10 New Fields and Specializations in Medical Science

10 New Fields and Specializations in Medical Science

Key Takeaways

  • The integration of healthcare and technology has led to innovative treatments, improved diagnostics, and personalized medicine.
  • Advanced medical fields and technologies present ethical challenges, necessitating strict ethical considerations to protect participant rights, ensure research validity, and uphold scientific integrity.
  • Professionals in any medical field must remain updated on recent advancements driven by technology to improve patient care.

Technology has reshaped how we live, think, and connect with others. Gone are the days when healthcare organizations solely relied on paper records and manual processes to manage patient information. Modern technology and established medical specialties, like internal medicine and family medicine, are merging harmoniously. Furthermore, today’s preventive medicine doctors employ state-of-the-art instruments to anticipate and avert health problems before they arise.

medical professionals in emerging fields
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A Closer Look At Medical Science and Its Emerging Fields

Modern technology is the number one driving factor that influences the changes and creation of new professions in the medical science field. The merging of healthcare and technology has promoted innovative and effective treatments for complicated health concerns. Another noteworthy advancement in this field is that doctors and researchers can now detect health concerns before they arise by studying an individual’s genetic components.

Bioinformatics is one of the best results and examples of combining advanced technology and medicine, which allows researchers to employ computer science, computational tools, and algorithms to examine and interpret large datasets. This creation allows the medical field to decipher complicated patterns in the human genome. Moreover, it allows doctors to create personalized treatment plans and medicines based on the patient’s genetic composition while accelerating genetic research.

Two other breakthroughs include nanomedicine and immunotherapy. Nanomedicine has revolutionized medical operations, enhancing precision and efficacy. On the other hand, immunotherapy uses the body’s defense mechanisms to identify and eradicate cancerous cells, offering fewer side effects and more promising results in treating cancer patients.

These are not the only advancements in the medical field. Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and telemedicine, among others, have also significantly contributed to providing better healthcare services in treating chronic diseases. Additionally, thanks to technology, individuals can track various health metrics in real-time and foster a more comprehensive understanding of personal well-being.

While technology has several obvious benefits, there are still constant struggles for scientists, legislators, and ethicists to balance innovation and protecting patient privacy and safety.

Bottom Line: Many advancements and breakthroughs have been made in the medical field in recent years, such as immunotherapy, nanomedicine, and bioinformatics. Technology has played a large role in spurring on these changes, and students must stay aware of changing technologies to ensure that they are at the head of their field.

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10 New Fields and Specializations in Medical Science

Regenerative Medicine

Medicines were the primary cure and treatment for sick and injured people for several centuries. While major breakthroughs in the medical field, such as antibiotics and vaccines, have increased our mortality rate and accelerated the healing process, we remain at the mercy of disease. Some diseases, such as dementia, cancer, and neurological diseases, still have no cure.

Regenerative medicine is at the forefront of repairing and replacing human cells and tissues that have been damaged and restoring them to their normal function. This medical advancement, using a holistic approach, is said to provide a new advent of treatments for cancer, diabetes, and other deadly diseases. As a relatively new medical science specialization, researchers face major challenges in creating these cures. If the time comes when researchers are successful in their search for more therapeutic interventions, another problem is expected to arise — mass producing them.

Despite being relatively new, regenerative medicine already has four categories that have been delivering promising results.

Stem Cell Treatment

Stem cell treatment, or stem cell therapy, takes advantage of the extraordinary capacity of stem cells to repair and restore various bodily tissues. This regenerative medicine reduces inflammation and regulates the immune system. The idea behind stem cell therapies is to enable the human body to mend itself enough to reduce the symptoms of a person’s needs for extended periods, even if they may not always find a cure for these disorders. This effect frequently has the dual benefit of significantly improving patients’ quality of life and slowing the progression of their illness.

Promising treatments have been completed related to the treatment of various ailments, including Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Myocardial Infarction and Advanced Heart Failure, and Osteoarthritis using stem cell therapy.

