Microbiology at NDSU

Laura Nessa and Priyankar Samanta, 1R15AI089403Microbiology, at its most basic, is a science of unseen life. It is a field of study devoted to understanding organisms that usually can’t be seen without a microscope—like bacteria, certain fungi and protozoa, microscopic algae, and viruses. These organisms are of interest to microbiologists because most microbes play key roles in maintaining the health of humans, animals, plants, and the planet as a whole. For instance, certain groups of microbes:

  • form the base of food chains in aquatic environments
  • recycle nutrients like carbon and nitrogen through the air, water, and soil
  • make nitrogen available to plants
  • decompose wastes in soil environments
  • create oxygen through a process called photosynthesis
  • digest food and synthesize vitamins in the intestines of animals (including humans!)

Microbes are also used in drug development, biofuel production, food production (e.g. beer), agricultural pest control, oil recovery as well as oil spill cleanup, and the bioremediation of environmental contaminants.

In addition, some microbiologists, including the researchers in the Microbiological Sciences Department at NDSU, study microbes and certain processes that cause illness in humans and animals.

In the LabAlthough one of our main departmental concerns is exploring novel research in microbiology and disease pathogenesis, our faculty and staff are also devoted to teaching and training our students for a variety of career paths, including:

  • advanced schooling in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmaceutical sciences
  • the pursuit of advanced degrees in microbiology, biology, immunology, and biotechnology
  • health-related positions in hospitals, veterinary clinics, and university, government or industrial labs (e.g. clinical lab science, public health)
  • research positions in university, government, or industrial labs (e.g. forensics, environmental management, industrial quality control and testing)

You can read more about our former students and where their journeys at NDSU took them here.

You can learn more about the programs we offer and the opportunities available for students by navigating through our website.