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Basic Research Scientists

Basic Research Scientists

Cancer researchers who carry out basic research don't focus on finding a new treatment or developing a new drug. Instead, they want to understand what makes cancer cells different from normal cells.

Scientists who do basic cancer research look at the molecules that cause this disease, such as proteins and DNA. They try to find out what goes wrong when cancer develops.

Basic research scientists most typically hold Ph.D.s in some field of biology (e.g., cell biology, molecular biology, virology, genetics, immunology), but may be chemists, physicists, statisticians, engineers, computer scientists, psychologists or other disciplines.


Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute


These scientists generally design experiments that are conducted in laboratories, most frequently in academic institutions, but also in hospitals and corporate research laboratories.

While they may study living tissue, researchers typically do so in vitro (literally, in glass, as in a test tube or petri dish).

They are assisted by tens of thousands of lab technicians and students with less formal training, but in similar fields

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