Restructuring the Biomedical Research Laboratory

May 3, 2011

The Office of Extramural Research at the NIH has launched a working group tasked with the examinationof the current and future state of the extramural research force.

  • What is the right size of the workforce?
  • What are the appropriate types of positions that should be supported to allow people to have successful careers and to continue to advance biomedical and behavioral sciences?
  • What is the best way to support these various positions?
  • What types of training should be provided?

That would be you, DearReader, at least those of you working in one way or another on scientific projects funded by the NIH.
Princeton University (sorry about that) President Shirley Tilghman is quoted in a Science Insider note from J. Kaiser as saying the following in an upcoming HHMI bulletin interview

“changes could be made to the structure of the typical biomedical research laboratory.” Specifically, she suggests reducing the number of trainees, who currently outnumber technicians 10 to 1, and increasing the number of “permanent employees…. We need to explore such options.”

I agree.

There is nothing particularly special about the Research Technician job that fundamentally distinguishes it from a lot of work that is done at present by undergraduates, graduate trainees and in many cases postdoctoral “trainees” and senior scientists.
Yes, yes, I know. Some Research Techs are not expected to do much in the way of thinking or at least not much in the way of long term, strategic thinking. And they are not, for the most part, writing papers. But some are. I have found all of my research technicians to be easily capable* of the work that one might expect of the average graduate student. Easily. So there is no reason whatsoever that a long-term technician cannot evolve in ways that one expects a graduate student to evolve over the course of five years or so. No reason that she cannot be given ownership over a project (and she in many labs is given this already) and be expected to take it all the way to manuscript drafting.
And let us face it. Some fraction of those academic trainees that make it to the postdoctoral stage and then cannot get an independent professorial level job would, and should, have made fine permanent Research Technicians. They did not go this route, of course, because for some reason the entry into doctoral training seemed more attractive at the start. Perhaps it was that they dreamed of being a lab head or professor. Perhaps it was that they wanted the degree. So it is not going to be easy, President Tilghman, to address the front-end pressure to enter graduate training. This is not to say it can’t be done, just that you need to address the desire as well as the opportunity for graduate training. Oh yes, because the first and most obvious way the NIH can affect this situation is to pull the rug out from under the vast amounts of $$ that they spend on supporting doctoral students.
From individual fellowships to institutional training grants to slots on research grants, the NIH pays a heck of a lot of people to get their doctorates. Turning off the tap would have a significant effect on the number of students in training- believe me, the Universities aren’t going to pony up training stipends. Their TA funds are already being used and it isn’t likely they are going to double the number of TAs per undergraduate class out of the goodness of their institutional hearts!
The trouble, however, is that Research Techs are expensive. They get higher salaries, in general, than graduate student stipends amount to even if you consider the same level of “experience”. Technicians have to have benefits and payroll taxes and the like, whereas the Universities enjoy a nice little exemption from that expense by calling certain sources of funding “fellowships”. Now, some sources of NIH support are charged tuition and/or fees for graduate students at some Universities. I suppose this is a matter for some close accounting on the part of the NIH working group. What are the extra fees and stipends versus how much would Research Technicians cost at the various Universities? It will not escape you that there will be some fine dancing around the fact that graduate students are renewable…they only last about 6 years on average. Research Techs, on the other hand, would be longer term employees–and their salaries would have to escalate with seniority to a greater extent. And they are surely harder to turn over- graduate students are actually intending to leave within 5-6 years of their start so all you have to do to reduce the population is stop enrolling new ones. Stop hiring technicians and it might be 10-20 years to get any significant reduction in the numbers, absent layoffs.
But I feel certain the working group would start with this cost analysis, wouldn’t they?
After all, they are going to have to figure out how much to add** to the research grants to fund the extra technicians that will be required as the “free” graduate students are no longer available to these projects.
*whether or not you or I structure the lab in a way that requires this of research technicians is beside the point…they are capable.


