Happy Monday ya'll! Boy does this mark a big Monday for me - I'm heading back to work! I'm so so thankful that I'm heading back to lab though and not onto a clinical clerkship in the hospital - in lab, although I still work full time, I can head in and out on my time, take breaks when I want, and even have my own room for pumping (my lab is the best)! And my PI and fellow lab mates are almost all moms too :)
I thought for this edition of Med School Monday I'd share a tiny bit about my research as many of you have questions about what kind of research I do/have done and what specialty I want to go into!
I'm currently working in the dermatology department at my hospital, and my lab is a translational lab - meaning we do basic science that has very real implications for human medicine. We're a T cell immunology lab, and although we have many different projects going on in the lab, the big picture is figuring out what role T cells (especially skin resident T cells) play in normal, healthy skin and in diseased states like various types of skin cancers. Much of my work focuses on really interesting cancers that are self-regressing - meaning by all definitions they look like cancers, but for some reason they go away on their own - why is this, and can we harness what we learn to treat skin cancers that actually act like cancer? Our samples are all from patients at the skin cancer clinic in the hospital or from face lifts and abdominoplasties (for "normal" skin) that we grow in culture or use to make humanized-mice. It's really cool stuff!!!
Why am I doing this research? Well part of me really likes dermatology - I'm a very visual person (um, can you tell by my blog and photos?) and I find it so powerful that sometimes the first indicators of systemic disease are found in the skin, that you can diagnose something just with your eyes (and a microscope of course), that you can make such profound changes for the individual suffering with something that the whole world can see. I haven't made up my mind yet, though, I also love radiology, for the same fact that it's visual, you have to continue using all the medicine you know, but at the cost of losing most patient contact. Rheumatology is also on the list (lots in common with dermatology, actually), and some other specialties still haven't been crossed off. We'll see what I end up deciding, but because dermatology is so competitive it's important to get research experience in and pump out some publications - so that's what I'm doing in case that's what I decide to pursue! Pumping out papers... and milk.