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Old 08-21-2006, 11:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
Psycho
 
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Location: on my spinning computer chair
What would it take to be a researcher?

Hi,

TFP has provided me with many answers, perhaps because I have asked many questions. I have participated less on the forums but seem to visit once in a while still.

I plan to pursue medicine. I have been told (hearsay.. apparently true as it is by seniors) that the UK would not allow me to further my studies there as a specialist. I have already got my grades (4As in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths) in A-Levels and am unconditional to study in University of Bristol UK. This new ruling however is causing me doubts whether or not I should pursue this course. If I cannot further into specialist, I would have a lot of trouble pursuing my ambition and would probably give it up.

Please do not ask me to elaborate on my interests on the profession.

With that, I have looked into being a researcher instead. I'd love to research, find something new that can actually be used to aid the world. Give a world-wide impact. A medical researcher, whether it be something to do with ground-breaking new medicine, or data, statistics and all that to do with medical and health. Perhaps I could go to John Hopkins (very difficult I know) and be associated to the University for research (a relative's friend is doing that - which was how I got myself interested).

So, would you happen to know what I would require to end up as a researcher? Would it be preferable for me to have a medical background?

I know it's very much better to seek a counsellor for advice on these matters, but I'm looking into TFP for a more immediate and constructive response because TFP has been the source of answers to many of my questions!

Thanks.
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Last edited by itch vaccine; 08-21-2006 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 08-21-2006, 06:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Middle of nowhere, Jersey
I have little more then a keen internet searching ability, but I offer the following:

1. To achieve any sort of credible status in the publishing of medical research I suspect AT MINIMUM that one must be an MD. Certainly, uncredited or minially credited contributions are available for others, and your level of required recognition is something only you can decide.

2. I went to the jhu.edu job search website here and selecting the two "research" related "areas of interest" [those being Laboratory/ Technical/ Technical Research Support ~and~ Research Support (non-lab)]. I found 305 job listings.

You should check out the various fields, locations, and position requirements.

I must admit I am very curious about these restrictions you mentioned have been placed on your education and career potential, and wish you would expand on them.

Good luck,

-bear
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
Psycho
 
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Location: Princeton, NJ
Ph.D.
M.D.
Probablly both would be best.

But for undergrad just study Bio or Chem or something and talk to a per-med advisor.

At least that's for the US.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Location: Iceland
I second the MD/PhD track. One of my best friends is doing that at Harvard, and she has very similar ambitions to yours. Not to say that you have to shoot as high as Harvard (Johns Hopkins is fantastic as well, as are many other schools), but you do have to be prepared to endure 8+ years of advanced schooling before you can begin to really work.
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Old 08-22-2006, 11:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
Psycho
 
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Location: on my spinning computer chair
Agh, I hit the back button and my reply has gone.

I wouldn't mind studying 8+ years. It's fine with me as long as it gets me where I want to be.

j8ear, the UK is abolishing the MRCP examinations. Foreign students (I'm from Malaysia - commenwealth even) would be having difficulty obtaining a place in the UK to further their studies in a specialist field. They would rather take in their own students. The usual case would be a Malaysian to come back to Malaysia and take the exam locally under the British Council. It will be acknowledged by the Royal Colleges (i.e. Glasgow, Edinburgh..) and recognised.

No longer because the system is being abolished. A new system would pose more obstacles for a foreign student to pursue medicine in the UK.

I appreciate all your replies. Thanks. Thanks thanks.~

edit : once again, what I've got is mainly hearsay. I will go soon to my local British Council to confirm on the statement!
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"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes.
When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours.
That's relativity."

- Albert Einstein

Last edited by itch vaccine; 08-22-2006 at 11:45 AM..
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
Junkie
 
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Location: upstate NY
I'm going to disagree with the above posters about the MD/PhD track. I think it's largely a waste of time.

You really need to decide what kind of research you want to do. If it's clinical research that involves treating patients and writing clinical protocols you'll need an MD. If you want to do laboratory science research you will be better off with the skills acquired in a PhD program. The most succesful researchers succeed in their field because of hard work and keen intellect. They also end up as either lab scientists or clinical researchers. I tell you this based on personal experience in cancer research.
I work with two MD/PhD's. One does clinical work and takes care of patients; the other is a lab researcher. Having both degrees has not helped either of their careers. If you're devoted to your work and good at it you will succeed, whichever degree you pursue.
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Nowhere
I also agree that MD/PhD is a waste. However, if you are interested in doing research I recommend a PhD. For doing basic science in medical areas, a PhD will be a gateway to making a career in academia or government.

I'm a PhD student in Physiology, which is the study of human cellular and systems biology. This is a good area to be involved in if you want to do medical research, as doing the basic cellular or organ physiology research typically will have some bearing on, or useful results that can be translated into treatments for diseases involving those systems. For instance, I'm studying a membrane protein that a greater understanding in could lead a treatment for Cystic Fibrosis. And in a different project, I'm studying proteins involved in how bacteria colonize the mouth and cause tooth decay - this could lead to preventive medicine related to tooth decay.

MD-shmem-D
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Old 09-11-2006, 09:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
You might also want to look into not staying in the UK, if they aren't interested in you as a grad student. I don't know anything about the difficulties involved with that, however.

Don't forget to work hard with established professors as an undergrad in order to get the letters of reference you'll want for post-undergrad education. Get amazing grades. Learn your subjects backwards and forwards.

Getting people to bet on providing you with more education is a two step process. First, you have to be damn smart and hard working. Second, damn smart people have to know you are damn smart and hard working, and want to champion you. Or you could rely on luck.
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Old 09-17-2006, 10:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: on my spinning computer chair
All right I'll heed that advice Yakk..

I've stumbled across a new course.. which could be more suited to what I want to do.. but my Medicine course begins end of this week, it could be too late to change my mind, and I want to be sure of it if I do!

Does anyone have an insight to BioMedical Engineering? Would it be more geared for medical research?
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When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours.
That's relativity."

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Old 10-05-2006, 02:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
Psycho
 
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Location: on my spinning computer chair
Hey to all the people who have responded to this thread. Many thanks, but I've decided to pursue medicine anyway.

Parents sorta swayed me away from being a researcher, saying that it lacks prospect and stuff like that. I guess it would be preferable not to pursue it.

I have a friend who have parents who are doctors and have always wanted to be a doctor, but went ahead to pursue being a researcher instead! She's taking biomedical sciences. Ah... oh well, lets see where this takes me.

thanks again
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"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes.
When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours.
That's relativity."

- Albert Einstein
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Old 10-05-2006, 04:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
Getting it.
 
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Parent's don't always know what is best...

They hear doctor and thing respect. They hear research and have no clue.

I have a friend that is a particle physicist. He is a tenured University professor. He spends a little bit of time teaching but the lion's share of his time is spent working on research and experiments.

He is very happy doing this. If your parent's knew what he was making and saw the kinds of things he does, they might be a little more impressed about "research".


If you parent's are paying for your education... great. Go for the MD BUT keep your options open. Many MDs end up doing research and lab work. The difference between an MD that does research and a grad student is that an MD is usually the person running the show.
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
Psycho
 
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Location: on my spinning computer chair
It's good to know that I'd be running the show

Thanks for the advise. It's always great to have TFP around.

Med-school is picking up pace, hopefully I'll be able to cope.
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"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes.
When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours.
That's relativity."

- Albert Einstein
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