What Are Life Sciences?

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Green worm

Simply put, life sciences is the study of living organisms, such as plants, animals, and people. While it is closely related to biology, it can also include things that are more medical and technological in nature. Studying life sciences can be fun, especially since there is such a wide variety of topics included under its umbrella.

Types of Life Science

Here are just some of the subdivisions of life science.

Psychology

Psychologists study behavior and the mind, and help patients effectively cope with mental health problems and stressful life events. These professionals may work in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, prisons, schools, or universities.

Epidemiology

Epidemiology

Epidemiologists are scientists who study diseases, injuries, environmental exposures, and natural disasters to help find causes of diseases and other things that cause adverse health outcomes. These scientists help prevent future outbreaks and allows diseases and injuries to be treated as effectively as possible.

Biology

Biologists study living organisms including the behavior, structure, and function of plants and animals. Biologists may become researchers, teachers, work in labs, or become doctors. Marine biologists study marine life, biochemists may analyze tissue samples in labs, and bacteriologists study microorganisms like bacteria.

Plant Science

Plant scientists study and work with plants in areas of agriculture, horticulture, botany, wildlife, forestry, and others. These scientists may work as researchers, teachers, or in parks, forests, botanical gardens, nurseries, or nature conservancies. They might also work with pest management companies, landscaping companies, farmers, or organizations like the U.S. Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Animal Science

Animal scientists study animals and may find careers in a variety of disciples. These professionals may work as wildlife scientists, entomologists (insect scientists), dairy scientists, veterinary scientists, poultry scientists, or agricultural scientists to help protect animals and keep them healthy.

Health Sciences

Health scientists study disciplines related to health and healthcare for both animals and people. Health scientists can find jobs in a variety of realms, which may include nursing, dermatology, or optometry. Though not an extensive list, health and medical science professions include:

  • Woman in laboratory
    Anesthesiologists are doctors trained to use medicine to put patients to sleep during surgeries.
  • Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing impairments. They may work in doctors' offices or schools.
  • Cardiologists are doctors who study about and help treat patients with heart problems like heart disease.
  • Dermatologists help treat medical conditions related to skin, nails, and hair.
  • Geneticists study functions of genes, and the sequence and structure of (deoxyribonucleic acid) DNA. These professionals may work in laboratories, help solve crimes, identify genetic medical conditions, or help control diseases in plants and animals.
  • Immunologist, or allergists, are doctors who study about and help treat conditions like asthma, allergies, and immune system disorders.
  • Neuroscientists study the brain and nervous system, and often work as researchers or go on to become neurosurgeons or neurologists.
  • Ophthalmologists are doctors who diagnose and treat vision impairments and diseases. These medical professionals also perform eye surgeries to correct vision problems.
  • Public health professionals help prevent injuries and diseases by promoting healthy lifestyles through educational programs and policies.
  • Radiologists diagnose and help treat medical conditions using imaging techniques, like x-rays and ultrasounds.
  • Reproductive scientists or gynecologists study male and female reproductive systems. These medical professionals may work as researchers, teachers, in infertility clinics, or as doctors.

Toxicology

Toxicologists study harmful effects from chemicals (like pesticides, pollution, chemicals, and drugs) on humans and other living organisms. They often work as researchers, teachers, product safety testers, for environmental agencies, or in forensics analyzing drugs and chemicals in the human body.

Sports Science

Sports scientists study physical activity and sports performance. They may help treat and prevent sports-related injuries, become exercise physiologists, or work as coaches, athletic trainers, wellness coaches, gym owners, or physical therapists.

Food Science

Corn Syrup

Food scientists study food, including food composition, food processing, and food safety. These professionals may help develop new food products, food packaging, or test foods to make sure they're safe to eat.

Nutritional Science

Nutritional scientists study nutrition and how different nutrients affect people and animals. Many work as dietitians who help treat nutrition-related disease, plan diets, or manage food service organizations.

Environmental Science

Environmental scientists study the environment, and how living organisms and their behaviors affect the environment we live in. These science professionals may analyze water or air samples for pollution, work as researchers, help save wildlife habitats, become meteorologists, or work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Biomaterials Science

Biomaterials scientists study and help develop materials used for things like replacing damaged organs or bones -- or treating diseases. Examples of biomaterial include artificial organs, hip implants, and prosthetic limbs.

Why Life Sciences Are Important

Life sciences affect every living thing. Scientists who study life sciences help treat, diagnose, and prevent diseases and injuries, keep animals and plants safe and healthy, help solve crimes, and come up with new technologies related to health, medicine, foods, exercise, and many other health-related disciplines.

What Are Life Sciences?