Cytologist

Learn how cells work to help cure diseases and more.

What does a Cytologist do?

A Cytologist is primarily a Biologist who studies the structure and function of cells. The work of Cytologists is especially beneficial to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers, but it can be used in a variety of sciences as well, such as those related to animal or plant cells. As a Cytologist, you may work in a hospital, clinic, or research laboratory, examining cells through the lens of a microscope.

Your daily work involves splicing cells, placing them on slides, examining them under a microscope, analyzing how certain outside influences affect them, and then carefully documenting your findings and writing reports for your Supervisors. You employ a variety of methods and instruments to do your work, including a technique called staining-where you dye the cells and analyze the color changes-and a tool called a microtome-which allows you to cut cells into thin slices.

You work with other Cytologists, Cytotechnologists (who specialize in the area of cancer studies), Pathologists, and perhaps Physicians. Together, you strive to diagnose patients, though you yourself will have minimal patient contact, if any.

Your work is instrumental in the effort to discover new diseases and, more importantly, their cures. Your encyclopedic knowledge of cell structures, growth, division, and coloring allows you to pinpoint changes, and discover new ailments and antidotes. You could very well find yourself leading your team to a new medical breakthrough, and your name could forever be synonymous with the cure to a disease previously thought to be incurable.