After finishing my 6 years of postdoctoral training in Internal Medicine here at UT Southwestern, I was at a crossroads. My next step initially began as a research scientist, yet I was still unsure whether to pursue this career.
As a child I was very fascinated by the research my dad did as an endocrinologist. His work taught me that scientific research is of critical importance when trying to understand and treat a disease. As a basic scientist I have always loved my job and enjoyed doing research. A basic scientist tries to answer fundamental questions of biology and that often translates to how a disease impacts a living organism. By validating the underlying mechanism, one could possibly find a cure for a specific disease. I had many colleagues that worked directly with patients every day to save lives. I on the other hand, worked on genes involved in cellular pathways of a disease and was often questioned by friends and family if that would ever have an impact in medical field. I would simply explain that, “Basic science is the foundation for clinical research. Treating patients directly is more like building a house on that foundation.” In the absence of all the information obtained from basic research, it would be very difficult to predict any future in the treatment of a disease. Continue reading