Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms such as; bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi and protozoa. This study includes fundamental research on the biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, ecology, evolution and clinical aspects of microorganisms, including the host response to these agents.
Microbes have existed on Earth for billions of years and were here decades before the existence of plants and animals. For the majority of its 4.5 billion year history, life on Earth was exclusively microbial.
Microbiologist help to prevent, diagnose and control infections by identifying and characterising organisms. They are able to comment on effective treatment and can help to develop tests to diagnose infectious diseases.
Microbiologists also look at how microorganisms affect us and how we can exploit them. Their work can be relevant in a wide variety of settings including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and the environment, although the majority of the work is carried out in hospitals.