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shadiae

Molecular epidemiology?

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As most of us are aware the application season is well underway for fall 2020 graduate programs. I'm having a lot of difficulty deciding the type of program I want to apply to. 

I currently work as a lab tech for a major research institution in the united states. I am starting my second year here and this is the only research experience I have with one publication under my belt. I work in an immunology lab and we do a lot of cell/molecular based research. I enjoy my work here a lot but I often feel as if I'm missing the bigger picture. As such I've started to think about a research career in Epidemiology. However I do still hold a strong interest in how our biological factors (genetics etc) combined with environmental factors (nutrition etc.) contribute to health disparities and health outcomes.

So instead of applying to immunology Phd programs (which I've already begun to do), I've been thinking of getting a PhD in Epidemiology hopefully there are programs that include some aspect of molecular biology in their epi programs (I've found one thus far) 

The other thing is I need a MPH or MsPH in order to be accepted into most Phd Programs for epidemiology. I'd like to keep my focus quantitative and research based. 

I hesitate to apply for masters because I have no experience in public health and do not want to waste time or money if public health field is not what i thought. I need to make a decision quickly so I can get applications in asap. 

Any insight you can provide is greatly appreciated. 

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The program at University of Michigan has several professors in Molecular Epidemiology with extensive labs. It's even a concentration for their MPH. At UM SPH, students usually get their MPH first, and then do a 3 year PhD right after.

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On 10/4/2019 at 1:19 PM, jmillar said:

The program at University of Michigan has several professors in Molecular Epidemiology with extensive labs. It's even a concentration for their MPH. At UM SPH, students usually get their MPH first, and then do a 3 year PhD right after.

Thank you for the reply, I'm adding UM to my list.

Can you speak on the differences between MPH and MSPH. I was told the MSPH is usually a dead end degree ( highest level of education one gets). Because I would like to stay in research I was thinking it would be the best option.  

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, shadiae said:

Thank you for the reply, I'm adding UM to my list.

Can you speak on the differences between MPH and MSPH. I was told the MSPH is usually a dead end degree ( highest level of education one gets). Because I would like to stay in research I was thinking it would be the best option.  

I originally looked into an MSPH degree thinking that would be a better fit as MSPH is in general more research focused. However, for the Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology track at UMich, the MPH ends up encompassing this. The track is very different from the rest of the EPID department and we have our own set of research and seminar classes just for our cohort. We take general lab classes and join a lab for our "thesis" project. There is help to find a lab that fits well for you, and doesn't need to be in the EPID department. My project is with someone in Microbiology & Immunology at the medical school, but collaborates with people in EPID. You also write a paper and a presentation, with lower stakes than a full on thesis defense. All the other EPID tracks do internships and posters.

UM had been on my radar for a decade as I was impressed by their molecular epidemiology program, with researchers having large labs and resources. And many of the labs collaborate with other schools, such as the medical school.

You are welcome to message me if you would like more specifics of the program, professors, or experience.

Edited by jmillar

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