Career Pathways for Biomedical Scientists in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Journey to Success
About this Booklet
The Institutional Challenge to Train and Maintain Biomedical Scientists
Links and Resources
Tara Sander
Avrum I Gotlieb

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Why Pursue Pathology As A Career In Biomedical Science?

Graduate students and postdocs experience numerous disciplines during their training and often do not formally choose a specialty. As a result, the biomedical scientist has the freedom to change fields, departments, academic environments, and to continue to develop expertise in areas of interest. For example, a biomedical scientist is not required to be in a Pathology department to investigate the pathogenesis of disease. However, Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine provide an important educational and research 2infrastructure to study mechanisms of disease. In these departments, trainees have opportunities to learn basic, translational and clinical investigations in laboratory medicine and pathology. As mentioned earlier, Pathology departments also have access to patient samples through tissue banks that can be beneficial for establishing translational research studies with clinical applications.

The discipline of pathology and/or laboratory medicine has distinct advantages in fashioning a successful PhD and postdoctoral training period and then a career as a biomedical scientist that embraces research centered on the pathogenesis of disease.

• The core values of the specialty of pathology are research and education.
• Pathology is at the interface of basic science, translational research, and clinical care.
Pathologists and laboratory physicians are the custodians of human biologic materials and thus have an understanding of how to use this material to generate new knowledge in the pathogenesis of disease.
• Clinical subspecialty training programs link clinical laboratory medicine to research training.
• Pathologists and laboratory physicians have the training to teach PhD trainees and postdoctoral students anatomical, biomedical and molecular analyses of animal model systems, an essential tool to study human disease.
• There are many interfaces between pathology/laboratory medicine and industry, especially in the pursuit of prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and understanding of disease. Links with biotechnology and pharmaceutical enterprises are common in pathology.
• The clinical practice of pathology and laboratory medicine requires numerous skills that are identical to those required in basic, translational, and clinical research. Thus biomedical scientists fit well into these departments.
• Pathology and laboratory medicine is a high-intensity, knowledge-based specialty that requires constant self-learning to provide high quality patient care, similar to the requirements of a PhD research investigator promoting productive interactions between scientist and clinician.