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I am a 2nd year graduate student in a masters biology program. My field of research is cardiovascular disease. Specifically, I research the genetic expression and protein secretion profiles of unique adipose tissue depots in patients with coronary artery disease. I do not have any publications at this point in my career. Although, I have been fortunate enough to obtain ~$13,000 in competitive grant funding and fellowships. I am currently working on a mini-review and hope for my thesis research to be published, once completed. 

Due to a setback in my research, I will be staying in this program for 1 additional year; graduate May 2020. I have already completed all of the required coursework for the degree, just need to finish the thesis research. Although, due to the requirements for some of the grants that I have I must maintain full-time graduate status (9 units). This semester I have enrolled in 2 MBA courses (economics and operations management). I figured because I know nothing about business, and am in a STEM field, these courses would be interesting and prove worthwhile...I am loving it! I am able to use my analytical skills in a whole new way. 

This has put me in an interesting position between going for the PhD or the MBA. I am seriously considering applying to the MBA program at my university, fall 2019 start, as I am interested in research funding and development. It is a 2 year program. I recently turned 25, I would finish with both masters programs by age 27. If I go for the PhD it would be in biomedical sciences, or something closely related. Preferably studying coronary artery disease and working with humans as the model organism. 

I am seeking advice. I know 27 is not THAT old and I can definitely still continue on and complete a PhD. I would like to work more so in a management or consultant role rather than as an active scientist. 

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You can go for clinical research.

Clinical research is a branch of medical science. It includes studying and understanding diseases and health in humans, for which research is conducted to discover the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of an illness. Experiments are designed to find the cure for a disease where new methods are developed, or old methods are reused differently. Treatments are compared, people with a particular illness are identified, and remedies for rare diseases are worked on byclinical research organizations. Clinical research can be observational in nature, where the patient is observed and monitored with no treatment being given for research purposes. Blood samples are taken for testing and symptoms are noted while the progression of the disease is observed. A clinical trial is a kind of clinical research where the effectiveness and safety of various medical devices, therapies, medications, etc. are tested on humans. These experiments are extensively performed in laboratories before they can be applied for human testing so as to avoid fatal side effects.

The importance of clinical research is as follows:

  • A disease can be studied and its development and progression over time can lead to scientists finding its causes and/or its prevention

  • It gives the scientists a perspective about which types of therapies would work for the human system and which would not

  • Side effects of a medicine or drug can be known, and its lethality can be compared to the benefits before making the treatment open to other patients who need it

  • It provides an alternative remedy in the case of failure of standard therapy

  • The drug or medical device can be tested on a broader range of participants, which could give scientists an insight about whether the treatment is sensitive to certain groups of people or not

The success of clinical research also depends on participation by healthy volunteers and patients. The provider of the study also needs to find people who are willing to undergo clinical trials and be subjected to various phases of the treatments.

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