Tag: MD/PhD track

Amanda King (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Yale School of Medicine

A sleep-deprived, sanity-deficient MD/PhD student torn between the exciting promise of what lies ahead and the grueling reality of what it takes to get there.

Humility in Science: Because Science Always Wins

A little while ago I had the privilege of sitting around a table with several other physicians and researchers to discuss a potential collaboration involving my thesis project. About two hours into the meeting, I realized that I was the only person in this room without at least one doctoral degree. Yet these incredible scientists with decades of experience had been treating me — a second-year grad student — as an equal.


Too Much Exercise? A Closer Look At Modern Fitness Trends

Social media pages with titles like “Motivation For Fitness” and “Gym Looks” are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s hard not to notice the explosion of fitness popularity. But even as the diet industry dwindles and our newfound fascination with health hits its stride, it is important to consider the ramifications of these cultural changes. Has this new trend led to the rise of what has been called “excessive exercise” and how much exercise is too much? Here, we examine how the current rise in fitness culture may be affecting our bodies.


Food for Thought and Thought for Food: Aberrant Reward Signaling in Eating Disorders

With each new year, we are pressured to construct a “new self” guided by resolutions. We design a “new year, new me,” fueling the marketing of self-improvement products around December and January. The explosion of fitness equipment in stores during this time attests to the pervasiveness of an annual self-improvement routine in our culture. Importantly, this phenomenon of constructing resolutions to improve body image represents some of the elements of our potentially misaligned “beauty culture,” where popular culture could be involved in driving individuals to extreme measures to achieve weight loss.


Figuring Out What I Want to Be “When I Grow Up”

As a newly-minted third-year medical student, I’m now reaching the point where I finally have to decide what I want to be “when I grow up.” (I use that term very loosely since I’m in my late 20s, have spent 23 years of my life in school, and already have one doctorate degree). Which areas of medicine should I pursue? Do I want my future practice to be clinically-oriented, research-oriented, academically-oriented or all of the above?


Examining the Role of Psychosocial Factors Beyond the Brain

Anyone who has come face to face with a bear can attest to the fact that our bodies can respond physiologically to emotional stimuli in the environment. A racing heart rate, rapid breathing and pounding cardiac output are all physiological responses that may take place during such an encounter. But we do not necessarily need to run into a bear to dramatically affect our cardiovascular (CV) health.


How Belief Influences the Practice of Medicine

While dancing on the line between church and state, the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s decision to not fund contraceptives for its employees drew considerable media attention and controversy. Since the use of contraceptives opposes the religious beliefs of the company leaders, Hobby Lobby employees seeking access to contraceptives must pay for them out of pocket. To better understand the experience of faith that ultimately guided the Hobby Lobby company leaders and in order to “bridge the gap” between science and medicine on the topic of religion, it is important to explore the mechanisms by which widely used religious routines affect our brains.


The Research-to-Medicine Culture Shock

Now that I have finished my PhD and moved on to the rest of my medical training, the last few months have been an interesting change of pace. Since I took first-year medical school classes piecemeal while spending the majority of my time working on my doctoral research, being a full-time medical student now is a new experience (and a culture shock in some ways) for me! I’ve had to reevaluate the utility of my …


Ebola-Fueled Racism and the Brain

When a Guinean woman was riding the bus in Italy, she was verbally harassed by a young Italian girl who was also a passenger on the bus. The girl was screaming and accusing the Guinean woman of having the Ebola virus. Then, the young girl’s relatives proceeded to assault and beat the woman. Although the victim was taken to the hospital, she sustained injuries from the attack. Race alone, rather than symptom presentation or travel …


Run, Walk, or Diet? Insights into Exercise Science

During the respiration unit of my undergraduate anatomy class, one of my students asked about differences in lung volume, and the effects of “being a runner” versus someone who does not exercise as regularly. While it is widely accepted that regular exercise can improve inspiratory capacity, the diverse impact of exercise on hormone levels and neurogenesis is not discussed as frequently. Exercise science is currently being heavily researched, and an understanding of recent findings can …


Life after the Ph.D. (with the M.D. Still to Go)

As an MD/PhD student, I’ve always understood that the training process would be neither easy nor brief. After five years as a biochemistry graduate student, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation and earned a PhD in July. In August, I’ll be a full-time medical student, with three more years of medical school to go. As I’ve wrapped up the graduate school era of my life, I’ve thought a fair deal about what I’ll miss, what I won’t …


25×25 Global Perspectives: Heart Health and Tobacco Use

Public universities are increasingly becoming “smoke-free” campuses, and the city of Melbourne, Australia, has recently entertained the possibility of becoming a “smoke-free” city. Some countries, including New Zealand, have implemented policies towards an “endgame” goal, in which the entire country will eventually become “smoke-free” on the grounds of protecting the health and wellbeing of its people. There clearly exists a divergence between the policy making of some of the globe’s leading first world countries in …


Nutrition, Cognition, and Longevity

The world’s oldest person, a 116-year-old Japanese woman, Ms. Misao Okawa, recently shared with the media her secret to a long life: “Eat and sleep and you will live a long time.  This advice is certainly appealing to sushi lovers (Ms. Okawa’s favorite meal!) and those who desire the return of “naptime” in school and the workplace. While the benefits of sleep were discussed in detail in a previous article on Bridging the Gap, the …

Mariam Bonyadi Mariam Bonyadi (13 Posts)

Columnist and in-Training Staff Member

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Mariam graduated with a BS in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she conducted undergraduate research in B-cell development and lymphomagenesis as well as the neurobiology of stress. In high school, Mariam spent several years studying mechanisms of induced pluripotency in an embryonic stem cell research lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She now studies computational neuroscience and medicine as part of the Medical Scholars Program (MD/PhD) and the Neuroscience Program (NSP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of research and clinical experiences, Mariam has earned a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys yoga and San Diego beaches.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap focuses on the relationship between basic research and medicine, in order to develop an appreciation for the science that underlies the foundations of modern medicine.