Thursday, May 9, 2013

Intro and Anonymity

Hello. This, my first foray into blogging, will include (in part) a behind-the-scenes glimpse of academic biomedical research that--I hope--will be of interest to you, dear reader, the taxpayer who pays for (almost) all this work. It may also be of interest to students pondering whether to spend most of their 20s in MSTP*/MD-PhD training and then, most likely, some of their early 30s in the requisite postdoctoral training. I also have a dirty little secret that I will divulge sometime in the future. Nothing illegal or unethical or related (directly) to science, but something that I don't talk about in polite academic company.

My decision to use a pseudonym was arrived at after a bit of deliberation. An important aspect of being an academic biomedical scientist is that your colleagues, most often acting in an anonymous capacity, have an incredible amount of influence over your career.  The fates of your grant applications, the manuscripts you have submitted for publication and your applications for promotion, are, in general in the hands of  individuals who are in no way invested in your career and who basically have free rein to indulge their whims and be swayed by their moods. Though my fellow scientists are almost always at pains to fair, they are, alas, human, each and every one of them, and subject to the same failings and imperfections of thought as are we all. In short, I don't want to have to worry about ticking off someone who will later sit in judgement over one of my manuscripts or grant applications. So I'll remain anonymous.

*MSTP, Medical Scientist Training Program: an NIH-funded program created to train physician-scientists at research-oriented medical schools around the country. Graduates earn both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.

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