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How Young Faculty Can Avoid Common Pitfalls in Academic Life

How Young Faculty Can Avoid Common Pitfalls in Academic Life

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How Young Faculty Can Avoid Common Pitfalls in Academic Life

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  1. How Young Faculty Can Avoid Common Pitfalls in Academic Life David Robertson, MD CRC Director March 16, 2007

  2. Limited Focus of this Presentation • Medical School • Clinical Department • Physician Investigators • Role of the physician • Role of the investigator

  3. Outline • Clinical Research • Patient Oriented Research • An Era of Great Changes • Physician first or Investigator first? • Cultivating Creativity • Recognizing the Eve of Enlightenment • Miscellaneous Advice

  4. Kinds of Clinical Researchand Level of Resolution KINDS RESOLUTION • Human gene function Cell • Human cell function Cell • Clinical pathophysiology Person • Clinical therapeutics Person • Clinical trials Person/Population • Outcomes Population • Epidemiology Population

  5. Patient-Oriented Research • Occurs when the patient and the scientist are both in the room at the same time and both are alive.

  6. Kinds of Clinical Research • Human gene function • Human cell function • Clinical pathophysiology • Clinical therapeutics • Clinical trials • Outcomes • Epidemiology Patient Oriented Research



  9. Clinical Research is not an easy roadway • Clinical research is impeded by escalating regulatory requirements to address the same oversight concerns. Elias Zerhouni

  10. Your careers will span an era of great change

  11. “The End of Science” …John Horgan • Most disciplines … physics, chemistry, mathematics … are mature • The best and most exciting scientific discoveries are behind us • Pure Science evolving to Applied Science • Discovery to Application • Biomedical Science has a generation of discovery before it becomes Engineering + Business John Horgan

  12. The Problem Bench Bedside Trench (Practice)

  13. The new multidisciplinary paradigm • The multidisciplinary paradigm could be interpreted as NIH’s way of introducing what Horgan called “the end of science”

  14. Your Career: Physician orInvestigator • Asking physicians to choose runs against the grain • Many never quite decide which is first in their life • Institutional leadership may foster this ambiguity • Some can be one sometimes and the other sometimes

  15. Be a great physician • Study your patients • Study the literature • Study OMIM + links

  16. Advice for Clinicians • Cathell DW. The physician himself. (Philadelphia: F. A. Davis) 1893 • Tumulty PA. The effective clinician. (New York: Saunders) 1973

  17. Study your patients(for medical students and residents) • 2000 patients during residency • Listen to your patients’ observations • Master each H&P finding • Rationalize each lab abnormality • Maintain access (as HIPPA permits) to all 2000 H&Ps and summaries: they are your magnum opus • Reexamine them each decade to see what you have learned

  18. Maintain a targeted practice • Focus on one lifetime clinical area • Choose that area with care • Limit your practice to that area * • Limit your practice to 10% effort * • Manage all aspects of their care • Look for heterogeneity • Think laterally about your patients * may be difficult to do in 2007

  19. Investigator or Physician • Physicians are usually very intelligent, decisive, and hard-working. • These traits make great physicians, but not necessarily great scientists. • Does medical school stifle creativity? • Very few Nobel Prizes go to physicians.

  20. Is discovery central to your life?

  21. The Search for Creativity • How can the physician-investigator cultivate creativity?

  22. Flannery O’Connor(1925-1964) Reporter: “Ms O’Connor, do you believe we are stifling the creativity of too many young writers in our literature graduate programs?” O’Connor: “Actually, I don’t think we stifling enough of them.”

  23. Wassily Kandinsky: Old Town II

  24. Practicing Clinical Research • Creativity and innovation • Be a clear thinker • Hypothesis-testing is the liturgy of POR • You must work very hard

  25. Cultivation of Creativity

  26. Cultivating Creativity: Education at Vanderbilt in 1999-2006 • 163 new clinical investigators (MPH or MSCI) are produced (Nancy Brown) • These investigators have 185 CRC protocols (37% of all CRC activity) • Projects: 1/3 by MPHs and 2/3 by MSCIs • Average age of CRC users declines by ~7 years after two decades of increase • With this greening of the CRC has come creativity, innovation and productivity

  27. Cultivating Creativity

  28. Lateral Thinking • Alternatives: Use concepts to breed new ideas • Focus: Sharpen or change your focus to improve your creative efforts • Challenge: Break free from the limits of accepted ways of operating • Random Entry: Use unconnected input to open new lines of thinking • Provocation: Move from a provocative statement to useful ideas • Harvesting: Select the best of early ideas and shape them into useable approaches • Treatment of Ideas: How to develop ideas and shape them to fit an organization or situation Edward de Bono

  29. Benefits of Lateral Thinking • Constructively challenge the status quo to enable new ideas to surface • Find and build on the concept behind an idea to create more ideas • Solve problems in ways that don’t initially come to mind • Use alternatives to liberate and harness your creative energy • Turn problems into opportunities • Select the best alternate ideas and implement them

  30. The Landscape on the Eve of Enlightenment

  31. Vanderbilt Biochemist and Teacher Stanley Cohen

  32. Medical Physiology Text So masterfully written, that the 95% of the undiscovered world was almost invisible Arthur C. Guyton

  33. Eve of Enlightenment • Aspirin and Prostaglandin • Aquaporin • Ulcer Disease

  34. Miscellaneous Advice • Learn to enjoy writing grant proposals • Select a mentor who is successful and who fights for proteges • Help your mentor succeed; you may get his/her job • Never do something wrong: in research there may be no second chance; in clinical research there is no second chance

  35. Develop Good Habits • Make your tasks educational • Be competent; know your methodology • Remember that a scientific career is a pleasure but also a business

  36. You have to take care of yourself

  37. Quality Supersedes Quantity

  38. You’ve got to be willing to fall flat on your face

  39. Expect noise in the system

  40. What is the secret of working successfully with a difficult chair? • Learn to use different words in describing your goals Dean John E. Chapman

  41. The Five Academic Deadly Sins • Failure of imagination • Superficiality • Lack of focus • Sloth • Majoring in the minors • Boundary Crossing

  42. Writing Grants • Try to make the project compelling • Leave no doubt you will succeed • Prepare a fault-free application • Take plenty of time to write • Seek and use feedback from anyone • Can you explain it to Aunt Tilley? • Can you explain it to a Congressman?

  43. Keeping on the Cutting Edge • 1. F1000, PubMed, OMIM • 2. Eskind Digital Browsing • 3. NEJM, JCI, et al. • 4. Nature, Science, Cell et al. • 5. The New York Times • 6. Maybe The National Enquirer

  44. At any given moment, have … • 6 projects in planning • 4 projects in process • 2 projects in press ….Victor A. McKusick, Advice to Housemen, 1964

  45. Career Advice • Boss JM, Eckert SH. Academic scientists at work: Navigating the biomedical research career (New York: Kluwer) 2003 ISBN 0-306-47493-X

  46. Career Advice • Barker K. At the helm: A laboratory navigator. (New York: Cold Spring Harbor) 2002

  47. Career Advice: The Far Side • C. J. Sindermann, Winning the Games Scientists Play (Cambridge: Perseus) 2nd edition. 2001 ISBN: 0-7382-0425-0

  48. Career Advice: The Far Side II • Voltaire Cousteau, How to Swim with Sharks, • Johns, RJ. Dinner address. How to swim with sharks: the advanced course. Trans Assoc Am Physicians. 1975; 88: 44-54.

  49. Vanderbilt Clinical Research Center