Interested in studying the biology of aging- MD/Phd or just Phd?

amourexdile

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I am considering what to do after earning my bachelor's of science in biology. I am interested in studying the biology of aging. Should I continue on to study for a Phd or is it worth getting an MD/Phd to study aging? I am not interested in clinical work. I'm just curious to see if earning a MD will either more doors than a PhD or if I will gain a better understanding of the human body by doing an MD vs a PhD. Any insight would be much appreciated.
 

peridotthecat

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If you're totally uninterested in clinical work, I'd say just go for the PhD. Medical school includes 2 years of clinical rotations and will take away time you could otherwise spend in a post-doc.
 

AttemptingScholar

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The point of the MD really is the clinical. I'd say go for the PhD and if (somehow, though I can't imagine this would happen) you feel like you don't fully understand the context of the human body, people with PhDs go to medical school (usually with very high acceptances rate, since they already have a terminal degree!). If you find a path you are passionate about that requires the MD, you can always go back for it.
 
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gyngyn

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The point of the MD really is the clinical. I'd say go for the PhD and if (somehow, though I can't imagine this would happen) you feel like you don't fully understand the context of the human body, people with PhDs go to medical school (usually with very high acceptances rate, since they already have a terminal degree!). If you find a path you are passionate about that requires the MD, you can always go back for it.
I've been looking for data on PhD outcomes.
My observation is not so rosy.
Any sources?
 

Med Ed

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If you're totally uninterested in clinical work, I'd say just go for the PhD. Medical school includes 2 years of clinical rotations and will take away time you could otherwise spend in a post-doc.
That's one way to look at it. Another is that the MD gives a much broader education than any biomedical graduate program will provide, and the time commitment pays off in the form of developing an in-demand skill set (commensurate with being a licensed, boarded physician). Grad students and postdocs fall more into the category of "will pipette for food." That's not to say a combined degree is a good idea for everyone, but the calculus is more than "losing" two years of lab time.
 

Med Ed

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I am considering what to do after earning my bachelor's of science in biology. I am interested in studying the biology of aging. Should I continue on to study for a Phd or is it worth getting an MD/Phd to study aging? I am not interested in clinical work. I'm just curious to see if earning a MD will either more doors than a PhD or if I will gain a better understanding of the human body by doing an MD vs a PhD. Any insight would be much appreciated.
"Studying the biology of aging" is a rather vague goal. I suggest you identify some individuals who are doing research in the area(s) in which you are interested, and examine their respective educational paths.
 

teenyfish

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"Studying the biology of aging" is a rather vague goal. I suggest you identify some individuals who are doing research in the area(s) in which you are interested, and examine their respective educational paths.
I agree here. I work in an entire building that studies the biology of aging. My lab is studying a very small part of one system. I feel like most, if not all things in physiology can be studied within the context of aging, so definitely narrowing down your focus would be a good place to start!
 
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Goro

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Grad students and postdocs fall more into the category of "will pipette for food."
I'm so glad I wasn't drinking my tea when I read this!
:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
 

aaronrodgers

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I am considering what to do after earning my bachelor's of science in biology. I am interested in studying the biology of aging. Should I continue on to study for a Phd or is it worth getting an MD/Phd to study aging? I am not interested in clinical work. I'm just curious to see if earning a MD will either more doors than a PhD or if I will gain a better understanding of the human body by doing an MD vs a PhD. Any insight would be much appreciated.
Out of curiosity, what are you interested with in regards to the biology of aging? Increasing healthspan or immortality? A lot of MDs are doing the former based on what I found online. If I recall correctly, they are actively testing metformin as a healthspan drug.
 
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amourexdile

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Well, I am really interested in both longevity and healthspan because you really don't want to have longevity without an increase in healthspan. The Buck Institute for Research on Aging is one of the places that I'd be interested in working at- it offers a PhD in the science of aging in conjunction with the University of Southern California. I just didn't know if having a MD/Phd would make me a more competitive job applicant and/or give more insight into the field. I really appreciate everyone's insights though. You all have given me much to think about.
 

liquidcrawler

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Well, I am really interested in both longevity and healthspan because you really don't want to have longevity without an increase in healthspan. The Buck Institute for Research on Aging is one of the places that I'd be interested in working at- it offers a PhD in the science of aging in conjunction with the University of Southern California. I just didn't know if having a MD/Phd would make me a more competitive job applicant and/or give more insight into the field. I really appreciate everyone's insights though. You all have given me much to think about.
You will have to look into it, but my understanding is that MD/PhDs get funding way easier. Those two extra letters tagged at the end of your name make a world of difference. Another pro of the MD/PhD is you can minimize the clinical work later in your career (if you choose) and have a broad understanding of human biology. Ideally, your clinical training will complement your research, and your research will complement your medical practice. But you have to ask yourself, how will having an MD inform my research? As biology of aging (or regenerative medicine, which it sounds like the thing you are really interested in), doesn't have its own medical speciality i.e. there are no regenerative medicine docs.
 
