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Typical Day

Stefan, a professor, is also a microbiologist—more specifically, a virologist—who is currently working on a university grant to research the correlation between the hepatitis C virus and liver cancer; specifically, whether a carrier of the hepatitis C virus is significantly more prone to being diagnosed with liver cancer than those without it. If that’s not enough to get you to jump out of bed, we don’t know what is.

Stefan does just that at 7:30, makes himself some breakfast, then leaves his apartment at 8:15 and heads to the lab. Upon arriving, Stefan gets to work with the other members of his research team, examining samples under a microscope and making notes about a number of collected strains of the virus. He compares these samples to the liver cancer cells they also have on slides, and jots down his observations. He also notes each sample's reaction to a number of chemicals, each of which is designed to tell Stefan and his team more about the molecular properties of each so they can better understand the correlation between the two (or if there is one at all).

Stefan then spends a little time in the tissue culture lab performing a separate set of experiments he has been working on. He is growing bacteriophages, which can be used as an alternative to antibiotics to fight a variety of bacterial diseases. He does this by growing viral plaques on bacterial cultures in Petri dishes. Much clearer, right? Now you may be starting to understand why Stefan needed so many years of schooling....

He takes a quick lunch at noon (there’s nothing more appetizing than looking at viruses all morning long). In the afternoon, there is a new member of the research team whom Stefan has to spend a little bit of time training, and then he has to attend to a few administrative duties. Finally it’s back to the lab, where he continues to work late into the night. There may not be any ribozyme emergencies to deal with, but he has to do whatever he can to obtain tenure.