“Suicide Before PhD Defense”
Feb27

“Suicide Before PhD Defense”

I just received two hits to my PhD defense post using this search phrase. To the reader: If you are in such dire straits of stress before your defense, please call 911 immediately or get yourself to your local emergency room. The specter of the dissertation defense can amplify self-doubt and if you are considering suicide, you and your family and friends would be better served by you postponing your defense and checking into a hospital for a couple of weeks. If I can be of any help, please Gmail me at abelpharmboy call me at 919.564.9564. But first call...

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Thoughts on the “Doctoral Glut Dilemma” Webinar

As I wrote last Thursday, ACS Webinars featured an hour-long discussion on the perceived overabundance of PhD-level chemists and potential solutions to employment challenges. The site should have the entire discussion archived within a week. I participated in the session and ended up posting my thoughts at the new Forbes.com home of my other blog, Take As Directed. I’m hoping to get comments from a wider group of readers over there who might have impact on hiring of chemistry PhDs. One of the major points that struck me was the view by Harvard economist, Dr. Richard Freeman, that the chemistry job market might bounce back more quickly than the biosciences. But he views this comeback to occur slowly over the next three to four years. Freeman attributes chemistry’s upper hand to two factors. First, US doctoral chemistry programs have had a fairly constant PhD supply rate over the last 40 years of approximately 2,000/year. In contrast, the biosciences have exploded from about 3,000 PhDs/year in the 1970s to 15,000 during 2010. Second, Freeman states that chemistry is far less dependent on federal research funding since 50% to 75% of chemistry PhDs ultimately go on to work in industry. As such, he expects the recovering economy to help chemists far more than those in the biological and biomedical sciences. I’d love to hear your feedback now or after the webinar is posted later this week. In the meantime, check out my thoughts over at Forbes.com. Addendum: I’ve since learned that chemistry bloggers Chemjobber and See Arr Oh have posted a podcast discussing this ACS webinar....

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Today: Solutions to the “Doctoral Glut Dilemma”

Don’t say ACS have their heads in the sand. A webinar this afternoon will face head-on the reality of training to be a doctoral-level chemist in today’s job market.  Is higher education producing more doctoral scientists than the market can absorb? With the attendance rates at graduate schools increasing, has the private sector’s growth been able to keep up and will there be enough options for tomorrow’s PhDs?   Join our two experts Richard Freeman and Paula Stephan as they share their viewpoints on the state of higher education, the economy and how industry and academia can better prepare current and future graduates. I’m not privy to any other advance information than what’s on the ACS Webinars™ website but others I’ve viewed have been top-quality. I obviously encourage viewing by current doctoral trainees in chemistry and postdocs. Giving yourself a competitive edge in this market is information anyone can use. But I particularly urge undergrads currently interviewing for chemistry doctoral programs to tune in. One of the four primary discussion topics will be assessing graduate programs for their ultimate employment record of their trainees. Take advantage of what your professional society is offering. Details: Doctoral Glut Dilemma: Are There Solutions? Date: Thursday November 8, 2012 (TODAY!) Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET Fee: Free...

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Lefkowitz Nobel: “There’s a lot of love here”

How many of you could say this about your laboratory group? In the hall outside the champagne reception for Bob Lefkowitz’s lab on Wednesday at Duke University Medical Center, I had a chance to catch up with Marti Delahunty, PhD. Delahunty is a research scientist in a connecting building but worked in the Lefkowitz group from 1998 until 2006. This brief chat brings to mind Carmen Drahl’s post about one’s laboratory being your second family.     PIs, trainees, technicians, and administrators: Tell me if you’d be able to say the same about the environment of your laboratory....