Cartilage Regeneration

This other regenerative medical technology focuses on dealing with musculoskeletal disorders, aiming to repair damaged cartilage with a lack of blood vessels and irregular blood flow. Numerous methods are employed to regenerate cartilage. Cartilage regeneration has four techniques, and according to another Johns Hopkins Medicine research publication, this treatment is best employed for physically active individuals below 55 years old.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)

According to the Cleveland Clinic, PRP is produced by spinning blood in a centrifuge so it separates. This regenerative medicine is popular in sports medicine to treat damage to the tendons. Blood is extracted from the patient and processed to produce a concentrated solution with a higher concentration of platelets and plasma than ordinary blood to produce platelet-rich plasma. A centrifuge is frequently utilized to make this solution. PRP is used during surgery or injected into the damaged tendon.


This regenerative medicine provides significant relief for joint or back pain by injecting natural irritants into the soft tissue of an injured joint. The injection irritates the site of injury, which sets off the body’s healing process. The body will then produce new connective fibers to fix and reduce the discomfort brought on by the injured connective tissue. Various treatments can be applied to encourage the creation of more new tissue.

Suggested Degrees for Working in Regenerative Medicine

  • A bachelor’s degree in biology, biomedical engineering, or a related field
  • A master’s degree in stem cell research or tissue engineering
  • A Doctorate of Medicine or PhD in regenerative biology

Microbiome Research

The term “microbiome” refers to grouping all microorganisms that naturally reside on or within human bodies, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes. Microbes have a wide range of health effects, including how we react to particular substances in the environment. The microbiome serves as an important interface between the body and its surroundings. While certain microorganisms operate as a buffer and reduce the toxicity of environmental contaminants, others can actually change them in ways that increase their toxicity.

Recent years have seen a sharp rise in microbiome research, fueled by technological advancements and appreciable drops in analytical costs.

NIEHS has created a cross-divisional faculty to foster collaborative research on the microbiome across various divisions. This research has shown that air pollution, antimicrobials, artificial sweeteners, chronic stress, diet, flame retardants, heavy metals, infant health, pathogens, and pesticides can all affect the gut microbiome. The study also suggests that the gut microbiome could protect mice from arsenic or methylmercury toxicity.

Suggested Degrees for Working with Microbiome Research

  • A bachelor’s degree in microbiology, biochemistry, biological sciences, or biotechnology
  • A master’s degree in microbial biotechnology, molecular biology, or bioinformatics
  • A PhD in microbiome research or computational biology
microbiologist conducting research

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), considered a major cause of heart failure, affects patients in both developed and developing countries. Current treatments focus on mitigating disease progression and controlling symptoms. The emerging CRISPR technology, specifically clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, can potentially edit the genome of patients with genetic DCM and cure them permanently.

CRISPR is a ground-breaking gene-editing technique that allows scientists to alter the DNA of living things, including humans. It is based on how bacteria and archaea—single-celled microorganisms—naturally defend themselves against viruses by storing genetic material from previous viral infections in CRISPR sequences. If the organism is reexposed to the same virus, these sequences might be utilized to identify and eliminate viral DNA.

CRISPR has had a significant impact on many areas in the realm of medical science, including medical education, patient care, and the practice of physicians in numerous specialties, including emergency medicine and physical medicine.

However, challenges such as delivering CRISPR-Cas9 to human cardiomyocytes and the potential of unintended gene targeting remain.

Suggested Degrees for Working with Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)

  • A bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry or biotechnology
  • A master’s degree in molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics, or biomedical engineering
  • A PhD in molecular biology, genetics, or bioengineering

Personalized Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine

It should come as no surprise that technology is still influencing the field of nutrition and well-being. Personalized Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine is a relatively new medical field integrating technical advancements like genetic testing and data analytics. It aims to optimize nutrition and enhance overall wellness for individuals, providing better lives for everyone.

Genomics, metabolomics, and microbiome research advancements make this a trending specialization. This enables medical doctors and other healthcare professionals to prevent and treat patients according to their genetic composition, lifestyle choices, and health conditions.

