Research

Almost exactly a year ago, I started doing research on genetic pathways within the heart at the local medical college. I have been there (volunteering during school year and being paid during the summer) ever since.  My lab work would definitely be associated with molecular biology. I run PCRs, work with bacteria, do luciferase assays, etc. It is sometimes repetitive, and there are usually 10 or more mess-ups for every useable piece of data, but it has its benefits.  I have learned a ton, and it looks really good on a medical school application.  Not to mention it is a summer job where I actually get to use my brain instead of doing manual labor. On a side note, I really hate the animal involvement in research, but I understand the importance of having models before applying them to humans.  I also wish my research was more "translational," I honestly don't think anything I do will ever help out a patient.  That is what bothers me about MD/PhD programs.  The "free" tuition and yearly stipend are amazing, but what if I were to be stuck doing research on something that doesn't do anything but flesh out a gene pathway?  I think I would love research that I could take "from the lab bench to the bedside" but the majority of research is not this type.  The timeline is also worrisome, I would be over 30 years-old before I could practice medicine on my own.  I know MD/PhD is for some people, but just not for me, I want to work with patients everyday.