Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't forget the National Labratories!

Right now, I am taking my career search three directions:

1) I'd like to get a job in industry, probably drug discovery or development. But that is hard to do without any previous work experience.
2) I'm looking at jobs in Public Health Labs, because it would give me work experience, and exposure to the world of public health- which might tickle my fancy if I knew more about it.
3) I'm looking for a post-doc/fellowship to facilitate doing one of the above.

Why the three-pronged approach? I have no idea which of these I am capable of succeed at, so I am testing them all in parallel, as we like to say. Today, I want to focus a little more on option 3- post-docing, namely, cool places to do yours.

As I've alluded to, I am really interested in virology and infectious diseases, so I was looking for places that might give me opportunities to develop the skills to break into track 1 or 2 at some point. People often suggest the NIH or NSF as great places to develop your scientific track record, which I always pictured this as WA DC, naively forgetting about the National Labs. Namely, Rocky Mountain Labs and Oak Ridge National Labs are both places with a strong history of success in bio research. Rocky Mountain Labs houses one of the few Biosafety Level 4 labs in the country, so if you want to work on pathogens as scary as Ebola- that's the place to be! And Oak Ridge has a long history of working on bio-things, that isn't the major area of focus there now, but look around their website. There are occasionally FDA postings there, too. Both of these locations are intramurally funded, like working at the NIH, but are in less urban environments (Montana or Tennessee). There may be other labs, but these are both places I've seen postings recently. To me, this seems ideal, you can take advantage of the re$ource$ available to intramural labs, without having to put up with the busy city that sprang up around the thousands of researchers in Bethesda.

That being said, I am still a big proponent of figuring out what you need to learn/accomplish during your post-doc before you find labs that are interesting. The post-doc is supposed to be a stepping stone to other career opportunities, right? But do you have other thoughts on interesting places to do a post-doc?

No comments:

Post a Comment