AI experts are developing personalized nutrition applications using vast data on individual responses to food intake. These algorithms create digital apps and tools, making reliable health outcomes and disease risk reduction predictions. Today, several companies are now offering direct-to-consumer therapeutic testing. Some of the biggest ideas today include Ultrahuman’s wearable ring to track metabolism, Zinzino’s at-home A1C test, and VitaScan’s rapid at-home tests for vitamin deficiencies.

Suggested Degrees for Working in Personalized Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine

  • A bachelor’s degree in nutrition, exercise science, or public health
  • A master’s degree in public health (MPH) or nutrition with certification
  • While not required, a medical degree (MD or DO) with certification can allow you to work in clinical roles.
nutritionist studying metabolomics

Genomic Medicine

Genomic medicine is not a new specialization, per se, but the advancements in technology in the medical science field have made research in this area increasingly sophisticated. This medical specialization aims to treat diseases caused mainly by genetics. Advancements in genomic medicine allow preventive medicine physicians to create individualized therapy plans for patients and prevent adverse effects from potentially failed treatments.

Genomic medicine combines genetic information with other factors like habits and environmental exposure to treat and prevent diseases. Scientists are learning how these factors work together, applying this knowledge to individualize care and make genomically directed medicine truly precision medicine. This allows doctors to choose the right test or treatment for every unique patient.

Suggested Degrees for Working in Genomic Medicine

  • A bachelor’s degree in genetics, biomedical engineering, or biological sciences
  • A master’s degree in genetic counseling, bioinformatics, or human genetics
  • A PhD in genomic medicine, human genetics, or bioinformatics


Technology has revolutionized the method of healthcare delivery systems. The telemedicine approach uses electronic health records, a fundamental component of contemporary health informatics, to make it easier for healthcare practitioners to share patient data and guarantee smooth, coordinated care.

Telemedicine shines particularly in primary care, enabling immediate and easy access to medical treatments. Through virtual consultations, healthcare professionals can further provide comprehensive patient care, swiftly address health concerns, and monitor chronic illnesses. This promotes proactive and preventative healthcare practices and significantly enhances patient convenience.

Ultimately, telemedicine improves patient care by overcoming geographical barriers, enhancing communication between healthcare providers, and promoting the efficient use of electronic health records. As technology continues to advance, telemedicine remains a critical player in shaping the future of healthcare delivery, fostering a more interconnected and patient-centric approach to medicine.

Suggested Degrees for Working in Telemedicine

  • A bachelor’s degree in biology, biochemistry, biological sciences
  • A master’s in molecular biology, biological sciences, or public health
  • A Doctorate of Medicine

This career path will vary largely based on if you want to be a nurse, a doctor, or other healthcare professional. The career path listed above is for those wanting to take the route to becoming a telemedicine doctor.

teledoctor caring for patient

mRNA Technology

Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is not a new medical field. In fact, it was discovered in the 1960s and developed in the 1970s. However, mRNA technology was revolutionized in 2020, with major companies — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — coming up with life-saving vaccines and bringing them to the market.

But what is mRNA?

It is a particular molecule that can give your cells instructions on how to produce certain protein fragments needed by particular viruses. This can trigger the body’s defense mechanism against a viral assault.

Popular research for this emerging field includes the study of whether it can prevent colorectal cancer from recurring. However, this research is still in the works. Scientists and researchers working on this new emerging medical field are hopeful that it will turn out to be a success.

Suggested Degrees for Working with mRNA Technology

  • A bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, or biochemistry
  • A master’s degree in biomedical engineering, molecular biology, or bioinformatics
  • A PhD in biochemistry, molecular biology, or genetics


Nanotechnology is another emerging medical field that is gaining more traction. This field combines physics, chemistry, engineering, and biology. This advanced field operates at the nanoscale — typically dealing with materials and structures at the molecular or atomic level.

The creation of nanomedicines is one of the noteworthy uses of nanotechnology in hospital medicine. These are specially-made nanoparticles intended to have molecular interactions with the human anatomy. Drugs can be specifically delivered to targeted cells or tissues using nanoparticles, increasing therapeutic precision and effectiveness and reducing adverse effects on healthy tissues.

