PhD after MD

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by blind spot, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. blind spot

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    Hi All,

    My question is how can you apply for PhD after you are done with your MD. What are the important things that you need to know before applying and what are the chances of an IMG getting into a PhD program.

    Thanks
     
  2. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    Chances are good, as in PhD programs the education is low and the you just being cheap labor is high. In other words there's a shortage of cheap labor (including to do my dishes) and a surplus of PhDs. My point is: be careful, it's easy to get into a PhD program in many places and in many fields, but you may not have a job when you come out.

    What sort of PhD program are you considering? You should get some research experience in it first as a lab tech to be sure you know what you're getting into and increase your chances of acceptance. Though with an MD that may not even be becessary. You can always talk to some PhD faculty at the school you're at or interested in and see what they have to say.
     
  3. blind spot

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    Thanks for the reply.

    As mentioned earlier I have recently graduated as an MD I and am currently living in US. I want some kind of career in research at the moment so I was thinking of doing a PhD in Pathology. Money is not a problem so I am not looking for a job after I complete it, its just that I want to do something in research as I enjoy it a lot.

    I have experience of both basic science and clinical research during my medical school period but not that much and my degree is obviously from a foreign country. So how do I go about it ? Look for research in labs or just apply to a program ?
     
    #3 blind spot, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  4. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    Money is always a problem and you'll have a family and be looking for a job someday. But that being said, if you're serious about that path I'm serious about assisting you. I just wanted to get the warning to you now. FMGs tend to get abused with high hours, longer training times, and poor conditions no matter what they do, and this is true in research as it is in the clinical world. It's a sick and sad system of exploitation we tend to have here in the western world, but I'm just a messenger.

    There's no PhDs in Pathology that I'm aware of. You'd be looking at Cell & Molecular Biology programs. You could potentially then work with MD or MD/PhD Pathologists. I would advice you to contact your nearby Cell & Molecular Biology graduate group for more information about how competitive it is and such and decide from there.
     
  5. blind spot

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    Well I was looking at University of Washington website for information and there they have "Pathology PhD program" other than the "Cell & Molecular Biology PhD program" so whats the difference if there is any ? Excuse my ignorance in this regard but I really don't have much idea about the PhD programs.
     
  6. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    I'm just as ignorant on this topic. I didn't know there were PhD programs in Pathology :laugh: I'd advise you to read the websites and talk to faculty. Maybe someone else will chime in and let you know.

    Many PhD programs vary widely on cirriculum and research opportunities from institution to institution as well. Unlike medical school, there's very little standardization.
     
  7. blind spot

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    Good enough start for me. Thank you so much for your help and assistance :)
     
  8. howelljolly

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    You certainly can get a PhD in Pathology...


