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How does one get involved in stem cell research?

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  • How does one get involved in stem cell research?

    So I'm almost two months post-injury, T5 Complete. Tomorrow I get out of rehab, and go home to live with my parents. I'm twenty five years old, and before my accident I made a living as a dancer and musician, and I climbed mountains as a hobby. I'm obviously going to have to make a massive change in lifestyle.

    In the fall I am going back to school, and eventually I want to get into stem cell research. What is the best undergraduate program to go through to end up in this field? I was thinking neurobiology. I live in Chicago, and I thought Northwestern would be a good school to go to for that. Any thoughts? Dr. Young, what would you advise?

    It could be a severe lack of patience, but I don't think I can continue to live my life waiting for a cure to come about. I need to get my hands dirty.

    Any advice, please.

    peace and gratitude...

    mike
    Last edited by captainwelch; 09-09-2008, 02:58 PM.

  • #2
    For what it's worth, my microbiologist sister was the first to suggest to me that the answer might lie with stem cells. Scott.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by captainwelch
      So I'm almost two months post-injury, T5 Complete. Tomorrow I get out of rehab, and go home to live with my parents. I'm twenty five years old, and before my accident I made a living as a dancer and musician, and I climbed mountains as a hobby. I'm obviously going to have to make a massive change in lifestyle.

      In the fall I am going back to school, and eventually I want to get into stem cell research. What is the best undergraduate program to go through to end up in this field? I was thinking neurobiology. I live in Chicago, and I thought Northwestern would be a good school to go to for that. Any thoughts? Dr. Young, what would you advise?

      It could be a severe lack of patience, but I don't think I can continue to live my life waiting for a cure to come about. I need to get my hands dirty.

      Any advice, please.

      peace and gratitude...

      mike

      You sound EXACTLY like me. I decided to go back to school right then and there sitting in my hospital bed. I received my Master's degree and I am now pursuing my PhD in Economics. Best decision I have made in a long time.

      Northwestern has quite a reputation. Good luck with your dream. As far as advice goes, start to visit school websites, and email people. Email the big guys in the field, Wise, Davies, Raisman. These resources will give you solid advice and set you on a path that will get you where you want to be in as little time as possible (I am hoping for a breakthrough soon, as well!).
      No one ever became unsuccessful by helping others out

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      • #4
        I've been debating this exact same thing. Other than linear algebra it doesn't seem too bad. Though honors chemistry might be a little tough...

        Molecular Biology/Biochemistry Program would be what you're looking for....

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by captainwelch
          So I'm almost two months post-injury, T5 Complete. Tomorrow I get out of rehab, and go home to live with my parents. I'm twenty five years old, and before my accident I made a living as a dancer and musician, and I climbed mountains as a hobby. I'm obviously going to have to make a massive change in lifestyle.

          In the fall I am going back to school, and eventually I want to get into stem cell research. What is the best undergraduate program to go through to end up in this field? I was thinking neurobiology. I live in Chicago, and I thought Northwestern would be a good school to go to for that. Any thoughts? Dr. Young, what would you advise?

          It could be a severe lack of patience, but I don't think I can continue to live my life waiting for a cure to come about. I need to get my hands dirty.

          Any advice, please.

          peace and gratitude...

          mike
          Graduate school is a good idea. There are a bunch of stem cell meetings and you can go check them out to see if you are not bored to death. Northwestern is indeed a great university and there are people there doing stem cell work and also have great interest in spinal cord injury. I am sure that they would welcome visits and a graduate student in a wheelchair, as we would here at Rutgers.

          Wise.

          Comment


          • #6
            hi captainwelch,

            i'd say political science but the unfortunatly we yet don't have a group that could hire u as a cure lobbyist.

            good luck
            http://justadollarplease.org/

            2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

            "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

            .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Wise Young
              Graduate school is a good idea. There are a bunch of stem cell meetings and you can go check them out to see if you are not bored to death. Northwestern is indeed a great university and there are people there doing stem cell work and also have great interest in spinal cord injury. I am sure that they would welcome visits and a graduate student in a wheelchair, as we would here at Rutgers.

              Wise.

              My undergraduate work was all in music. I need to start over with another undergraduate degree. Would neurobiology be the best choice for undergrad?

              Comment


              • #8
                Captainwelch, going back to school is a great idea. My experience in Graduate School has been the highlight of the past decade.

                Just wanted to mention that it is a long-haul commitment. A Phd can take anywhere from 4-5 to 10 years of your life. That is if you do it at the same rate of an able bodied person. If you need to take time off because of health issues (suppose a very bad time with UTI's or a pressure sore), then you start piling up the years on top of the above mentioned figure. It worries me that you want to start from scratch, and do a Bsc wich will take 4 additional years. Is that right?... Have you considered how long in total your time in school will be?

                While being a student has AMAZING psychological and intellectual advantages, not having a real salary and living as a poor student starts to get very tiring after you hit your 30's+, specially if you want or have a family by then..

