The medical community fights in a daily battle against infectious disease. Have you ever wondered where the antibiotics that clear bacterial infections come from? Or the vaccination that keeps your immune system primed against viruses? Or how these medical developments have been made safe for us to use? These are a lot of questions that get forgotten in the doctor’s office as these medical miracles are taken for granted. But then its easy to forget that years of scientific sweat, tears and lab work have gone into making these modern miracles that have revolutionized our everyday world. Though if you do find yourself asking ‘how’ and ‘why,’ then medical research might be for you too. And I can tell you that you aren’t alone. In fact, I did ask those questions and found that science was surely to me.
The world is full of puzzles if you take a close look at it. As a veterinarian, I often found myself frustrated when our treatment limitations meant we fell short of curing a patient. It was this precipice of medical knowledge that started me asking questions and helped me decide to dedicate my life to answering them. But don’t worry even though I have had a head start, I promise there will be plenty of puzzles left for you to solve.
Often television paints a picture of science work being completely lab based and often on the microscopic level. Still if the idea of white coats, pipettes and tiny bacterial cultures isn’t appealing to you, don’t be afraid. This is just one face of science. Many scientists do fabulous research and make ground breaking discoveries without ever stepping into a lab. The scientific world is your oyster, and the possibilities are innumerable.
If you are mathematically minded, the world of mathematical modelling or epidemiology could be right up your alley. These spheres of research use their mathematical skills to uncover disease prevalence and probability of spread.
Or if you are a master of organization and have an eye for identifying trends, data analysis based research might be for you. Research of this nature can help figure out retrospectively if diseases are on the rise or decline or determine if current treatment practices are as successful as we hope we are.
Still if you are more hands-on and clinically minded, it isn’t uncommon for medical practitioners to perform clinical research. This will of course require further education then pure research alone, but can be equally rewarding. This type of research tends to be patient based and can include evaluating drug regimes to discover the optimal or even figuring out which surgical approach has the most success for a surgical procedure.
Whichever path you may chose, you will find an ocean of questions waiting to be answered. Its up to you which ones you wish to tackle and by which mode of research. Science needs eager minds. Is yours the one its been waiting for?