Transcript: Research Associate – Virology FAQs

What is virology?

Virology is the scientific study of biological viruses. There are many types of viruses with different structures and effects on hosts. Several well-known examples of viruses that infect humans are hepatitis, chicken pox, HIV, Zika, COVID-19, and the flu.

A scientist researching viruses (a virologist) might study their origin and how they evolved, their structure, how they spread, and how they affect the host. Virologists might also study, test, and advise on antiviral treatments, and their work contributes to the development of vaccines.

What is ‘structural biology software’?

Structural biology software refers to computer programs that help scientists and researchers visualise biological data and test theories. These programs are often used in virology to help generate high-resolution 3D models of the individual components of a virus.

Think of the well-known images of viruses you may have seen – the spikey ball of coronavirus, for example. One way to create a model like that is for many images to be taken of the virus from different angles. These images can then be entered into computer programs that will analyse the images and assemble a detailed 3D model.

What is a ‘Research Fellow’?

Research Fellow is the job title of a person employed by a university or other research institution to do academic research. A research fellow might work by themselves doing research for their own project or work on a larger study supervised by a senior scholar. Research fellows have usually completed the highest level of education, a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), in their research area and have had academic papers published.

What is a ‘relevant discipline’ for this role?

This research role is in an area that requires knowledge of science, specifically structural and molecular biology, and molecular virology. So, the relevant disciplines would be biological science, and health and medical science. These disciplines are studied in courses such as biomedicine, biomedical science, or biotechnology.

What are research manuscripts?

Research manuscripts, also called ‘scientific manuscripts’ in the scientific field, are an important part of research projects. The manuscript is written to communicate the process and outcome of the research to an audience and is often published. A research manuscript includes what the study wanted to find out or prove, how the research was approached, conducted and analysed, the results and findings, and the researchers’ thoughts on the findings.

How to write research papers and manuscripts is something you will learn and practise if you do research projects during your university studies. There are also many step-by-step guides to this type of academic writing online.


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