and contamination and purification of water and soil. Microbiologists study these tiny, self-replicating machines to understand the basic principles of life: growth, metabolism, cell division, control of gene expression, response to environmental stimuli. Microbiologists are also concerned with controlling or harnessing microorganisms for the benefit of people, by isolating antibiotics or producing vaccines to protect against disease, and by developing and perfecting microorganisms for industrial uses.
Immunology is the study of the molecular and cellular basis of host resistance and immunity to external agents such as pathogenic microorganisms. Immunologists study the mechanisms by which the body recognizes foreign antigens, generates appropriate antibodies to an enormously diverse spectrum of antigens, and sequesters and kills invading microorganisms. Their discoveries lead to vaccination against disease; transfusions and organ transplants; allergies; cancer; autoimmune diseases; and immune-deficiency diseases such as AIDS. Antibodies may soon be used in conjunction with antibiotics or chemical agents as specific “magic bullets” to diagnose disease and attack microbes and cancers.