How Do You Become a Bioterrorism Researcher?

A scary reality that we face in this time in which we live is the threat of bioterrorism. Domestic and international terrorist organizations and individuals have developed more advanced ways to inflict pain and fear on innocent civilians all over the world. Bioterrorism is the intentional release of biological weapons that include bacteria, viruses, or toxins, according to the CDC.

Career Details

A bioterrorism researcher is trained in biology, chemistry, and other fields that aid in the detection, analysis, and prevention of bioterrorist attacks. They identify ways to enhance public safety by researching known agents and predicting effects of unknown agents. Bioterrorism researchers are present at sites where bioterrorist events have occurred to conduct investigations and to collect samples of materials to review in their lab.

A part of the bioterrorism researcher’s job is to work with legislators and law enforcement to create laws that coincide with their research. For example, if a certain chemical is being used to create a weapon and is easily obtained by the public, the researcher will suggest that legislation be updated to make that chemical more difficult to obtain. They also can keep law enforcement on the cutting edge of what to look for before any biological event occurs, including combinations of chemicals being purchased or equipment that is being used in manufacturing weapons.


The bioterrorism researcher can work in various capacities. The field includes federal investigative careers, including the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit, and public safety emergency management careers, according to the FBI. Internships that are available during their education often work with law enforcement and public safety departments conducting research in labs. Some researchers focus on creating remedies to existing bioterrorism agents. The position can require travel when not working in lab settings.


Starting a career as a bioterrorism researcher requires a bachelor’s degree biology, chemistry, or other scientific major. In most cases, an advanced degree is required. Many researchers working in the bioterrorism field have earned a PhD since that education is most focused on research.

Requirements and Traits

Since most bioterrorism researchers work for the government in one capacity or another, it may be required to pass security clearance background checks and to meet other requirements set by state, local, and federal government agencies.

Common characteristics that are desired for those interested in a career in bioterrorism research include critical thinking, communication, and confidence. The researcher needs to be able to analyze sensitive materials and equipment confidently and thoroughly. An eye for detail is imperative. The researcher also needs to be able to communicate to stakeholders indifferent capacities. That can consist of local and federal law enforcement, judges and lawyers, and politicians. They may even be required to give public information speeches and press releases depending on the nature of their research.

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In the world that we live in, there are those that wish harm on others, and they must be stopped. Bioterrorism researchers are an important factor in identifying and preventing possible bioterrorist acts. Their research and innovations can reduce the chance of a large-scale attack and they may be able to assist in lessening the effects of any bioterrorist attack.