1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 9, 2012 8:07 AM by David Harwell

    High [Chemistry] specialities for a Would-Be Medical Doctor?

    Jessica Heston

           Hi, I am finishing up my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry this summer, and I have been accepted to medical school for the Fall 2012. Sadly, this school doesn't have a combined MD/Ph.D as I hoped for. My question is ...  Are there any specialities that require a great deal of chemistry in everyday life? My pull is toward something Biochemistry and/or Organic Chemistry related.  I don't know... Any advice, thoughts??? Is getting a PH.d after my MD, and going into a career as a medical research on the side ---> a good idea?


      Thanks in advance,

      Jessica Heston

        • Re: High [Chemistry] specialities for a Would-Be Medical Doctor?
          David Harwell



          Getting the combination of the degrees is up to you.  When I was at UCLA working on drugs for the treatment of breast cancer, I was part of a very large team of researchers.  I have a PhD in chemistry and was part of the "chemistry" team that synthesized a ligand that would later encapsulate a radioactive isotope for radioimmunotherapy and/or radio immunodetection.  I handed off my molecules to a radio chemist that would insert the isotopes, and they in turn passed the compound on to a team of molecular biologists and biochemists that attached the compound to monoclonal antibodies that were derived from phages.  Further down the chain were biologists, clinicians, and physicians who would test the samples in different vectors and assess effectiveness.  Over the whole effort, and over the research grant, was an MD/PhD.  His role was primarily administrative, but very important to holding this broad effort together.


          It depends on the role that you want to play.  There are jobs at every stage of the process, and all of them can be fulfilling.