39 Responses to “Restructuring the Biomedical Research Laboratory”

  1. Now if only NSF would do this…


  2. whimple Says:

    Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman:
    “changes could be made to the structure of the typical biomedical research laboratory.” Specifically, she suggests reducing the number of trainees, who currently outnumber technicians 10 to 1, and increasing the number of “permanent employees…. We need to explore such options.”
    So, what’s stopping her? She’s president of the University, she can instruct sponsored projects to not submit grant applications where the number of students budgeted exceeds the number of permanent staff budgeted. I mean, if she really means it… *giggle*


  3. Eric Lund Says:

    @whimple: Two things. First, as DM points out in the post (and Mad Mike has also ranted on the subject), staff are more expensive than students. You would probably have to pay a technician somewhere in the $30-50k range depending on location (Princeton is a relatively high cost location), plus benefits and overhead, which more than double the total, so a technician could easily take up six figures in annual gross costs. A student, even if you are paying their tuition (at my university tuition is exempt from overhead), is significantly less expensive. That additional expense will put you at a disadvantage, since funding agencies do look at the bottom line on your proposals. Second, while I can’t speak for NIH, NSF has an explicit broader impacts criterion which all but requires trainee involvement in most proposals that they fund–it can be undergrads, grad students, or postdocs, but it has to be somebody. Most of the exceptions are for things like major equipment or career development grants, where you would typically not be hiring a trainee or permanent staff anyway.


  4. miko Says:

    There is a quantity here that is difficult to estimate, which is the enormous resources that graduate students waste by doing experiments slowly or incompetently. In principle, an experienced and capable professional researcher uses lab resources much more efficiently to produce the same data. Most PIs, I think, don’t know just how wasteful.
    I don’t think it’s comparable to the increased salary/benefits, but it makes a difference. Grad students are cheap labor, but they are also poor-quality labor, at least for the first couple years, and once they’re competent they leave.


  5. Why do these supposedly well-meaning dumshittes like Tilghman always refuse to engage in the labor-market analysis necessary to understand what is going on here, and instead always pretend as though all we need to do is somehow “decide” to change this dynamic?


  6. whimple Says:

    Because she’s neither well-meaning, nor a dumshitte. Tilghman knows exactly what side of the bread her university is buttered on and is blowing politically-correct hot air she knows won’t make even the tiniest bit of difference. If people think she’s a well-meaning dumshitte, that’s a PR mission accomplished.


  7. Lorax Says:

    I disagree that research technicians are more expensive than graduate students. At my major research institution, we are constantly trying to work around the caps. Once you factor in tuition and school fees, our graduate students cost as much as a first year post-doc. Looking at stipends only is absurd. In fact, several PIs have given up on graduate students because they teach, take classes, work on prelims, etc etc and cost as much if not more as early career scientists (who don’t teach, take classes, work on prelims, etc etc).


  8. Lorax, at my institution, we do no teaching, we are all on Research Assistantships. That means outside of class responsibilities, which I’m done with, my responsibilities are to be a labrat. Also when you look at the hours I put in compared to technicians (~40 hours per week for them, for me, not so much) in our lab, my boss is getting a very very good deal. And as far as pre-lims were concerned, I worked half-time in the lab for the four weeks it took to get it done.
    Oh my tuition and fees cost my boss around $8k extra, still putting me below the cost of a 1st year postdoc. Tuition and fees may be institution dependent, but we are still a fairly cheap source of semi-competent labor.
    And miko, I’ve seen plenty of technicians waste $$ on experiments they do slowly or sloppily so that a fairly poor generalization of grad students as well.


  9. Neuro-conservative Says:

    If we all agree on the goal, yet recognize the obvious obstacle — what to do? Just fall back on easy cynicism and snarkery?


  10. DrugMonkey Says:

    You know my older post taking a shot at Princeton has me thinking.. I bet Princeton has disproportionally smaller labs relative to the pool of all NIH funded Unis. And I would be interested in their tech:gradstudent:postdoc ratios.


  11. DrugMonkey Says:

    GR- why your defense of the hardworking grad student almost makes it sound as though the current system depends on exploiting the hopes and dreams of a class of people.!to extract more work for less pay by means of a promise of future benefits that, statistically, will not materialize…


  12. nameless Says:

    Given the job market for PhDs right now, it makes sense to scale back on the number of trainees. I am in favor of the model used at Janelia Farm – small groups of restricted size that have access to a large pool of funds. To translate to a university setting, Department heads would have to be responsible for bringing in funds to dole out to faculty who are the heads of labs. Grants would be fewer in number, but larger in size. For those who wish to become large groups with 20+ people or so, they should either subdivide or break off and become a private company.


