Home / Topics / Career Advancement / Career Paths / Basic Versus Clinical Focus

Basic Versus Clinical Focus

Posted on February 18, 2013

Susanne Ahmari (bio) describes how she combined her love of basic neuroscience with patient care.

 

And this was something that I have struggled with and actually feel like I have come to a good answer, at least for myself with, because my whole career trajectory, I did an MD-PhD. I did very basic neuroscience as a PhD student. I looked at synapse formation in the hippocampus with advanced microscopy techniques. I loved doing that. I love new tools and technologies to investigate the brain.

So that was great, but I always felt this pull toward what are the clinical applications for this and how can I actually use this to try to help somebody someday? So that's what pulled me back into the clinic. And then I did my psychiatry rotations and loved it. I absolutely loved it. Here's actually a place where we can intervene and do some good in real time as opposed to the long haul that we're going to see in the research.

So I decided to do residency. Then I was almost completing residency and trying to figure out what kind of research am I going to do, because I love basic neuroscience. I love treating patients. So maybe I need to do clinical research. Maybe that will be, I'll still be doing research, but it will be applicable to humans directly.

And so toward the end of my residency I started to explore that option by choosing a clinical mentor to go along with my basic science mentor, and they were actually already starting a collaboration.

So I thought, "OK. This is my chance. I am the bridge between the two of these people, and I'll see how that goes."

And what I learned over the process of this was that I actually am still more drawn to the basic neuroscience. That is my primary passion even though I actually still, I love treating patients. So the way I've managed that tension is to throw myself full force into the basic neuroscience lab, and I have that going.

And I have a private practice. And so I see patients a couple of nights a week. And then I still have the clinical research portion of that, but I'm stepping more into a little bit of a supervisory role. And so other people will be carrying out the studies, but then I can still help to direct them and use them in my mouse models.

Viewing Preferences

 

Downloads

 


Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2012 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA.

Feedback

Please note that the feedback is viewed only by 4researchers staff and is not intended for communication with individual contributors.

 

Use the form below to submit feedback about this article. If you would like a response, please be sure to include your e-mail address.


More About "Career Paths"

3:06

"I'll Give This a Shot"

1:43

"You Should Be a Psychiatrist"

Show All...

 

More From Susanne Ahmari (bio)

0:51

Assess Mentorships Sooner Rather Than Later

2:22

Bridging Animal Model and Human Subject Research

Show All...