A program that focuses on the scientific study of the molecular and cellular basis of disease, and the application of this knowledge to the development of new clinical and diagnostic tools, medications, and therapies. Includes instruction in cell biology, molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, genetics, pathology, molecular immunology, research and quantitative methods, and biomedical research computing.

Careers in molecular medicine focus on understanding disease on the molecular level.

Diseases manifest in many ways simultaneously. Rather than focusing on external symptoms, practitioners of molecular medicine look at the molecular structure for signs of disease and develop ways to treat them there. They believe the most effective way to fight disease is to understand how it affects the smallest components of the body, and that the behavior of a disease at that level can reveal some of its weaknesses.

Molecular medicine is a growing field, and it spans many disciplines; if it involves working with cells, molecules, genes, and viruses in a biomedical context, there's a good chance it qualifies. There are a vast array of treatments within medicine which use molecular patterns like DNA, RNA, and proteins as blueprints that can be directed in any number of ways. This ensures a more precise treatment with a lower chance of rejection from the body, and many believe that molecular treatments are the future of medicine.

Work in molecular medicine may include...

  • Developing gene therapies and other new treatment methods
  • Observing molecular activity in diseased organisms
  • Conducting tests on biological specimens and samples
  • Using special techniques and equipment to view and manipulate molecules
  • Collecting, analyzing, recording, and presenting data

There are traces of molecular medicine all over the workforce, but most of its experts can be found in research labs run by hospitals, universities, and pharmaceutical companies. They may design trials, teach, manage labs, or work in clinical contexts, administering treatments to patients directly. Sometimes workers with experience in molecular medicine are needed in hospital administration or government roles responsible for regulatory policy.

Working in molecular medicine requires an undergraduate degree in biology, often with a focus on genetics; accompanying coursework in virology, biochemistry, and physiology is recommended. Since molecular medicine is a highly technical field, most of the people working in it have advanced degrees. Some opt to obtain a Master's degree in a related discipline, often as a precursor to a PhD. Others pursue medical school or complete other clinical programs in dentistry, nursing, or veterinary science. It's not uncommon to see experts in molecular medicine who have multiple advanced credentials, and some seek additional certification after working for some time in the field.

Molecular medicine is expanding rapidly. Do you want to jump on board and help to shape the future of biomedical science? Maybe a career in molecular medicine lies ahead of you.

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