  13. Joe Says:

    OK, but grad students are hungry and will work ridiculous hours and read lots of papers and can be brilliant. Even my best techs who own their projects and design their experiments and are terrific, do not produce the things that grad students do. If we are going to have more long-term people replacing grad students, then we need to make the long-term jobs more attractive the brilliant people.
    Also, the universities are completely ripping off the NIH in the way they funnel money from NIH grants into things completely unrelated, under the guise of using it for education of the grad students.


  14. arrzey Says:

    @nameless: You want to give department heads the authority to decide who gets funding and how much? Especially over junior people who don’t have tenure yet? I see a recipe for disaster.
    I also predict strong resistance from BigDogs with a taste for GlamourMag pubs. They will be explaining why their particular science can’t be done, except in labs of 40 people, and that techs just aren’t as good as trainees.


  15. nameless Says:

    arrzey – Yes, jr people are at a disadvantage. This is already true. However, this is why it is important to restrict lab size so there is an equal playing field across the board. I would expect that it is in the Dept chair’s interest (as well as in the rest of the Department) that EVERYONE does well and succeeds. I’d rather spend my time focused on research in a small group than most of my time writing grant applications.


  16. DrugMonkey Says:

    I think most people would rather spend their time on research than on writing grant applications. And a whole lot of people would make the trade you suggest- smaller group for this (fantasy of) effortless, sustained funding.
    You neglect to consider, however, the usual human factors of laziness and entropy. Fixed funding (for life?) would allow a lot of folks to putter unproductively, sucking up money that could otherwise have gone to another young hard charger. At least the competitive grant game forces everyone into some moderate level of productivity. Under your scenario, there would also be a lot of deck stacking against the young from a systematic standpoint because there would be no mechanism to get that money back from the slackers.
    and as arzey points out, trusting an autocratic Chair with this kind of responsibility is dangerous. Maybe you are in a nice and friendly place with an unbelievably even handed Chair. I’ve seen a lot of situations though, where the Chair cannot help but be unfair based on both her own laboratory interests and the interests of her closest collaborators within the Dept. It doesn’t even have to be conscious or malicious- it just sort of emerges.
    I guess this approach is okay if you see Departments as cohesive research super-groups. Many times those are semifeudal anyway. I don’t happen to like that model, personally. I prefer a greater degree of individal lab independence within departments and institutions.
    I think the current NIH competition, in addition, does afford protection of some scientists against the shifting winds at their local institution because NIH grant money, in the end, talks. Loudly.


  17. becca Says:

    If we boil it down to money, isn’t the simplest way for NIH to deal with this by setting a higher minimal salary for grad students? If you can’t afford them, you can’t have as many, and techs look much more appealing.
    Of course, in theory, you could also makes techs cheaper. If institutions can coordinate gap funding for in-between grants, and provide travel funds for permanent staff and not just students, or if they employ some techs specifically to help multiple people with some type of task (beyond what core facilities already do…Anyone think it might be cost-effective to have somebody familiar with the institution who specialized in getting new assistant profs off to the right start with supplying the lab and producing preliminary data? Given the significant $$ institutions spend on startups, I’m surprised there aren’t any staff for this). But to do it on that side depends on *institutions* all deciding to do it that way… which I see as more logistically challenging than an edict on high from NIH.


  18. nameless Says:

    DM (@16) – My suggestion was based on the Janelia farm model, which I assume has no room for slackers. Get rid of the slackers by getting rid of tenure. The Dept Chair can’t possibly favor slackers in this scenario if everyone and their progress has to be accounted for in a single department-wide grant application.


  19. MissouriMule Says:

    1: having spent 30+ years as a lab tech I am divided on this topic. I became a tech cause I never found my way to that PhD. Being a tech let me stay in the lab so I am all for lab tech support.
    I have also noticed that every now and then the new blood in the lab actually has a new idea. I wonder how much would be lost without the regular infusion of youthful energy into the research process.
    [confused comment about spammer comment removed- DM]


  20. neurowoman Says:

