Medical Research. Is It the Profession for You?

Medical Research. Is It the Profession for You?


“I’m Jelena Erceg. I’m postdoctoral researcher
in the group of Ting Wu at Harvard Medical School so we are in Boston, Massachusetts.
This is the lab of Ting Wu. Here where the people sit. Currently, they are not there.
We also have a break room where we take our lunches. Now, it’s about lunch time so people
are eating. Here is where I sit. Currently, I’m working on trying to understand
regulational genes in three dimension. For many years, we were thinking of regulationing
two dimensions. Now, we realized and have techniques and approaches to look at it in
a better way how it all falls and looks in 3D.
I’m originally from Croatia. It’s a small but beautiful country in southern part of
Europe. In high school, I decided I’m very much interested in nature around me. There
were so many Christians popping up, makes those philosophical questions.
I wanted something which could give me answers to all these questions that started going
around in my head. Then, through all the classes we had in high school, I decided, maybe molecular
biology, genetics could be a way to approach these questions because it seemed like a sound
of scientific method which gives you some hypothesis. Then, you do some testings so
you can more firmly answer your ideas that you might have.
We can think of research, for example, in two layers. As the basic one which answers
to some fundamental questions. Also, as the one we can apply that knowledge to help humanity
if you want. They are interconnected with each other. To have the applied research,
you also need a lot of knowledge which comes from the fundamental, basic research. That’s
what I’m more interested in. I think many scientists are very curious and
also creative, inventive. Science is a very broad term in itself. You can be a biologist
or chemist a bioinformatician or a linguist which I was thinking. They all use a similar
method of thinking about rationally how to design experiments, setting up hypothesis,
answering and very critically, evaluating your results.
In Science, you never know what’s going to happen because the career of being a scientist
there is no … No one wrote a little protocol for you saying, “”Now, you go from A to B,
from B to C.”” Things are open. You see where things lead you.
Research is you’re doing most of the time. Maybe 80, 90% of the time, you’re doing things
and these things just fail. Then, maybe 15 or 10 or even less percent of the time, something
happens. This is like a ‘Eureka!’ feeling, “Oh. I discovered something and that something
is amazing.”, which makes up for all the time when things were not working. You have to
see where things will take you. Maybe, just around the corner is the big discovery waiting
for you.


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