A combination of techniques—from computation to medicinal chemistry—helps scientists pick better drug targets, often because of gaining a better understanding of how diseases work. Those improvements help patients and job hunters. Instead of reducing the opportunities in this field, the increasing specificity of the drug discovery business keeps spawning new opportunities in academia and industry.
"The focus isn’t because this is cheap. In fact logistically, it’s quite a challenge to do this. Whether you’re AstraZeneca, or Roche, or Novartis, you have to pay quite a bit to have that presence. Our focus is to have a presence in China, for China, and for the rest of Asia." --John Ramsey, AstraZeneca
Tremendous strides have been made in eradicating infectious disease scourges such as smallpox and polio that once killed and crippled millions; still, about 15 million deaths—or about one third of all deaths annually—result from infectious diseases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, nearly half involve children under the age of 5 years, predominantly in poorer countries. The ongoing hefty death toll, the pharmaceutical industry’s increasing interest in the research and development of vaccines, and plentiful funding from multiple sources all combine to provide a range of opportunities for postdocs and graduate students in vaccine research. The field is high growth and, perhaps more important, the fruits of this work promise to have a real impact on the health of the world’s population.
Professional science master's degrees, like the Master of Business Administration degree on which they are modeled, are designed as terminal credentials for people seeking science-based careers outside of academe.