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If I want to research medicine, should I major or minor in Chemistry, and what should I also study?

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My plan has always been to major in Chemistry during college, but I wonder, if I want to create new vaccines and antibiotics, should I major in Chemistry or would another major be better? And say I do major in Chemistry, what should my minor be? Or vice versa? #medicine #research #medicinal-chemistry

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Alice’s Answer

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Developing drugs -- whether its small molecule, biologics, vaccines, or antibiotics -- is multidisciplinary in nature. As a biologist, I've interacted with chemists, pharmacologists, cell and molecular biologists, bioinformaticists, and clinicians (just to name a few) towards driving drug discovery projects. Each person has their own specialty, but we all work together in order to develop the most effective and safe drug for our target. My advice would be to major in the field that you're most excited about. If it's chemistry, go for it!! Chemistry would certainly give you the background to understand small molecule and large molecule structures and potentially interactions with their targeted receptors. If you're interested in vaccines and antibiotics, consider taking additional courses in immunology, microbiology, and virology (no need to minor in them unless you are highly interested in understanding more) to supplement your understanding as those fields are directly related to those type of drugs. Good luck!

Thank you so much! That was very helpful!! I'll be sure to look into what a good minor for me will be!!! Madelyn L. Translate
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William’s Answer

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Majoring in Chemistry will give you a great foundation for a career in developing new vaccines, antibiotics, etc. I would also urge you to take as many courses in the Biological Sciences as possible, paying particular attention to molecular biology, genetics, etc.
I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. I was very well prepared for Medical School, and what I eventually decided on as a specialty, which was Pathology. I have four boards in Pathology: Anatomic, Clinical, Forensic and Neuropathology.
Hope I have been of some help.


Bill Cox

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