I want to research/design drugs.

<p>Should I major in Bio E or biochemistry?</p>

<p>Chemical engineering and chemistry may also be possibilities. (Chemical engineering likely has the best job and career prospects elsewhere as backup possibilities.)</p>

<p>Take a look at the job and career sections of drug companies' web sites. But note that many of the jobs are looking for those with PhD degrees.</p>

<p>Well, biochemistry would be that best depending on how great that major is rated at the college/university you want to attend! Biochemistry focuses more on the Chemistry behind Biology and that would definitely give you a great advantage because designing medicine is basically all of that. Bio-medical engineering is creating new medical equipment with prosthetic parts and such. Biochemistry For Sure! Good Luck!</p>

<p>Chem engineering is good but Pharmacology is best I think, since that combines bio and chem and is a viable degree</p>

<p>Biochemistry and then graduate school for Pharmacology as most schools don't have pharmacology majors and a degree in biochemistry of biology is more flexible if you decide you change your mind.</p>

<p>The first poster has me wondering whether they're attempting to get people to major in engineering or just doesn't know what ChemE is.</p>

<p>Well the thing is I like math and physics, so I don't know what to do. I also want to cure cancer, and I don't know if I can do that with a pharmacology degree.</p>

<p>Also, is it a bad idea to major in Chem E to research drugs? It seems like the major's a good backup plan. On the other hand, I think Chem E's don't really discover drugs but produce them on a mass scale.</p>

<p>^ChemE's do research as well with stuff similar to Chemistry.</p>

<p>My vote's for chemE - it'll be useful for the actual design part. Plus you'd get more stuff on process engineering (i.e. how drugs are manufactured) and computational design.</p>

<p>IMO biochemistry would make you adept at describing existing proteins/drugs/etc, but powerless to do anything with it. You wouldn't have enough of a specialization in organic synthesis, process engineering, or computational chemistry to actually make new drugs.</p>

<p>I worked in pharmaceutical research for ten years in drug discovery research. Here's my two cents:</p>

<p>(1) drug design/discovery requires huge cooperative effort from many fields, including: (a) IT (ranging from pure IT for pharma-specific data management to more scientfically oriented efforts like bioinformatics and systems biology); (b) biology and biochemistry (in early phase discovery research, development, toxicology etc) (c) chemistry (organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, process chemisry). We all interacted very closely together throughout the projects, and working closely with excellent people representing such a broad swarth of specialties was part of the fun (not to mention it spicing up many happy hours after work).</p>

<p>In my experience, the medicinal chemists were the ones whose training was most focused on what an outsider would think of as drug research per se, but everyone was intimately involved in the effort. I will note that I never saw any chemical engineers during the research I was involved with (up through Phase I clinical trials), though I presume they were there someplace for process scaling and formulation when it was time to produce compounds in bulk.</p>

<p>So, my advice is to not think of this in terms of "what is the best major for drug design/research". Instead, think of what kind of problems you'd like to tilt at, be trained in those in a way that does not prematurely lock you into pharam research or nothing, and then think about how you can bring your skills to drug discovery, if that's where you want to spend your efforts. You'll then have the option to take your skillset elsewhere if things in Pharam don't work out for you, now or later.</p>

<p>(2) While I hate the postings from people proclaiming that this or that field is Dead and Gone, has no jobs, you should do something else if you want to eat, yadda yadda yadda (at this point Finance is usually mentioned), it is in fact true that Pharma has been in decline, positions are being cut across the board, and if you want to work in that industry you need to go in with your eyes open and plan accordingly. For example: I would go in assuming that I would likely be changing jobs multiple times, and therefore (unless I was looking forward to being a nomad and seeing many different parts of the country during my working life) I would only take a job in a location where there was a concentration of Pharma, such as in Boston of NJ, so that having to change jobs after a layoff wouldn't automatically mean I had to uproot my family and move every time). </p>

<p>For a "boots on the ground" take of pluses and minuses of pharma, checkout Derek Lowe's blog "In The Pipeline" (Derek and I worked at the same Big Pharam site, before our company closed it and laid everyone off). In addition to his often sobering articles on the state of the industry, I can especially recommend his postings within the category "Things I Won't Work With"; they're quite funny (and educational).</p>

<p>I worked in pharma as well, it is a horrible, horrible, horrible field. Terribly unstable jobs. Don't even think about buying a house, as you will likely need to move many times over the course of your life due to constant unemployment. I know no one currently still working in pharma that has had a job at the same company for more than 10 years post 1990s.</p>

<p>So I guess that chemical engineers aren't really involved in the drug discovery...They just deal with the production of drugs?</p>

<p>I think they might. It would be better to go with chem engineering anyway.
Engineering is mainly focused on design and production of new products. Science is mainly focused on discovering new things. Drug discovery seems to be a mix of both fields- while you are discovering something new, the thing that is new is a product.
So I woud say, to be safe, go for engineering, because it always seems to be better than science in terms of job prospects.</p>

<p>Right. Chem Es don't do anything with regards to drug discovery. They work on a much larger scale when it comes to drugs. Chem Es in pharma are the ones that are going to be the ones that work in massive plants that make huge batches of a drug, not discover it. If you want to be a Chem E, your best bet is to move into something more materials/polymer/petroleum based in order to make a decent salary and living. Someone who is really good in polymer synthesis and is stays on the forefront of polymer physics/materials science always seems to be in demand.</p>

