If you've not come across these two sciences before, you might be wondering - what's the difference? Surely both subjects involve the study of living organisms, maybe one subject is related to another.

Well, both of those statements are true - in a sense. They are very closely related subjects and both require the study of living organisms, but there are some subtle differences between the two subjects that you need to know about.

bugs and flowers

Biology

Biology is a core science subject, one that looks at all living organisms on the Earth. It takes into account topics like evolution, diseases, plants, reproduction, the human body and much much more. Biology is a natural science and helps to give students a really good understanding of basic concepts and ideas. 

There are a few different sub-disciplines within biology that include (but aren't limited too):

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Microbiology

Life Sciences 

In comparison to biology, life sciences are more complex fields of study. Rather than focusing on natural processes exclusively, life sciences take nature, the development of life and the way it interacts with its environment into account.

Often, people who study life studies will cover a lot of aspects of biology during their study, but they might also look at ecosystems, pharmaceutical advancements and life in space! 

For this reason, life sciences are often considered a more suitable field of study for scientists who want to learn the fundamentals of science as well as applied science & methodology.

Life sciences courses are considered a more advanced option with lots of detailed information about the sub-disciples of biology and a few others.

Here are a few things you could study if you take an interest in life sciences:

  • Astrobiology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Quantum Biology
  • Immunology

If you're looking for a job in life sciences, we have lots of vacancies that are perfect for you. Whether you want to work as a biochemist, a quality assurance officer or a research technician, we have something to suit you!

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Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, you often hear us describing ourselves as 'life science recruitment consultants' as opposed to typical recruiters within the science and technology industries. We are also often asked what does life science actually mean and why or how is it any better or different to traditional science?

Well, there's a lot to the concept of life science and why we prefer to focus our attention to it and thought we would explain why. So, strap yourselves in and get ready to find out all you need to know about the definition and meaning behind life science! 

life science

 

What is the definition of life science?

According to dictionary.com, the definition of life science is 'any science that deals with living organisms, their life processes and their interrelationships, as biology, medicine or ecology.' 

At first, this may seem like a pretty basic and straightforward definition, however, if you begin to break it down you will start to understand just how big the nature behind life science actually is. 

Life science is a huge field of study that examines every single living thing on earth. Whether that's plants, animals, bacteria and even viruses and the ways in which they live their life as well as how they interact with the world and environments around them. As you can imagine, this isn't an easy feat. With an estimated 8.7 million species of animals, 400,00 species of plants and countless forms of virus and bacteria, a lot of work in multiple branches is required.

In total, there are more than 30 different areas of life sciences, each one contributing to our understanding of how the world and all organisms that live here work. Let's take a look at some of the more major areas in life science more closely. 

 

Examples of life science 

 

Epidemiology 

One area of life science that is very relevant to today is that of epidemiology, which is the study of life cycles of diseases. Now, it may seem a little off to think of diseases such as the flu or COVID-19 as being alive but all of these diseases are constructed of tiny living organisms that can and need to be studied in order to gain a greater understanding of how they occur, how they survive and how best to treat and eliminate them. 

Epidemiology specifically looks at how viruses live, how they reproduce, how they impact human and how they die and is the cornerstone of public health. Scientists working within this sector examine outbreak patterns, formalising treatments and cures and developing vaccines which work to tackle them. The more information that epidemiologist know about a particular disease, the more they can do to help prevent them from affecting humans around the globe. This leads us nicely onto another important area of life science, physiology.

 

Physiology 

While other branches of life science focus on organisms as being within their environment such as zoology, physiology is more concerned with how these organisms stay alive. This includes cells, organs and their systems and molecules that run the chemical processes that help to support life. Through the eyes of physiology, we are not seen as people interacting with the world and environments around us but as a very fine makeup of chemical interactions that work to keep us alive.

Physiology looks at every and any form of life, including humans, plants, animals and cells and is also closely tied with pharmacology as well as epidemiology. 

 

Pharmacology

This is the study of drugs and the ways in which they affect living things. Its role is to understand why changes to the body occur when certain medications are taken, allowing us to develop better drugs. Pharmacology plays a crucial role in several areas, including; improving the effectiveness of medicines, decreasing unwanted side effects of medicines and discovering new medicines to help fight novel diseases. 

Pharmacology plays a vital role in the makeup of life science, linking several areas such as chemistry, pathology and physiology together. 

 

Zoology

Mentioned above, zoology is the study of the animal kingdom. Here, characteristics of animals such as their behaviour, breeding, habitats and migration patterns are studied. Zoology also aims to identify new species of animals that have yet to be discovered. Out of the estimated 8.7 million species of animals that are on the planet, we currently only know about 1.2 million of them, meaning there is still a huge amount of work to be done within this area of life science.

As with all other branches of life science, zoology overlaps with more than one discipline, including genetics, palaeontology (the study of dinosaurs) and entomology (the study of insects). Different zoologists study different types of animals including fish, mammals and birds with more than a half-dozen subfields of zoology.

 

Why enter the field of life science?

One of the biggest reasons why people choose to enter life science is down to the sheer depth and breadth of study that is available. With so many areas to choose from, you are sure to find a discipline that catches your interest and no doubt there are areas within that discipline that require further work and research. 

