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Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

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Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby J. Midoritori » Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:56 am

Hello

I have always been good in science my whole life. I was placed into the top science classes in school, got 100% on most exams and straight As in all my collage science classes. But sadly I was never very strong in math (which I have been told is an odd mix). In university I was taken aside in my last year by my biology teacher and she asked why I wasn't a biology major and I remember thinking why I wasn't.

I, in fact, received my undergrad degree in a very different subject. But took a ton of science courses. Now a few years after graduating I know now that I definitely want to go back for a career in science.

-I have an interest in almost all bio-based sciences -microbiology, neurology, cognitive science/psychology, cancer, genetic research etc. I have no interest in physics or engineering as I am not strong in math at all and these were the only sciences I did not excel at.
- I have been told I have great creativity and am an excellent problem solver often coming up with unique solutions. Inventing new ways of doing things or looking at things is something I excel at. Many of the people in my family have many patents and are inventors. I often asked questions in my university science courses that the teachers said no one had asked.
- I am very inquisitive and truly love looking into/ "researching" different bio related subjects. I love to pour over science papers and textbooks. I can be very focused, looking into a subject for hours on end without being tired.

My only issue is I am have only done labs once. I am not strong/ very accident prone (i.e clumsy) and I could see me definitely exploding a lab! I am also not sure how much I want to be working in a lab all day, every day.


So here lies my conundrum. Are there careers out there that involve research that is less lab based than some of the others? For example I love cognitive science/psychology? Would doing research in this field be less at the lab bench than say microbiology?

Also if, say, I did a PhD in Psychology research, I would be interested in genetics/ bacteria involved in mental health. I notice on a lot of science research papers they will have a team that does the genetics/ microbiology side and then the psychologists. They all work together to bring the end results of the study. I would love this kind of merged project. But how easy/hard is it to get into this kind of project?

Bottom line: I'd love a career where I can problem solve and come up with research topics without having to spend my whole day measuring things at a lab bench.

Any ideas would be so appreciated.
J. Midoritori
 
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby PG » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:36 am

There are several science related professions that doesnt require laboratory experience. A couple of examples are working with intellectual property ie patents, trademarks etc. Another example is clinical studies. Both of these areas offer several different opportunities and there are other possibilities as well.
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby WG » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:29 am

What is your degree in? Is it a Bachelors or Masters? Knowing this could help people give you more specific answers. There are jobs in sales for people with science backgrounds. Another area that is often suggested is consulting.
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby L. B. Gage » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:58 am

This is just my opinion::

I see a lot of non-lab science careers but most of them are occupied by individuals who went through the "wet phase". I personally cannot envision any type of mid to high level science opportunities without solid hands on experience. Even jobs in pharma sales require at least a bachelors degree in some sort of life science program, which would reguire you to spend at least some time in lab learning. I know someone who works in a patent office, but he has a PhD and post doc experience with extensive bench experience.
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby PG » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:00 pm

but a lot of career paths doesnt require work experience doing laboratory work even if they do often require laboratory training during your education. There are ways to deal with this that will still allow you to work with science.

Most people can get through lab training.
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby PACN » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:56 am

There are some areas in psychology/neuroscience that do not require wet lab work, including cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. But you won't be doing genetics-- that is generally bench work. You don't say what your undergrad is in. If it is psychology, you would have the background to get into those types of graduate programs and could get involved in collaborative projects. Another option, if you have a strong computer science background, would be bioinformatics. I think that is a very hot area right now and is mainly (entirely?) computer-based analyses.

I am not sure why you think you need to be strong to work in a lab. You don't. Clumsy is also not a deal breaker if you can work with your hands with precision. Have you tried working in a lab? You'd have a lot more options in what it sounds like you really like (biology) if you were able to get some lab experience.
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby E.K.L. » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:29 am

J. Midoritori wrote:My only issue is I am have only done labs once. I am not strong/ very accident prone (i.e clumsy) and I could see me definitely exploding a lab! I am also not sure how much I want to be working in a lab all day, every day.

So here lies my conundrum. Are there careers out there that involve research that is less lab based than some of the others? For example I love cognitive science/psychology? Would doing research in this field be less at the lab bench than say microbiology?


Are you looking for a research career away from the bench because you don't like working in the lab, or because you think you wouldn't be able to work in the lab?

Those are two different questions. But I would like to point out even clumsy or accident-prone people can (and do) work as scientists. A bit of clumsiness is expected in new students anyway; nobody comes to he lab knowing how to use the equipment, and it gets easier with experience. But there is plenty of research that doesn't involve dangerous chemicals (so you wouldn't have to worry about exploding the lab) or dangerous organisms. Not every microbiologist out there is working with pathogens, for example.
E.K.L.
 
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Re: Help me decide career path! non-lab based research exist??

Postby D.X. » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:21 am

Hi: there are many areas you can go to do research that does not involve wet-lab. One area is Epidemiology and Outcomes Research. Understanding patient disease burden and outcomes at a population level.

However, the trade-off is that you will need data analytic skills and math, particularly statistics. You will spend most of your time in front of a computer. The good part is the data can come fast and you can publish quickly and continuously.

There are vast data sets out-there that scientist use - on a clinical level they data-mine these sets to address a scientific question. Very much like doing an experiment. Some data sets include NHANES or DOPPS. Health-systems also collect patient data. Others include Observational data sets to include registries, medical records, and prescription data. Analysis of these data sets based on the questions asked can provide added scientific/medical knowledge at the patient (population) level. For example you can look for associations of diseaase and various risk factors in question, or assess factors that influence poor disease progression or limited disease progression or assess influencers of treatment interventions or at risk populations etc. etc. In fact these are very important studies and help bring understanding into clinical situations as well as hypothesizes for future investigation.

Won't go into details but there are opportunities, do some research. But no wet lab. No patient interaction. But impactful research that can drive policy and change HCP practice patterns that can improve patient outcomes! (geez, that sounded pharma like, I gotta get out of pharma).

Good luck!

DX
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