<p>What about bioengineering? Do they deal with medicine?</p>

<p>I'm in the same boat, really interested in organic chemistry, would love to become a chemist but I don't know where to start as far as schooling goes - not in a rush I mean it's gonna take me til I'm grey in the hair to get a PHd anyway...</p>

<p>With so many different branches, I don't know where to start - I know I'll need organic chemisty. To be more specific, I want to research, invent/develop and synthesize new psychoactive/psychotropic chemicals.</p>

<p>I want to be able to have access to any precursors or chemicals needed in certain reactions/synthesis that are deemed "illegal" due to either their degradation into, or aiding in the synthesis of, illicit materials. Basically - I want to be able to have the freedom to research, what I'm truely interested in, without the domestic terroristis @the DEA ruining my life (ala anyone who ever did ground breaking research and either got shunned as a social paraiah/scapegoat for the rest of their lives or they had their research burnt/confiscated - thrown in jail for indeterminate ammounts of time and in some extreme cases them and their families we're killed or mysteriously disapeared. (If you've seen the documentary Thrive you'll know what I'm talkin' about.))</p>

<p>From reading a little more - I definetly don't want to be a chemical enginneer - I would rather be in the alchemical ideation creation - trial/error and testing phases. Actually taking part in the creation of this new chemical - not jut in the mass manufacture of it.</p>

<p>Can anyone help me out? Point me in the right direction perhaps? It would be appreciated</p>


<p>I'd reconsider chemical engineering.</p>

<p>Have you seen the news. It is layoff after layoff in the pharmaceuticals industry. Even now when other industries are starting to recover pharma is only getting worse. They are sending more and more science jobs to China and India while laying off Americans and Europeans and any jobs they can't they tern into permatemp jobs. The pharmaceuticals industry has been the number one industry for layoffs several years in a row and that is not likely to change for some time as their big revenue drugs are coming off patent and they have little to replace them (they did not spend enough on R&D and are still not) so now it is too late as it takes 10 years to bring a new drug to market. </p>

<p>In short science in the US is a dying field especially anything pharma related.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/america_vanishing_science_jobs_V3TzWwPRZsmTh1sGmtVr8L%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/america_vanishing_science_jobs_V3TzWwPRZsmTh1sGmtVr8L&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://news.investors.com/Article/597746/201201131522/novartis-pfizer-merck-astrazeneca-cut-pharmaceutical-jobs.htm%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://news.investors.com/Article/597746/201201131522/novartis-pfizer-merck-astrazeneca-cut-pharmaceutical-jobs.htm&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>There's is more than one city in India where there are major 4 lane roads on which you can drive for miles and just see 1 pharma company after another after another and then ground being broken to erect more. I imagine similar roads exist in Beijing or Shenzen.</p>

<p>There used to be a massive cluster of pharma researchers in the tri-state area - now most of them are gone or on the way out. I just don't see these jobs coming back. </p>

<p>Now if you're talking more high-tech gene research and such, that may be a different story.</p>

<p>Just to give the readers of this thread a little flavor on the development of your typical compound, it is typically divided into a couple of "phases"</p>

<li> Preclinical Research - this area heavily involves your typical medicinal chemists and toxicologists. In this stage, they identify a compound and chemically optimize it and develop a "lead compound" which will move into animal testing. Assuming everything is fine, we move into ...</li>
<li> Phase I - this is "first in human" testing typically involving healthy patients to determine safety and dosing.<br></li>
<li> Phase II - this would be your first "major" test (this is where it starts getting expensive) in a small patient population to determine efficacy + safety.</li>
<li> Phase III - Large, international, multi-center studies to determine efficacy + safety</li>
<li> FDA Approval, Post-Market Surveillance, etc.<br></li>

<p>As many of the posters on this thread had mentioned before, the preclinical aspect of the pharmaceutical R&D is being phased out of the US and Europe into China + India. THe pharmaceutical industry is under a huge amount of stress right now due to a looming patent cliff and an R&D engine that has not produced. Things are getting cut - and R&D, once the untouchable, is starting to get axed like no other. </p>

<p>I would not go into the pharmaceutical industry expecting job stability, and i would, personally, not go into anything other than clinical research at all at this point. Preclinical research is really a dying field - medicinal chemistry was the 80s and 90s. Small molecular chemistry is the past - the future is biologics.</p>

<p>With that said, the pharmaceutical industry is finally taking advantage of the sequencing of the genome and the understanding of molecular mechanisms and pathways for complicated disease states. The new fad in the pharmaceutical industry is biologics (protein-based drugs), companion diagnostics, and "targeted therapy." There is a lot of overlap between these three trends, but essentially, scientists are now seeking to target specific pathways (especially in the area of cancer) in order to treat these diseases with maximum efficacy and minimal side effects. </p>

<p>So why this long essay? What major should you choose? I would choose a healthcare related major - I have met many physicians, nurses, and pharmacists running global clinical trials. As for undergrad, I would major in something science related with an emphasis on these new "trends" that I mentioned above - pharmacology was a very good suggestion.</p>

<p>I would also like to note that no one cures cancer. It will be a team of people, and you need to go into your major/job/soul search with that in mind. You may be part of the team that cures cancer, but YOU will not cure cancer. Every cog that I mentioned in the first paragraph has a very pivotal role so don't limit yourself to just preclinical - I would explore other options as well.</p>