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Career Options for Biomedical Scientists

Subject Area(s):  General Interest TitlesCareer DevelopmentHandbooks

Edited by Kaaren Janssen, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; Richard Sever, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

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© 2015 • 232 pp., illus. (13 B&W), index

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ISBN  978-1-936113-72-9
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  •     Description    
  •     Contents    
  •     Reviews    


Most people who do a PhD and postdoctoral work in the biomedical sciences do not end up as principal investigators in a research lab. Despite this, graduate courses and postdoctoral fellowships tend to focus almost exclusively on training for bench science rather than other career paths. This book plugs the gap by providing information about a wide variety of different careers that individuals with a PhD in the life sciences can pursue.

Covering everything from science writing and grant administration to patent law and management consultancy, the book includes firsthand accounts of what the jobs are like, the skills required, and advice on how to get a foot in the door. It will be a valuable resource for all life scientists considering their career options and laboratory heads who want to give career advice to their students and postdocs.


1 Introduction
Richard Sever and Kaaren Janssen
2 A Career at a Small Liberal Arts College
Jennifer Punt
3 Core Facility Management
Claire M. Brown
4 Academic Administration
Lydia Villa-Komaroff
5 Careers in Science and Grant Administration:
View from the National Institutes of Health
Marion Zatz and Sherry Dupere
6 At the Crossroads of Science and Society: Careers in Science Policy
Amy P. Patterson, Mary E. Groesch, Allan C. Shipp, and Christopher J. Viggiani
7 Working for a Scientific Society
Martin Frank
8 Leaving the Bench and Finding Your Foundation
John E. Spiro
9 Patent Law: At the Cutting Edge of Science but Not at the Bench
Salim Mamajiwalla
10 Biotech Start-Ups and Entrepreneurship
Susan Froshauer
11 A Career for Life Scientists in Management Consulting
Rodney W. Zemmel
12 Medical Communications: The “Write” Career Path for You?
Yfke Hager
13 Science Journalism and Writing
Helen Pearson
14 Science Publishing
John Inglis


review:  “This book should be required reading for all PhD students.”

review:  “The overview of jobs and tips provided... will help prepare graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and even mid-career scientists for careers beyond the bench. The book is an informative read and a great addition to laboratories and career-development offices”
      —The Physiologist

review:  “Career Options for Biomedical Scientists does a great job of a presenting a variety of opportunities available for PhD students and graduates. Where other resources can get bogged down in convincing the reader that it’s okay to leave academia, or abandon structure to jam in personal testimonials and anecdotes, this book succinctly sums up the need to consider “alternative” careers and provides a plethora of information in an easily digestible manner.”

review:  “It is also a wonderful companion for any scientist seeking a career beyond academic biomedical research.... Highly recommended.”

review:  “Having read the entire book, I have to say...If you’re a young, or even not so young, scientist looking for some insight into where a biomedical degree can lead, you’ll find a lot to interest you’s not always easy to find clearly laid out descriptions of what it’s really like to pursue a particular career and what the opportunities and pitfalls might be. That’s where this book can assist.”