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AcademicGround >> Q's about molecular biology?

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4/1/04 8:56 AM
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Sporran
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Edited: 01-Apr-04 08:49 AM
Member Since: 03/12/2002
Posts: 417
 
That's my gig - professional research scientist. Also cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular oncology. I guess MBN would be the best for microbiology...... I imagine I will be asked little, and seldom, but the offer is there.
4/1/04 5:28 PM
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1groovyunit
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Edited: 01-Apr-04
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 4290
Oh man you are a Godsend. I am now a high school science teacher and in a school district that sucks tremendously. In the beginning of the year I had some trouble with my certification and sent my resume all over the place. Anyway, I have an offer to work in a diagnostic lab where they do a lot of PCR and immunoassays. My background is in analytical chemistry (my degree is environmental chemistry with a minor in chem and a minor in bio). They said they were eyeing me for a position that was beginning with clinical, but ending in a research position, as they are opening a new lab with research departments doing research in virology and infectious diseases. We also talked about me going back to school to get my master's in molecular genetics/microbiology. They said I would learn a tremendous amount about molecular biology, virology, immunology and pathogenic microbiology at the job. My question is this: what can I do with this sort of background? Earning potential? Suppose I stay at a bachelor's level but work my ass off to learn all I can, what can I do with it? Are there a lot of other possibilities beside 70 hour a week research positions? Is the work really interesting and fun, or is it boring to tears? Sporran, I'd really appreciate your advice because I am seriously considering this option. Another potential offer is working with a toxicologist at a forensics lab. I'd really like to know all I can about the field before I jump in. Thanks a million, Mark
4/2/04 4:21 AM
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Sporran
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Edited: 02-Apr-04
Member Since: 03/12/2002
Posts: 420
Groovyunit, Diagnostic labs tend to be doing very repetitive work, which isn't particularly stimulating, however if there is the potential for advancement, it may be worth doing. Your earning potential as a bachelors / masters qualified scientist will be maximised in the industrial sector. Advancement in academic circles usually requires a PhD. I have no industrial experience personallly, but have colleagues who have US biotech industry experience; consolidating your skills in that environment will be rewarded much better than if you did the same in an academic setting, both fiscally and in terms of career progression. Mol biol, microbiology, mol genetics etc are all very good tools to have if you are looking at the biotech sector, and a masters qualification in that area would enhance your chances if you are looking at that area to work in. I have to get busy just now, but if you need more detail, let me know.
4/2/04 5:49 PM
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1groovyunit
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Edited: 02-Apr-04
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 4295
What are some of the possibilities for me to pursue within biotech? I also live in New Jersey which is the pharmaceutical capital of the universe, so would this experience transfer there as well?
4/5/04 4:46 PM
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FatBuddha
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Edited: 05-Apr-04
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 936
Sporran - This may be a silly question, but I always wondered why with certain diseases like phenylketonuria (PKU) where phenylalanine is not converted into tyrosine and is instead converted into phenylpyruvic acid because of the lack of an enzyme, why chemists/biologists cannot just synthesize the lacking enzyme and deliver it to the appropriate sites. Maybe my head is too up science fiction's ass but would advances in nanotechnology facilitate this in the future? (I don't have a science degree obviously)
4/12/04 5:20 AM
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Sporran
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Edited: 12-Apr-04 09:31 AM
Member Since: 03/12/2002
Posts: 424
Sorry for the delay, just got back from a week's vacation - school holidays here, so had a week playing with the kids. FatBuddha - the problem isn't the artificial synthesis of the enzyme, which is a routine procedure in labs these days, but the delivery. It is almost impossible to deliver such an enzyme to its site of action, in this case the liver. There are 2 main ways to administer therapy - orally and intravenously. Since the enzyme is a protein, it would be digested if taken orally. If taken IV, you may get some delivery to the liver, but there is still the danger of degradation of the protein in the bloodstream, plus the amount of enzyme you wound have to administer may be simply too large to be feasible. Other than dietary therapy, the only "cure" that has been suggested is gene therapy, but that opens another big can o' worms. Nanotech - well maybe next century, but that technology is still waaaaaay off, as far as I know. Groovyunit, the opportunities in the biotech industry are many and varied. If it's R&D you're interested in, why not get a feel for what you would like to research, then see if there's a drug company that's got an active programme in that? Sorry I'm not being very specific, but it's a pretty big area....
4/12/04 9:49 PM
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1groovyunit
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Edited: 12-Apr-04
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 4328
If I do not have an advanced degree in molecular or microbiology and have a lot of knowledge/experience from working in research will the lack of an advanced degree limit me too much?
4/13/04 7:21 AM
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Sporran
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Edited: 13-Apr-04
Member Since: 03/12/2002
Posts: 427
There is a limit to how far you could go in R&D, I guess, but industry is much more interested in what you can actually do. I guess the difference is in whether you intend to direct your own research, or are content being one of the team. If you're Ok with the latter, then you'll likely advance fine. Remember, all this is based on my friends and colleagues testimony - I have never worked in the industry personally. I'm a university researcher.

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