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Kurk

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Very cool interest OP. I myself have always had a casual interest with the research done on anti-aging, specifically telomerase. Aging is the cause of all diseases. I always am hesitant to share my interest in immortality research with profs b/c of how immature it could sound. But very cool and I encourage you in your research!
 
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amourexdile

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Hmm... Now it seems like maybe I should do the MD/PhD route. That does beg the question, what should I do my residency in? As liquidcrawler aptly states, there isn't really a specialty for regenerative medicine. Should I just do the one year residency and continue on to a post doc? I seem to recall reading somewhere that you had to do at least one year of residency to become licensed as a doctor.

Kurk, thank you for the kind words. It is definitely an intriguing field and one that is growing quite rapidly.
 
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liquidcrawler

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Hmm... Now it seems like maybe I should do the MD/PhD route. That does beg the question, what should I do my residency in? As liquidcrawler aptly states, there isn't really a specialty for regenerative medicine. Should I just do the one year residency and continue on to a post doc? I seem to recall reading somewhere that you had to do at least one year of residency to become licensed as a doctor.

Kurt, thank you for the kind words. It is definitely an intriguing field and one that is growing quite rapidly.
That's not a problem. You don't have to decide now. Longevity and regenerative medicine research are broad fields, and most likely you'll be studying something smaller like liver regeneration, in which case you become a hepatologist. Most likely, it will be an internal medicine sub speciality.
 
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aaronrodgers

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Very cool interest OP. I myself have always had a casual interest with the research done on anti-aging, specifically telomerase. Aging is the cause of all diseases. I always am hesitant to share my interest in immortality research with profs b/c of how immature it could sound. But very cool and I encourage you in your research!
The idea of immortality seems to depend on humans reaching A.I. singularity in order to have medical discoveries outpace aging. Silicon Valley seems to fear it will happen but ofc it is all sooooo speculative well into the realm of sci-fi!
 

aldol16

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It is much easier to get a job as an MD/PhD than it is as just a PhD these days. PhDs are a dime a dozen. MD/PhDs can always fall back on their MDs if they're having difficulty finding a faculty position. Having both makes you more versatile and gives you that edge since there aren't that many MD/PhDs out there. But whether you should go that route depends on where you see your research taking you. If your aging research is very disease-oriented, then medical training would certainly supplement and augment the quality of the research you will be doing. If your research is strictly small molecules level and medical knowledge won't help you any, then it wouldn't make sense to do MD/PhD except for the added value in the job market.
 
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Med Ed

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Hmm... Now it seems like maybe I should do the MD/PhD route. That does beg the question, what should I do my residency in?
Good news, if you do go MD/PhD you will have a long time to figure that out.

Also, you can amaze (and annoy) your friends and family by pointing out to them what "begging the question" actually means.
 
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amourexdile

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That's not a problem. You don't have to decide now. Longevity and regenerative medicine research are broad fields, and most likely you'll be studying something smaller like liver regeneration, in which case you become a hepatologist. Most likely, it will be an internal medicine sub speciality.
Ah, I see what you mean Liquidcrawler. That makes a lot of sense.

Good news, if you do go MD/PhD you will have a long time to figure that out.

Also, you can amaze (and annoy) your friends and family by pointing out to them what "begging the question" actually means.
Very true. The MD/PhD route does seem better especially since I don't want to "pipette for food." Ha ha! Thank you for the link to the "begging the question" post. I shall be sure to immediately show off my newfound knowledge to my friends and family. It remains to be seen whether I will be seen as amazing or annoying.

Thanks again for all the help that everyone has given me. I really can't say how much I appreciate it. It seems like the MD/PhD provides more job security and will likely enhance my understanding of aging. I'll just have to narrow down what I want to focus on in aging. Thanks again everyone!
 

gyngyn

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Ah, I see what you mean Liquidcrawler. That makes a lot of sense.



Thank you for the link to the "begging the question" post. I shall be sure to immediately show off my newfound knowledge to my friends and family. It remains to be seen whether I will be seen as amazing or annoying.
I like "presumes facts not in evidence" a bit better.
 
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