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2+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2016
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  1. Pre-Medical
I've been trying to decide between MD vs. MD/PhD vs. PhD throughout most of my undergrad career now.

I love research, but as of right now I'm much more drawn to basic science, and in topics that aren't all that biomedical. I find that I really like going to seminars in developmental biology (morphogenesis, epithelial topology) and regeneration (like axolotl limb+tail regeneration), and I really like systems biology, ecology and evolution, and genomics. In the past, I've also been very interested in plant biology and crop engineering, and am still very passionate about climate change/food security.

I've been looking into grad programs for these topics, but my question is: can MD-PhDs do this kind of research for their research, or is that too far away from medicine?
I think it'd be really cool to study like amphibian regeneration and use an evolutionary approach to ask why regeneration has been lost in mammal/human lineages, but it just feels a little far away from medicine. What kind of research projects do MD-PhD // MSTP students usually undertake? Are there physician scientists who are able to do research in developmental / regeneration / crop /climate change biology?

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Doctor Professor
10+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2008
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Yes, I know people who worked in drosophila, c. Elegans, bacteria, etc

if u can tie basic principles of what you are studying to biomedicine that is helpful

you can do your own research on MD/PhD student pages, they often list dissertation titles or publications (or u can search for those)

sourpatch fetish

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2017
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  1. MD/PhD Student
Developmental/regen: absolutely.
Crop/climate science: well probably if you study sth like the relationship between climate change and malnutrition (i.e public health).
I know people who've done the PhD part of MSTP in structural bio, as well as a practicing MD/PhD whose lab focuses on very basic biochemical problems. That's quite basic if you ask me.
As far as being a PI, the most important thing is whether you can get grant money to fund your research to replace your clinical time.
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