remnants of an experiment gone wrong (biyahera) wrote,
remnants of an experiment gone wrong

when you know you've made the right choice

i'm taking a minicourse typicaly offered to biomedical science students. it's called "the energy problem: obesity, starvation and diabetes." i'm in it because a) it addresses diabetes, which is a disease relevant to my family [my mom has it] and b) because the topic of metabolism is what originally got me interested in doing research.

i was originally interested in human metabolism and bioenergetics back in undergrad. and in davis my first experience dabbling in scientific benchwork [my "research" experience in the psych department doesn't count.] involved studying nitrogen metabolism in budding yeast and how it regulates the retrograde/mitochondria-to-nucleus response. before i left for ucsf, my principal investigator ted powers told me he wrote on my golden ticket/letter of recommendation that he knew i was "special" when i first came to him asking for an opportunity to do research in his lab because i was interested in metabolism. it's funny how everything's come full circle and i'm back where i started. of course, metabolism in humans is orders of magnitude more complex than in single cell organisms.

so, something that i've discovered about myself upon taking this class is that i'm uber grateful that i'm not in med school. it looks like whenever i would explain to a lay person the health implications of whatever scientific research i decide to do, i can't say that it's going to be something very apparent. i like basic science. if i could get away with it, i would do "science for the sake of science" and laser ablate spindle bodies or do high-risk experiments. but since funding is scarce, more so now that the economy's shit, we all have to find some topic that's relevant to human health and disease--the buzzwords of course being 'cancer' and 'stem cells.' except the labs that focus on studies more closely linked to human systems aren't labs i'm interested in. i don't like their assays or their data. i don't like clinical trials.

what can i say? i'm a classically trained biochemist and molecular biologist. i'll leave the interpretation of my scientific work in a human model to the MDs of the world. i fell in love with the less popular side of science. the life sciences is just not as "fabulous" as the health sciences because the consequence of our work is decades away from yielding any benefits. but that's ok. somebody's gotta do it. and i'm happy that i made the right choice picking grad school over med school. it doesn't mean that i can't do research in the health sciences. it just means that for now, i'll stick to my guns and enjoy my time with simpler organisms and more basic scientific questions. i'll have to worry about saving the world later.

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