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How long does it take to become a disease researcher?

I really love the idea of becoming one, and I would love some info, personally from someone who may have experienced the time it took or someone who is knowledgeable. #biology #biochemistry #pharmaceuticals #medical-research #molecular-biology #drug-development #drug-discovery

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Ian’s Answer

It largely depends on what you are looking for in terms of disease research. You could earn a Masters in Public Health with a focus on epidemiology in about two years once you are finished with undergraduate studies. It helps to intern somewhere (in graduate school) that focuses on what you are interested in. For the biological side it will range on what you see yourself doing. If you are going to run a lab focused on virology, immunology, parasitology, or something in that vein, you will have to earn a PhD and probably do a few years of post-doc research.
The research will also continue for the rest of your life but it's probably going to be at least ten years of study. Don't let that discourage you though. While you are studying and working in the lab under a Primary Investigator you may have the opportunity to publish articles and you are paid (not very much) to earn a PhD.
Best of luck,

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Iván’s Answer

I became a disease researcher (malaria, tb) as soon I started to work in GSK just after finishing college with 23! In the Pharmacy industry you can be independent investigator, project leader and propose drug discovery initiatives if you're in the correct place after around 10 years, even if you're just Bs. In the Academia you'll need to follow the Bs-MS-PhD pathway and become an independent researcher just before you're 30 - to be PI (Principal Investigator) add another 10 year, and then you'll have your own team and projects. I hope this is useful!

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Herman’s Answer

Hi James,

Drug discovery is a really large field. Do you want to be involved in the research laboratory? Or see patients in the clinic? I work in drug development, but in an office where we oversee the clinical trial activities. As you can see, there are many paths to drug development. Typically, a research laboratory scientist has a PhD, and physicians in clinics are either nurses or MD. There are other administrative people behind the scene like me who have anywhere from a Bachelors to Masters in Sciences, or even MBA.

Hope this helps!