Suggested Degrees for Working with Nanotechnology

  • A bachelor’s degree in chemistry, physics, or nanotechnology
  • A master’s degree in nanoscience or nanotechnology
  • A PhD in nanoscience or nanotechnology with a focus on medical applications
nanotechnologists working in a lab


The immune system is one of the most amazing parts of the human body, with the ability to recognize and eliminate potentially dangerous foreign substances. The immune system protects and maintains the body’s health.

Immunotherapy, a relatively recent approach to cancer treatment, stimulates the immune system and aids the body in identifying and eliminating cancer cells. This technology uses chemicals produced in the lab or by the body. Immunotherapy is administered in several ways, including vaccines and oncolytic virus therapy.

Compared to conventional cancer therapies, immunotherapy has several benefits, such as universal treatment, long-term remission, and untouched healthy cells. It has effectively treated resistant cancers and targets more than 20 types of cancer. Additionally, immunotherapy keeps cancer from coming back by assisting the immune system in adjusting to changes in enemy cells. It also presents an opportunity to develop vaccinations that target HPV proteins, like the one for cervical cancer, advancing the study of female pelvic medicine. However, the type of treatment employed will determine the adverse effects.

Suggested Degrees for Working with Immunotherapy

  • A bachelor’s degree in immunology, molecular biology, or biomedical science
  • A master’s degree in biotechnology, cancer biology, or immunology
  • A PhD in immunology

3D Printing

Organ transplants and bone repairs—even spinal cord interventions—significantly benefit from 3D printing as it can now replicate these various anatomical structures.

Purchasing a personalized prosthetic hand or limb is far less expensive when using a 3D printer. You no longer have to go out and get a new prosthetic hand fitted every year. People can now custom print prosthetic hands. Additionally, the costs of this technology are decreasing daily due to the enormous advancements in the 3D printing sector.

Moreover, 3D printing technology is being used by surgeons to gain a better grasp of the inside workings of their patients’ bodies. Before the actual surgery on the patient, a surgeon can examine the issue more closely and simulate several approaches or operations more efficiently using a 3D model.

Suggested Degrees for Working in 3D Printing

  • A bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, or biochemistry
  • A master’s degree in biomedical engineering or additive manufacturing
  • A PhD in biomedical engineering or materials science
3D print of spinal cord
Interested in studying medicine? Check out our medicine major guide, the best research universities for biology degrees, or what you can do with a master’s degree in medical science.
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Students’ Submitted Questions on the New Fields and Specializations in Medical Science

Rosie asks, “What is the most underrated medical specialty?”

Dr. James Barham’s answer: Lifestyle medicine physicians are among the most underrated medical specialties that have suffered the same fate as dietitians. Despite its potential to significantly impact healthcare outcomes, lifestyle medicine is not always given the attention it deserves. However, both lifestyle and nutrition are key contributors to a person’s overall health.

Julianna asks, “What is the hardest medical specialty to study?

Dr. Jed Macosko’s answer: Many studies conclude that neurosurgery is the most complex medical specialty due to its demanding nature, both mentally and physically. It involves four years of medical school, a seven-year residency, and some fellowships. Neurosurgeons face life-threatening conditions, high-pressure environments, emotional tolls, physical demands, and a constant need for continuous learning and professional development.

Heidi asks, “What can medical science majors do to stay competent in the new medical science specializations?”

Dr. James Barham’s answer: As with other fields, professionals must constantly update themselves on emerging fields and learn how to adapt to provide better patient care. Some of the best ways to stay updated are to enroll in new courses at an accredited medical school, attend disease prevention seminars and workshops, join relevant professional organizations and associations, participate in research, and regularly assess your knowledge and skills for improvements.

Trevor asks, “How relevant are ethical considerations to the new fields and specializations in medical science?”

Dr. Jed Macosko’s answer: Integrating cutting-edge technologies, such as robotic surgery, has brought about a paradigm shift in various medical fields, raising unique ethical challenges that demand scrutiny. Strict ethical considerations in these new fields safeguard the rights of research participants, enhance research validity, and maintain scientific integrity.

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