MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: What is necessary to become a medical research scientist?

Date: Tue Sep 26 13:14:28 2000
Posted By: Andrew D. Brabban, Faculty, Biology, The Evergreen State College
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 969416563.Bc

Very good question Carly. I'm not an expert on this as I' am a professor 
at a college but have a fairly good understanding of the system and I hope 
this helps. The 2 degrees you are talking about are very different.

A MD is the ability to perform medical tasks. A PhD is a higher level of 
understanding in a subject, for our case science.

Getting a MD you for to medical school and are taught how to deal with 
people and diagnose problems. In a PhD you don not do this, your primary 
learning here is how to perform experiments and the techniques to carry 
them out (this is not in a MD).

So often you will hear that people get a MD/PhD for the best of both 
worlds. That is extremely difficult to do.

As for enrolling in the program. I'd say yes, it would give some more 
insight into health care, which is never bad, and if your carrying out 
research it's always good to understand where your work ends up.

To do lab based research in medicine you do not need a MD, if you are 
dealing with out of body stuff. So if you want to work on subjects where 
your not putting something inside someone, a chemical for example. But you 
can do a massive range of work in animals, in models etc.

What an MD will give you here is the ability to more widely experiment on 
people, that is do trials etc.

So to conclude. Do a MD is you want to be a doctor, do and MD/PhD if you 
want to do drug trails etc. in people, do a PhD if you want to do lab 
research but not be invasive to humans.

Good luck on your career choice. I hope this helps.

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