    I’m confused that this discussion is focused on (presumably BA/BA level) technicians. Tilghman doesn’t say there should be more technicians, she says there should be more ‘permanent’ employees, and fewer trainees, which I interpret to mean PhD level scientists who are not PIs, similar to Jennifer Rohn’s article in Nature so discussed (Nature 2011 v. 471). As in, we need fewer people in the PhD pipeline, and a real career ladder to keep those trainees (that the NIH has spent megabucks training) doing productive science.
    There’s no question that a post-postdoc PhD is far more productive than a grad student. And don’t tell me that “if they were any good they’d be PIs” because we all know that’s b.s. – there just aren’t enough academic jobs. Why are we churning through trainee after trainee if there are fully trained mature scientists ready to do the work? Money (they are more expensive, try fitting a permanent research scientist salary into your R01 budget), culture (bias against scientists who haven’t cracked the PI ceiling or don’t want to), and departmental/college expectations (professors are supposed to be training PhD students, you need to graduate some for tenure).
    Lab techs (BA level) are not more expensive than grad students – stipends here are equivalent to a newbie lab tech salary, plus you have to pay tuition and health bennies- total costs are within a couple grand. All those extra hours the grad students spend? Inefficiency. The one advantage of a grad student is that they are more intellectually engaged in the project (if you’re lucky that means more productivity, new ideas; sometimes it means they think they can do any damn thing they want for years on end). Highly experienced lab techs can become more expensive.
    Link to what Tilghman actually said in HHMI piece:


  21. Isis the Scientist Says:

    Tilghman doesn’t say there should be more technicians, she says there should be more ‘permanent’ employees, and fewer trainees, which I interpret to mean PhD level scientists who are not PIs.

    At my institution the minimum salary is $60,000 for a Ph-D level non-PI scientist position with ~ 10 years experience. Add our 41% fringe rate, and you add another $24,3000 per year. Then, consider a PI were to appoint herself for 20% effort. You could end up spending $100,000 per year for a technician and a 20% PI. That’s only the cost for two people and not realistic on a $250,000 per year modular budget.
    Tilghman’s remarks are cute, but not realistic.


  22. Moby Says:

    I went from a academic institution to a non-profit which does not have either post-docs or grad students. Believe me, its very difficult to run a lab only with technicians. They often do not work extra hours, don’t spend time reading and coming up with new ideas. And most of the time, they don’t critically think about their experiments. They do an experiment and send me the raw data by email, pack up and go home. Even with encouragement in the form of “tell me what you think the next steps should be”, there is still a lack of true motivation to really think about it. Often I get the response, of “I don’t know, what would you like for me to do next?” I know my techs care about the projects and certainly about the quality of the work, but in the end, they are there for a paycheck and health insurance. I end up doing 95% of all the critical thinking for myself AND 3 technicians and its exhausting. In my opinion, there is no substitute for a hungry grad student or post-doc in pushing the science forward, bringing in new ideas, and simply being a critical thinker who could keep me motivated to be a better scientist myself.


  23. SesliALeyram Says:

    post-doktora sonrası Doktora çok daha fazla bir grad öğrenci daha verimli olduğuna dair bir soru var. Ve hepsi bu bs biliyorum çünkü “Onlar herhangi bir iyi olsalardı Pis olurdu” olduğunu söyleme – yeterli akademik işleri yok. Neden stajyer aracılığıyla çalkalar stajyer sonra tam olgun bilim adamlarının işi yapmak için hazır orada eğitilmiş olur? Para ve (veya PI tavan kırık yok istemiyorum bilim adamları karşı önyargı), kültür (daha pahalı olmalarına, sizin R01 bütçeye uygun kalıcı bir araştırma bilim adamı maaş deneyin) bölüm / yüksekokul beklentileri (profesör gerekiyor eğitim olmak doktora öğrencileri, sen) görev bazıları için lisans gerekiyor.


  24. The sad reality is that on the whole over a typical 5 year period, graduate students are more dedicated, productive and cheaper to pay than most research technicians. Graduate students usually start with the same level of formal education as achieved by most research technicians. As a natural outcome of their training, graduate students have a deeper understanding of their research and require less instruction than technicians. These comments are not meant to diminish the importance and magnitude of contributions of technicians, but to point out that hiring more technicians and fewer graduate students will require increased expenditures to maintain the same level of scientific progress.
    With increasing enrollment in graduate schools and decreasing opportunities for research careers for post-doctoral fellows, it is worth questioning whether as a society we should be channeling limit resources in training so many people with poor job prospects. At the very least, those students contemplating a career in biomedical research need to enter with their eyes wide open.
    It has been nearly 30 years since I earned my Ph.D. degree. Even then, it was difficult to become a principal investigator, and most of my graduate student colleagues at that time ended up pursuing other directions. The main value of graduate training is the opportunity to further develop an ability to understand and tackle complex problems. Such experience is extremely useful for being prepared for a job market that will require a high degree of intelligence, adaptability and perseverance.


