Ok, we’re back up! My computer has been out of commission for a little while but I wanted post what I wrote for the past few days:
Clinical Neuroscience Social: Creative Career Options in a Changing Landscape
Chair: Helen S Mayberg
The panel was great. It included Drs. Daniel Weinberger, Walter Koroshetz, Huseini Manji, and Dennis Choi
The purpose of the social was to encourage grad students and post-docs that who are considering careers in clinical and translational aspects of neuroscience. One of the concerns raised by the audience was the perception that ‘clinical neuroscience’ was mostly diagnostic. Is there a place for basic/ therapeutic research? To this, Dr. Choi emphasized two things:
(1) The trajectory in pharma is leading to a more ‘non-pill’ route. This means targeting mechanisms of diseases and expanding their research to include using antibodies to detrimental proteins (i.e. amyloid proteins in Alzheimer’s), vaccines and biomarkers. As a result, the need for basic research is still great.
(2) While pharma’s interest in neurodegenerative diseases is at a plateau (or even dropping), the awareness in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors is rising. This brings more research opportunities to neuroscientists.
I was also encouraged by what Dr. Weinberger shared about the quest to find your niche in the science world. ‘If you only climb mountains to get to the summit, you’re not going to be a good mountain climber — you have to love mountains’. In other words, you have to enjoy the journey. Don’t try to over-plan your career. He went on to add that a successful scientist isn’t necessarily brilliant (smarts are encouraged) but is: (1) passionate (2) persistent – with tough skin and (3) asking the right questions and the right time (using the technology around at that time).