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Any CompSci MD/PhD's?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Street Philosopher, May 17, 2002.

  1. Street Philosopher

    Street Philosopher freebird 10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2000
    ann arbor
    It seems that quite a few people I work with/for having degrees either in Math or Compsci. One of them is developing some INSANE brain imaging algorithms, and the other one is making online surveys. Integration of medicine with computer expertise looks to be the wave of the future... so I'm wondering, any of your mudd phudders getting a PhD in comp sci?
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  3. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    I used to be a Comp Sci major. If I had been in Electrical Engineering I prolly woulda stuck with it. I think Comp Sci doesn't have alot to do with directly applicable medicine, but sure alot to do with research, development, and informatics. Really I know how to program very well and I know alot about working with systems. Dunno all the algorithm and circuit design stuff tho.

    My old research was in Neuromorphic Engineering, the simulation of the nervous system with computer hardware. I enjoyed it. I did the interfaces and alot of the testing of the system for language processing, short-term memory, other sensory processing, etc... I enjoyed it. I think now that I'd love to be the surgeon testing them and putting them in :)
  4. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    I've never met an MD/PhD doing compsci...closest I guess was biophysics. Hard to get away from things that start with bio.
  5. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    I would imagine that if you did comp sci with an MD then you'd probably end up doing somethig like bioinformatics. I have heard of a few MD/PhD's doing that, so it's not too out there.

  6. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior 7+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Just like the other posters mentioned; it's quite rare. The reason being there's a huge divide between medicine and compsci/math. The available option is medical physics if you're interested and have the background. Even med physics is not too available. The only places I know that have well established MedP programs are UCSD, Harvard, and Univ of chicago.
  7. conrad

    conrad Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    My Ph.D. is being awarded in Neuroscience but I'm doing my research in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park... I'm doing neuroimaging-inspired computational modelling (neural network simulations of cortical function). Fun stuff... Actually, one of my favorite parts of the Ph.D. work is that I get to do stuff I did BEFORE I came to med school, like play with computers (I was an engineer). I would have also considered something neat like medical anthropology but that wasn't offered at Maryland...
  8. Taty

    Taty Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2002
    New York
    I am CS/IS as undegrad, I would like to do MD/Ph.D...MD/Medical Informatics.
  9. lumanyika

    lumanyika Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2000
    Kansas City
  10. jot


    though not exactly pure comp sci, a lot of my undergrad research is in computational biology/math using bayesian inference and mcmcmc to predict molecular sequences on the tips of phylogenetic trees. i'm more fond of the wet lab, and don't think i can deal with the rigour/formalism of a compsci grad degree. there are an incredible numbers of ways to apply the degree; at merck there is a dedicated core of bio people with compsci phd's that create incredible programs for anything from handling dense genomic arrays to cellular automata modeling.
  11. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned Banned

    Aug 8, 2001
    I know that UIUC has an MD/PhD (non MSTP) where you can get a PhD in absolutely any field you want, including both computer science and electrical/computer engineering. I believe UIUC is ranked in the top 5 for both disciplines.
  12. atsai3

    atsai3 10+ Year Member

    May 15, 2002
    Street Philosopher,

    I've heard of MD/PhD in medical informatics -- that seems to be the home to which many CS types migrate.

  13. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior 7+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    In general, MD/PhD programs train people in areas of basic biomedical science; and I don't think medical informatics is basic science. There are PhD programs in med informatics, but I don't think it(med info) is compatiable with the visions of MD/PhD programs. It's certainly possible to do, but I think you'll be faced with the same challenges facing an MD/PhD applicant arguing to do his/her PhD in epidemiology for instance.

    I got an MS in mathematics, and if I decide to use it formally, I'll probably have to be looking at medical physics or biomedical engineering. The truth is that you can end up doing whatever you want. Just choose the *available* department that comes closest to your area of interest, then find a mentor in that department whose work comes closest to your interests, then go ahead and do the stuff. Even if this interest is something as "outlandish" as music, I'm sure with a little sacrifices and compromises here and there, one can still get it off the ground. You've got people doing pure neuroscience and getting their PhDs in anything from cell to pharmacology.

    One can use the above strategy for compsci, but it will be tough to make a case for med informatics which is just not a basic science.
    In your case, you can elect to do strictly compsci projects under a purely compsci mentor (though probably in collaboration with a basic biomedical science mentor). It really doesn't matter. Hope this incoherent rambling helps.
  14. atsai3

    atsai3 10+ Year Member

    May 15, 2002
    I would agree with "Original". The NIH's MSTP program is designed to train researchers in the basic sciences. Some schools may include medical informatics in their MSTP programs, but you may have to look elsewhere.

    As for combined programs in the fields of epidemiology, health policy, health services research, etc -- they are exceedingly rare. Harvard, for example, offers an MD/PhD in health policy (interdisciplinary program based at the Kennedy School of Government, I think), but it is not a true combined program. You pay for grad school and medical school separately, so even if your graduate education is covered under an institutional grant, you still have to pay for medical school.

    As far as I know, only Case Western Reserve University offers a combined MD/PhD in health services research. Their program is funded by the U.S Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research and covers tuition and stipend for all years of training. I heard a rumor that the University of Minnesota and Yale are starting their own similar programs, but I have no confirmation.

  15. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2001
    East Providence, RI
    Dartmouth has a Computer Science Md/PhD.

    <a href="" target="_blank">Dartmouth CS Md/PhD</a>
  16. ellealla

    ellealla 2+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2014
    Yes yes yes! I'm an MD PhD doing a PhD in Computer Science. I would highly recommend it. I did not major in comp sci and had only about 2 years of programming experience before starting my PhD, but it's been working out great so far. There are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES to combine CS with medicine. There are a ton of people in CS who really, really benefit from a medical perspective. I have been surprised by how helpful it is to have a medical background when tackling my research questions. It will let you avoid the common pitfall of designing a new method that is in fact entirely useless based on the way medicine actually works in real life. My research does focus on medical computer science projects, but if you're doing an MD and a PhD (even a computational one), it makes sense for your PhD to have some kind of medical or biological connection :) The key is to choose a program that will allow you to pursue a computational PhD. I only interviewed at MD PhD programs that would give me the freedom to pursue a PhD in whatever area I wished. There are some MD PhD programs that explicitly restrict the types of PhDs you can pursue, e.g. only biological options. However, some MD PhD programs will let you pursue a PhD in whatever area you want, even if it's computer science. Just make sure you ask when you're interviewing, to ensure you end up at a program that will match your interests. I would highly encourage anyone interested in computation and MD PhD programs to choose an MD + computer science PhD. You will have more opportunities than you can possibly take advantage of, and you'll get to work with a lot of awesome people.
  17. s_med


    Sep 14, 2016
    As a fellow CS student I appreciate this, but will point out you've just necrobumped a thread that pre-dates the original Nokia 1100 phone.
    eteshoe likes this.

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