Even those who do not wish to pursue a career within life science, it's still a great idea to study it as it enables us to better understand the world we live in, leading to a greater appreciation of it. Life science reveals all of the wonders within the world, allowing us to understand how everything from humans to plants and cells work to stay alive. Gaining a better understanding of all of these things helps us to feel more connected to the world and people around us.

 

Our life science jobs 

At HRS, we are constantly striving to find the very best talent up and down the country and connecting them with the best scientific organisations, including those that work within life science. So, if you want to pursue a career within one of the many disciplines of life science, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with one of our experienced recruiters today to take the first step! You can also browse our list of science jobs and apply for any relevant life science position that catches your interest. 

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If you would like more information on life science or our life science jobs specifically, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the HRS team today - we'd love to hear from you.

 

 

British inventions

A lawn mower, a toothbrush, and a bar of chocolate. What do these three household objects have in common? You guessed it: they were all invented right here in Britain. In fact, many of the things we take for granted every day were born straight out of the minds of British inventors!

Over the years, British inventors have innovated almost every aspect of our lives. From garden-care to dental-care, they've really contributed lots of things that we should be grateful for.

Want to see our top 10 famous British inventors and their inspiring creations? Just keep reading. More...

The worlds of science and medicine things change and develop at an alarmingly fast rate - and things won't be slowing down in 2020. We took a look at this article from the Nature Research Journal which rounds up the predictions made by some of the biggest names in science to give you an idea of what to expect in the coming year. 

 

 

Computing Cancer

Christina Curtis - Computational and Systems Biologist at Stanford University, California

 As it stands, we don't know the process by which cancer develops - we can only sample a tumour once it's become physically detectable. This is one of the problems that researchers have been battling for years now, but Curtis' research team might have created something to help study cancer development. 

"Our team built a computational model to explore the dynamics of tumour progression while accounting for tissue spatial structure". Using this model, the team are able to simulate different scenarios and create 'virtual tumours' that mimic the tumours of real patients.

They hope that this simulated data can be compared to real-life scenarios, allowing researchers to infer how the tumour came to be.

Better cryo-EM samples

Hongwei Wang - Structural biologist at Tsinghua University, Beijing

Cryo-EM (cryogenic electron microscopy) is a method in which biological specimens are quickly frozen in liquid nitrogen, preserving their molecules and preventing damage during the electron imaging process.

Wang predicts that in two or three years "cryo-EM will become the most powerful tool for deciphering the structures of macromolecules". Hopefully, the development of this technique will help us gain a better understanding of biochemical mechanisms, enabling better drug development.

Improving RNA Analysis

Sarah Woodson - Biophysicist at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

Woodson is "keeping her eye on long-read RNA sequencing and live-cell imaging using light-up RNA strands called aptamers". 

Short-read sequencing can be used to identify RNA sequences that contain biochemically modified residues, but long-read sequencing can determine how common a particular modification is within the cell, as well as helping technicians determine whether changes in one part of the RNA molecule relate to another.

Aptamers, which are strands of DNA or RNA capable of binding to fluorescent dyes, allow researchers to track things like the formation of intracellular RNA clusters which lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's.

Woodson expects to see the aptamers used to study the development of cancers, metabolic syndromes and Alzheimers as the technology progresses.  

If you'd like to play a part in creating life-changing technologies like the ones outlined here, we can help you find the perfect career. Browse our current job vacancies or get in touch to get the ball rolling.

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Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who helped pave the way for the first American astronaut to successfully orbit the Earth, died on Monday morning at the age of 101.

Hired by NASA in 1953 after working as a teacher, Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space, before electronic computers were in use. The key roles played by Johnson and other African-American women at NASA were even highlighted in the 2016 film Hidden Figures, indicating the huge influence that she had on such a huge milestone in history.

Katherine Johnson NASA photo

Image by NASA (source)

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said: "Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of colour. Her dedication and skill as a mathematician helped put humans on the moon, and before that, made it possible for our astronauts to take the first steps in space that we now follow on a journey to Mars."

As well as her massive contributions to human spaceflight, Johnson was a champion of STEM education and a trailblazer in the quest for equality - paving the way for fellow women and African Americans now working in STEM. Reminiscing on her time working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), Johnson said: "The women did what they were told to do. They didn't ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there."

It was this inquisitive nature that made Johnson a valuable resource to her team and the only woman at the time to ever be pulled from the computing pool to work on other programmes.

During her time at NASA, Johnson received several prestigious awards, including the NASA Lunar Orbiter Award and three NASA Special Achievement Awards. She was also named Mathematician of the Year in 1997 by the National Technical Association. She strove to push more students into STEM, saying: "We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics. Everything is physics and math."

Just like Katherine Johnson, we at Hyper Recruitment Solutions believe that diversity in STEM is crucial to the advancement of the industry. STEM work is critical to all sorts of fields, including medicine, transport and computing - it's at the very heart of modern life, and if diversity continues to fall short, so will the number of qualified people needed to fill crucial roles.

Read our blog posts to learn more about diversity and the gender gap in STEM:

Diversity in STEM >   Gender Gap in STEM >

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we strive to place the most talented individuals into roles where they can make the biggest impact - whether that's in engineering, science or technology. Regardless of your gender, race or background, if you are interested in working within STEM and you're looking to either kick-start your career or take it to the next level, our team of experienced recruiters can help you.

Browse our latest jobs to find a role that's suited to your skills!