Tag: physician-scientist

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.


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?


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 …


Reflections on Applying to MD/PhD Programs

I recently sat in on a luncheon with a few other current MD/PhD students as we chatted with, and fielded questions from, half a dozen applicants to our program. This brought back a multitude of memories from my own admissions season five years ago. I’ve also had plenty of experiences in the past few years interacting with talented undergraduates who are considering applying to MD/PhD programs, so I’d like to share some reflections on my process, …


When the Brain Says, “I Need More…”

While walking around campus at the beginning of the new semester, it is hard not to notice the sudden appearance of signs instructing us to “Breathe Freely” because the campus is now “Smoke-Free.” The new law has challenged some students and faculty to forego smoking altogether, and has enticed discussion about the regulation of harmful addictive substances, often revealing the social baggage associated with addictive behavior. The duality of alcohol, for example, as both the …


To Study Harder, or Sleep Longer?

The long lines at coffee shops and large crowds in the library on a university campus often indicate that it is finals week. The disproportionate numbers of students carrying energy drinks and having zombie-like appearances are both dead giveaways as well. While we are stressfully cramming, consuming junk food (“study snacks”), and consequently depriving ourselves of sleep for just a few more hours of studying, how much are we gaining (or losing) from our shift …

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.