Medical scientists study the structure and function of the human body (anatomy and physiology) and how it responds to disease (microbiology, immunology and pathology) as well as the way our characteristics are inherited (genetics) and develop from a fertilised cell (embryology). They also look at health, disease and development, including researching of drugs that are used to cure human disease (pharmacology).
Medical research takes place in higher education institutions, research institutes, hospitals and industry. The level of research may be basic and involve investigating the underlying basis of health or disease or it may be more applied and include conducting clinical research, investigating methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disorders.
Research may be at the molecular level, carried out using appropriate cell and animal models, or human volunteers may be used to study the clinical effects of various factors.