                Just a thought from someone who is about to finish a PhD.

                PS: I just re-read you post and realized you dont specify what type of program you would like to apply to. A Msc will be 2 years plus the 4 years of the undergraduate, that is again if you can do it without any health issue slowing you down.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi, Mike

                  Just wanted to say I like your attitude ~ also in a couple of weeks Madison WI is hosting the World Stem Cell Summit, and I'll be doing a live blog as it unfolds. Most of the major players in this area of research will be there, so it should be good.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    He's not asking how long it will take to graduate, but rather, what program would he need to focus on to be able to work in a lab on stem cells.

                    see my post for which program to look into.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by captainwelch
                      My undergraduate work was all in music. I need to start over with another undergraduate degree. Would neurobiology be the best choice for undergrad?
                      Was your undergraduate work really "all" in music? You took no science courses at all? If you are serious about pursuing a scientific career in stem cell research, you will need to know mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, psychology, cell biology, and molecular biology. This will take at least 3 years of undergraduate courses. If you have already taken basic calculus, physics, chemistry, and biology courses already, it should take only two years. You can probably skip a course or two, you will find that your ignorance will hurt you in the long run. On the other hand, you should also know that you have to settle in for a lifetime of crash courses. This is what I find myself doing because science is moving much faster than what the courses can teach.

                      Undergraduate students start working in my laboratory in their freshman and sometimes sophomore years. Many of them start doing research alongside their courses. By the time they finish, they are better than most graduate students. Most of them decide to major in cell biology and neuroscience (my department) but some major in biomedical engineering. A few students double-major in science journalism, English, or other subjects. Most graduate to MD, PhD's, or MD-PhD programs. I hope that they remember their excitement in the lab to do serious research and to lead their field.

                      Wise.
                      Last edited by Wise Young; 09-10-2008, 09:06 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wise Young
                        Was your undergraduate work really "all" in music? You took no science courses at all? If you are serious about pursuing a scientific career in stem cell research, you will need to know mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, psychology, cell biology, and molecular biology. This will take at least 3 years of undergraduate courses. If you have already taken basic calculus, physics, chemistry, and biology courses already, it should take only two years. You can probably skip a course or two, you will find that your ignorance will hurt you in the long run. On the other hand, you should also know that you have to settle in for a lifetime of crash courses. This is what I find myself doing because science is moving much faster than what the courses can teach.

                        Undergraduate students start working in my laboratory in their freshman and sometimes sophomore years. Many of them start doing research alongside their courses. By the time they finish, they are better than most graduate students. Most of them decide to major in cell biology and neuroscience (my department) but some major in biomedical engineering. A few students double-major in science journalism, English, or other subjects. Most graduate to MD, PhD's, or MD-PhD programs. I hope that they remember their excitement in the lab to do serious research and to lead their field.

                        Wise.
                        Dr,

                        Sadly, almost all of my undergrad work was in music with scattered courses in history, art, and composition with no science classes since high school. However, I have done extensive work in mathematics. I'm even a bit of a mathematics freak. I love numbers. I'm not looking at starting classes until the fall, and I've already been trying to catch up so I won't be completely mind boggled when I do start.
                        I have all the time in the world. My parents were kind enough to modify their home so I can move back and live for free. I'm close to several great schools. I pick up things very fast, and I'm very motivated... I have alot of things on my side. I just need to do this.
                        I am still unsure of which undergraduate program to pursue.... is neurobiology the way to go?

                        --mike

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by captainwelch
                          Dr,

                          Sadly, almost all of my undergrad work was in music with scattered courses in history, art, and composition with no science classes since high school. However, I have done extensive work in mathematics. I'm even a bit of a mathematics freak. I love numbers. I'm not looking at starting classes until the fall, and I've already been trying to catch up so I won't be completely mind boggled when I do start.
                          I have all the time in the world. My parents were kind enough to modify their home so I can move back and live for free. I'm close to several great schools. I pick up things very fast, and I'm very motivated... I have alot of things on my side. I just need to do this.
                          I am still unsure of which undergraduate program to pursue.... is neurobiology the way to go?

                          --mike
                          You should contact Dr. John A. Kessler at Northwestern. I recommend him highly. His daughter is spinal-injured.
                          http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu.../kesslerj.html

                          Wise.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wise Young
                            You should contact Dr. John A. Kessler at Northwestern. I recommend him highly. His daughter is spinal-injured.
                            http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu.../kesslerj.html

                            Wise.
                            regarding Dr. Kessler, you must see this documentary http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/stemcell/

                            This documentary follows the life and work of Dr. Kessler. I trust you will find it both inspirational and motivational. You should be able to find this documentary via any good torrent site. good luck
                            ______
                            Awe at my magnificent coq!

                            "You may say I'm a dreamer
                            but I'm not" - J. Lennon

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