  25. DrugMonkey Says:

    I’m going to want to see a little more can-do attitude here people! the question here (and over at Isis’ new thread)is how we change our expectations and management so that the research tech puts more strategic thinking into their job. (yes, without 60 hrs when paid for 40 hrs style exploitation)


  26. Tom Says:

    “how we change our expectations and management so that the research tech puts more strategic thinking into their job.”- Motivate them. Don’t leave their name off papers, don’t leave them home for conferences, and overall, acknowledge their hard work!


  27. neurowoman Says:

    As someone who is managing a $250k modular R01 budget (and paying my own salary 100% soft money off it), I am fully cognizant of the budgetary limitations. It is a non-starter to pay somebody $100k off it & expect to run a full lab. [And start-up, what’s start-up? Nobody gave me any stinkin’ start-up,sister.]
    Here’s some can-do attitude: NIH can implement some positive change. NIH should shift funding for PhD production into funding for PhD ‘permanent’ scientist support. In fact, in the ARRA funding 2009-2010 some institutes provided supplemental Career Scientist funding – I know because I received one. There are supplemental funding mechanisms for all kinds of things: clinician-scientists, diversity support (minority, disability), family leave. Say you could get half-salary+fringe+overhead support for a post-postdoc PhD, and the other half off your R01? More attractive now? Doable?
    NIH paid zillions to train these scientists, and the up-or-out system is a huge waste of talent and tax money.


  28. darchole Says:

    Moby: What it really sounds like is that you want your techs to work 80 hours a week but only pay them for 40 hours. Working a shit-ton of hours every single day/week/month is not fair to anyone even grad students and post-docs (I will agree sometimes a researcher does need to put in some extra hours). Techs can be just as productive as anyone else in the lab, but motivation is different. You want them to read articles and come up with experiments – then make that part of the hours they are in the lab, not the hours you expect them to work.


  29. Isis the Scientist Says:

    Nobody gave me any stinkin’ start-up,sister

    Huh. That sucks.


  30. Moby Says:

    darchole: I do not expect my techs to work 80 hours/week, but here is what really happens. Say a trip into the lab on a saturday is necessary to maintain an experiment and the tech spends 4 hours at work on a saturday morning. The tech now expects to be comped for those 4 hours by leaving 4 hours early some day during the next week. I have no choice but to agree because my institution’s policies even if it means I have to come in myself to make sure the experiment continues. Travel? I do have my techs travel to conferences and present their work, but upon return, they want to be comped for their time they spent at the conference which almost exceeds the typical 8-hour workday and sometimes requires travel on Saturday’s/Sundays. Furthermore, reading papers as a form of “education” is not nearly as efficient as coursework, journal clubs, seminars, and simply the desire to excel at science. When you are stuck to the 40-hour work week, there is not enough hours in the day to set aside an employees lab-work for “reading and thinking” about lab work. As a consequence, the PI has to do the majority of the thinking. When I was a grad student, we were talking science with other grad students in the bars on Friday nights. Techs simply don’t have that kind of passion (and are arguably not so nerdy).
    Drug Monkey: I do believe more techs would help science progress, but maybe in a different light that others. To me a good tech makes a grad student/post-doc more productive. If you have a great technician that maintains your labs cell lines and reagents, makes common buffers, preps DNA and RNA the same way with excellent quality every time, spends the time it takes optimizing real-time PCR reactions and western blots, etc.. this allows the student/post-doc researcher to do better, higher-quality, and repeatable experiments more efficiently, which ultimately saves money. IMO


  31. I.P. Freeley Says:

    My translation of Moby:
    “I don’t expect them to work 80 hours and only be paid for 40–I’d be perfectly satisfied if they put in a mere 79 hours.”
    No wonder no one wants to be a biologist.