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Tucson clinical pharmacist does primary diabetes care

Those of you who do chemistry in colleges of pharmacy are used to discussions of how your graduates can truly use their Doctor of Pharmacy training. You’ve probably often wondered why your students spend so much time in clinical pharmacy when more than half of them end up in community pharmacy, a model that has largely kept its sweatshop-like workflow (the “counseling booth” at my local pharmacy has cobwebs for the simple reason that pharmacists cannot be reimbursed for cognitive services.) Well, I want to bring you a story of how pharmacists can contribute to primary care when in a regulatory environment that makes it possible. The Downtown Tucsonan tells the story of clinical pharmacist, Sandra Leal, a valedictorian graduate of the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy (Disclosure: Sandra was an American Cancer Society supported undergraduate in my laboratory while she was at the University of Arizona who we then recruited to Colorado for her PharmD.) As the first pharmacist in Arizona to earn limited drug prescribing authority, Sandra works in a team-based community practice environment. At El Rio Community Health Center, clinical pharmacists primarily manage long-term care of patients with diabetes while physicians can then work on the more involved acute cases. But the concept didn’t come from a shiny new college of pharmacy with dozens of clinical faculty members. This revolutionary idea of clinical pharmacists working directly with patients is run-of-the-mill medicine south of the border. Leal learned this while growing up in Nogales, Ariz. “My parents didn’t speak English,” Leal said. “We always went to Mexico for health care. You walked into the pharmacy and could get treatment. To me, that was primary care. The pharmacist was my doctor growing up. I never considered any other field. I made a decision in high school that I would be a pharmacist.” You can read more about Leal’s community practice model at the Downtown Tucsonan. You can also learn more about Sandra from a 2009 interview we did back at the old home of Terra Sigillata. The post was part of the Diversity in Science blog carnival during Hispanic Heritage...

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Al Malkinson the Scientist: Eulogy by Dr. Lori Dwyer-Nield
Aug16

Al Malkinson the Scientist: Eulogy by Dr. Lori Dwyer-Nield

In this second part of my remembrance of lung cancer biochemical pharmacologist, Colorado’s Dr. Al Malkinson, I’d like to share with readers some recollections by Lori Dwyer-Nield, PhD. I’ve known Lori since my appointment to Colorado’s faculty in 1992 when she had already been a postdoctoral fellow of Al’s. Dr. Dwyer-Nield continued on as research faculty at the CU School of Pharmacy and co-authored over 40 publications with Al. At Al’s memorial service last Saturday in Boulder, Lori was asked by Al’s wife, Lynn, to eulogize Al on behalf of all his scientific colleagues. Her thoughts were so warmly received that I wanted to share them more widely, especially with members of the scientific community who knew Al but were unable to attend the memorial. Moreover, I had reflected in my previous post how supportive Al was of his women trainees in balancing career and family. This eulogy provides a glimpse into this philosophy of Al’s directly from someone who lived it for over 20 years. My tremendous thanks go out to Lori for agreeing to share with us this text of her eulogy.   Al the Scientist by Lori Dwyer-Nield as presented 11 August 2012 at Community United Church, Boulder, CO It’s an honor to speak about Al the scientist.  Al was my mentor and friend for 21 years, and in that time I learned that ‘Al the scientist’ was a complex character.  The more I think about it, though, I realize that Al the scientist was the same person as Al the family man and Al the writer.  We called Al our lab Dad.  I remember when I first interviewed for a post-doc position in Al’s lab, he had me meet with his lab first, and then with him.  That was quintessential Al.  His approach to lab management was egalitarian.  We all had to approve new lab members before he would let them join.  He saw his lab personnel as colleagues and friends, not employees.    In his eyes, the high school student or dishwasher was just likely to come up with the next great idea as anyone else.  And if someone contributed to a study, they got their name on the paper. He cared about each individual.  It didn’t matter if you needed to talk to him about a personal problem or an irksome experiment.  He did his best to help.  He was happy when one of his lab personnel got married, but he loved the babies.  Many mentors discourage having a family, but Al knew that family was important.  He also felt that we needed to have interests outside the lab, and even told one young...

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