Conducting a Basic Science LAB
A Basic Science LAB is an academic program that focuses on research in a particular subject. It often involves experiments involving cells and animal models to develop new treatments or cures. There are many opportunities for students to engage in basic science at any level. The most important factors for effective basic research are original thinking and a broad knowledge of laboratory techniques.
Many surgeon-scientists engage in bench research in a number of fields. Their work is translational, meaning they translate fundamental principles of biologic processes into direct application to patient care. They may participate in computational patient interfaces, or in the development of animal models of human disease.
In order to conduct an effective basic science LAB, a young surgeon-scientist must make an effort to engage with other researchers, both inside and outside of their academic department. This can be through formal mentorship or informal journal clubs. These extradepartmental collaborations are particularly useful for information sharing, novel thought generation, and access to shared resources.
Basic scientists are generally concerned with discovery. However, they also have a deep interest in understanding the scientific principles that govern natural phenomena. Consequently, their research is highly focused and well planned. Some of their studies have been featured in journals such as PLOS ONE, Neuron, and Natural Structure and Molecular Biology.
For students and young faculty who are interested in pursuing a career in a clinical or laboratory setting, the ability to effectively conduct basic research is essential. Most of the time, this requires early experience in a laboratory. By doing so, a student can often receive small individual grants that can be used to help support their initial research efforts.
While it is not easy to get published in an academic setting, an early and successful record of publications in basic science is vital to the future success of the researcher. Additionally, it is important to gain a thorough understanding of the skills required to conduct and supervise laboratory work. Fortunately, the Duke University School of Medicine offers a wide variety of professional development courses that will give you the training you need to successfully conduct basic research.
Researching in a clinical setting can be difficult because there are many questions that can be raised at the bedside. One of the biggest challenges for young surgeon-scientists is balancing their clinical and laboratory research efforts. Since most of their time is spent in a laboratory environment, they must rely on the support of colleagues in the basic sciences to help them manage these responsibilities.
The Basic Research Laboratory (BSL) at the National Cancer Institute plans to conduct research on the mechanisms of cancer. Researchers collaborate with other NIH institutes and other NCI programs to advance this research. Currently, the BSL is not hiring. But aspiring researchers can visit its website to learn more about its services.
Similarly, the Basic Energy Sciences program supports basic scientific research that focuses on understanding new chemical and biochemical processes. The BES program is one of the largest funders of research in physical sciences, and its facilities are open to scientists from across the nation.