  32. whimple Says:

    NIH paid zillions to train these scientists, and the up-or-out system is a huge waste of talent and tax money.
    No, the NIH paid zillions for those “trainees” to do science and get papers. What happens to them afterwards is not the NIH’s concern.
    Moby (so cute!): Say a trip into the lab on a saturday is necessary to maintain an experiment and the tech spends 4 hours at work on a saturday morning. The tech now expects to be comped for those 4 hours by leaving 4 hours early some day during the next week. I have no choice but to agree because my institution’s policies even if it means I have to come in myself to make sure the experiment continues.
    Yes, you do have a choice. You can pay the tech time-and-a-half for requiring them to work overtime.


  33. antagonista Says:

    if our way of doing science is so precariously set up that it cannot survive abiding by foolish and arcane concepts like “labor laws” and “earning a halfway decent living at some point in a career trajectory” then we are entirely fucked either way this goes.
    i see a lot of excuses for our unwillingness to change (well, TODAY it works like X, i can’t POSSIBLY see how we could EVER keep this running if it worked like Y!). guess what! that’s the nature of change. shit becomes different. we adapt to change, and move the fuck on.
    outside of academia, there are no grad student minions. we rely on the occasional postdoc and a lot of technicians- most of the latter are recent post-bacc grads spending some time gaining lab experience while deciding what to do with their lives. ya know, good science still gets done. and our (non-NIH) funding situation doesn’t exactly find us hanging out drinking champagne in bathtubs full of cash right now either.
    now if you’ll excuse me, i have to run to work for a couple hours this lovely sunday afternoon. because we do that shit outside of academia too.


  34. Anonymous Says:

    Whimple: No, the NIH paid zillions for those “trainees” to do science and get papers. What happens to them afterwards is not the NIH’s concern.
    Whimple, I think the existence of this working group at NIH is evidence that it is NIH’s concern. I think Congress, who ultimately pays for this, should be concerned that the research they are paying for is not getting done with the efficiency it could. I submit that turning over experienced, trained personnel and replacing them with a continuous stream of fresh trainees to do the work, simply because the oldest ‘trainees’ are now supposedly too expensive to pay (without bothering to consider sunk training costs, efficiency and per-employee productivity) is spectacularly short-sighted.
    Suppose a company hires people fresh out of college at a low wage, trains them to do their job, but after 10 years fires 80% of them simply because the company doesn’t want to pay the salary of a 10-year experienced person, then turns around and hires a new bevy of college kids to do the same job, less efficiently. Maybe this makes good economic sense, maybe not (can’t know without considering the costs of training someone new, relative salaries and productivity), but is, in many cases against the law (age discrimination).


  35. Alex Says:

    Whether Whimple is right or wrong in his analysis, the existence of a committee or working group or task force or whatever is hardly evidence that an organization is actually concerned. Or, at least, it is hardly evidence that the organization is concerned in any way that translates into non-cosmetic structural changes or non-cosmetic resource allocations.
    Forming a committee to study the problem and then throwing some token amount of money at the problem is a very, very old game. If you want to argue that an organization is concerned with a problem in any meaningful way, you have to show concrete and significant action on a non-cosmetic scale.


  36. Alex Says:

    BTW, Anon@11:02, are you by any chance my department chair? He’s always quite impressed when a committee is formed to study the problem. The rest of us just giggle and coo because it’s so adorable.


  37. mikka Says:

    It seems like the debate is completely oriented towards maintaining the status quo for already existing investigators. So since there are fewer tax dollars for research -> fewer faculty positions -> we should close the tap of grad students/postdocs.
    This neglects the effect the fewer grad students/postdocs supply will have on starting faculty: wise trainees will flock to established labs/PIs because they offer a safer bet and, and a heavier recommendation letter. Young starting PIs will have to fend for themselves with technicians, which may be good or bad but I tend to see as on the whole as worse.
    Since I’ll soon be starting my own lab, I’m looking at the unadmitted intentions of the NIH to cull the numbers of funded PIs with increasing interest. Also, the retirement of our beloved crusty old professors, even the productive ones, would perhaps hurt productivity but improve sustainability. We have to prune this tree, but we should be careful not to chop it down at the base altogether.


  38. DrugMonkey Says:

    Interesting to run across this 2008 bit about Princeton’s tenure problem. 12 yr blank in Chemistry doesn’t sound good, Tilghman.


  39. alexa Says:

    Maybe this is why Tilghman is in the NIH committee to study and project Biomedical workforce. It is like presenting a patient in a medical students pathology course. How bad is the case, what is the mechanism driving the disease and how are we going to fix it.


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