    PhD student studies keeping beer fresh

    By Chris Purdy, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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    SASKATOON - Monique Haakensen is not just another university student who claims to have spent her academic years occupied by beer.
    The 26-year-old is actually completing her PhD in pathology and laboratory medicine by researching the sudsy beverage at the University of Saskatchewan, home to one of only two labs in the world that studies beer spoilage.
    "It's a good conversation starter," Haakensen says from her tiny, cluttered lab on the Saskatoon campus.
    "I've gone through so many years of school and I've studied medical microbiology and all this and that - and now I'm saving beer. (People) tease me about it, but they actually find it quite interesting."
    Haakensen has helped discover three new methods of detecting beer-spoiling bacteria, including a DNA-based technique, that has big breweries around the globe hoisting pints in celebration.
    Breweries usually have to keep batches of beer for two to three months to make sure they haven't spoiled before cases are shipped out on trucks to liquor stores, says Haakensen.
    "What we've done here is, by using DNA methods, we can actually figure out in a matter of one to two days if that beer will spoil," Haakensen says.
    "It's kind of a bit like making a cookie recipe. It's not hard to follow a recipe from a cookbook, but it's really hard to come up with that recipe and that idea to begin with."
    She explains that breweries will be able to get more beer onto the market faster and save on lab costs.
    Haakensen, who has won scholarships from several breweries such as Cargill Malt, Coors and Miller, presented some of her lab's beer breakthroughs last summer to an excited crowd at the World Brewing Congress in Hawaii.
    Part of her research also includes the discovery of two new genes involved in beer spoilage and three new groups of bacteria that can ruin beer.
    The new types of bacteria were found with the unwitting help of her younger brothers a couple years ago while they were also attending the University of Saskatchewan. Too cheap to buy their own beer, the boys made some home brew and offered her a glass.
    The beer, smelling like cheese with sludge on the bottom, was too disgusting to drink, Haakensen says.
    "So I stole a bunch of bottles of their beer and brought it back here."
    Haakensen says the only other lab in the world studying beer spoilage is based out of the Asahi brewery in Japan.
    The University of Saskatchewan beer lab, now under the direction of professor Barry Ziola, has made high-profile discoveries before. Its invention of high-gravity fermentation in the 1980s is now used in the creation of biofuels.
    Masters student Vanessa Pittet, who works in the lab with Haakensen, has spent countless hours helping to sequence beer spoilage genes.
    She is also researching hops and how bacteria can grow in the presence of ethanol. She says the knowledge will also be valuable to the ethanol fuel industry.
    Beyond her PhD in beer, Haakensen says there's not much opportunity for her to have a career doing beer research.
    She recently landed a job with the university's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to study how other types of bacteria effect humans
     
  9. pharmstudent993

    pharmstudent993 Freshman in HS
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    New York Medical College has a Ph. D. in pathology; USC and NYU also have programs in pathobiology (NYU actually has an experimental pathology and molecular oncology and immunology track). Quite a few other schools have Ph. D. programs in pathology, but their names escape my mind.
     
    #9 pharmstudent993, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  10. sluox

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    Your post is slightly confusing.

    If you finished MD and took USMLE and will match into a residency in one of the accredited medical schools in the US, and "money is not a problem", then I STRONGLY recommend AGAINST doing a PhD. You can do any biomedical research you want with an MD after residency.

    If your MD is from a different country and you have yet to take step I/II/III, I think a PhD from the US at a chill program is one way of doing that (I know of multiple examples). Keep in mind however, that you need to be studying for the USMLE while in the PhD program, and ready to jump ship whenever you match into a residency program. You need to clarify this with your lab head, since few would take you if you have no commitment to work. If money is truly "not a problem" I suggest just staying at home and study for the steps instead.

    Finally, maybe you want to have a research career and you would need a US degree. In that case you'd have to get a PhD preferably from a top institution.
     
  11. blind spot

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    I am done with steps and my medical degree is from another country. I dont plan to do residency for the next 4-5 years atleast and instead I want to do research but not just some lab work. So my plan is to do PhD which will give me ample opportunity to do research and publish it hopefully and will earn me a PhD degree as well so if and when I apply for residency I will have good credentials and even if I dont plan to go there and stay on the research side I will be better off with a PhD instead of just research.

    Does this make sense at all ? So the question is simple should I go for PhD if I want to do research ?
     
  12. sluox

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    This depends on your scores, as well as connections and the reputation of your school. You might want to get ECFMG certified first, and there might be policies regarding how many years your steps are actually valid.

    what you are doing only makes sense if you think that based on your current background, you will not match. If you can match into a half-way decent IM residency, you will be able to do research later.

    Several things to keep in mind
    (1) PhD is 6-7 years, not 4-5 years.
    (2) PhD does not usually help you match, unless you do a spectacular job. and even then it's only for certain very specific residencies.
    (3) PhD, as a degree itself, is not very useful for anything, especially if it's not from a top university.

    I would STRONGLY recommend against doing a PhD if your plan is to eventually match into a residency. Is there a particular reason why you are waiting for 4-5 yrs before you match?
     

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