Many students want to help find a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, or play a roll in the treatment and prevention of malaria, tuberculosis, or scores of other illnesses. You do NOT need to be a practicing physician to do this. In fact, much biomedical research is conducted today by Ph.D. level researchers. Some do their research at universities, some at research centers, and others in teaching/research hospitals. There are so many opportunities, that we simply cannot list them all (but see a small list below)! This type of research may also be called Biomedical or Health Science research.
If this interests you, here are some things you can do:
- Find an undergraduate class in the sciences that really interests you and speak with your professor. Ask them about their research specialty, what kinds of things they do as part of that research, and where they got their Ph.D. See if there is an opportunity to take more advanced courses with them, or even work in their laboratory!
- Do research while you are an undergraduate. The only way to know if research is for you is to participate in a research project. Talk to your faculty about this.
- Consider going to graduate school in your area of interest. You could work toward a Ph.D. in Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Forensic Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Biophysics, Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy, Nutrition, Communicative Disorders, Clinical Psychology, or Neuroscience. THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST—THERE ARE MANY OTHER SPECIALTIES, BUT THESE & MORE ALL EXIST ON THE OXFORD CAMPUS!
- Some students are so interested in Medical Research that they get an M.D./Ph.D. Basically, this means that they go to medical school and do research for the Ph.D. There are great opportunities for students that want to invest the extra time in a program like this. While programs exist all over the nation—and the world—here is a link to the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS: http://www.umc.edu/graduateschool.