A Medical Scientist or widely known as pharmacologist helps develop new medical breakthroughs that benefit humanity and conducts research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. They run trial procedures on individuals or volunteer test groups to see how drugs interact with the patients. They are the ones who conduct research to develop methodologies, instrumentation, procedures for medical application, and analyze data and present the findings. They also evaluate the affect of drugs, gases, pesticides, and microorganisms at various levels. Sometimes they have to work with dangerous substances. In those cases medical scientists carefully follow all the necessary procedures but most of the time they work in settings like hospitals, clinics, and laboratories.
A Medical Scientist acquires an undergraduate education by attaining a bachelor’s degree in biology or in any medical health related major. After this, the end educational goal for medical scientist is Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Science. Students have two options, they can enroll in a university Ph.D. program in the biological sciences or they can enroll in a joint M.D. – Ph.D program at a medical college. Although some medical scientists choose to get a medical degree, such as the Doctor of Medicine, but do not get a state’s physician’s license and prefer to do research work in labs than treat people with illnesses. It is particularly helpful for medical scientists to earn both a Ph .D. and medical degree.
Duties and Responsibilities
The purpose of a medical scientist is to discover new methods of enhancing human health. Medical Scientists performs research on specimens, such as bacteria and viruses. Some try to identify the changes in cells or in chromosomes that signal the development of medical problems, and regularly perform reviews, clinical investigations and write technical reports during this research process. They plan and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for diseases. They also prepare and analyze organ, tissue, and cell samples to identify toxicity, bacteria or microorganisms. Medical Scientist also evaluates effect of new drug formulation, delivery methods of treatment on laboratory animals.
Medical Scientists that run a medical trial have to interview patients and go through medical histories. The medical scientist observes any change in their health and behavior, then report it. The end result of these procedures and research is to come up with new treatment, options, drugs, and vaccines. Some Medical Scientists conduct academic lectures and seminars on the principle of medicine and medical laboratory procedures to physicians, students, and technicians. They sometimes consult with and advise physicians, educators, researchers, and others regarding medical applications of physics, biology, and chemistry.
To become a medical scientist you must be a licensed physician. To be licensed you must graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a licensing examination, and complete 1 to 7 years of graduate medical education. Three to five years of experience in laboratory research in a university or hospital is also an advantage. Medical Scientists should be able to work independently or as part of a team and should possess strong communication skills so that they can provide instruction and advice to physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Medical Scientist Skills and Specifications
Medical Scientists must have an excellent foundation in statistical laboratory methodologies and must have an analytical skills to identify unique biochemical reaction to specific drug formulation. They must also know how to use equipment such as atomic absorption spectrometers, electron microscopes, flow cytometers, and chromatography systems.