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Oct. 3rd, 2008 @ 10:04 am Advice needed
Current Location: my new house in Wigan
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
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Hi guys

I know this has been dead for a while but I was wondering if anyone was still hanging around. I'm after some career advice.

After taking a couple of years to get myself sorted after my BSc in Zoology I'm looking to do a masters. I had thought I had decided on Biology and Control of Parasite and Disease Vectors in Liverpool. I applied for this year but my application went in too late. The professor there has said I have a good chance if I apply early this year.

But after brain storming with a friend and trying to get to the root of what I want to be doing I'm starting to see that the aspect of parasitology that really grips me (well it all grips me but this more than others) is the interaction between parasites and the immune system, in particular the positive effects they can have on the immune system and the possibility of them easing some of the newer 'discomforts' we have. I.e the research being done on Hookworms and hayfever in Birmingham I think, and I think I read about there being a positive side to some intestinal worms in patients with Colitis.

Sooooooo would a parasitology masters help me go this way, or do I need to look more at Immunology? My Immunology grade wasn't great when I did a module for my BSc. Part of me thinks that if I do the Parasitology masters it maybe a lot of what I already know (my Professor during my BSc indicated that as well), but that will mean I will be able to get a good grade in it easily. Or do I take the risk with a subject I am a little more unsteady on and hope it gets me to where I really wanna be?

Answers on a postcard :-)

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Date:October 3rd, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
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I think if your grade in immunology was horrible (as in really, really, really bad) I'd re-take it. Otherwise I think the best thing is to talk to an adviser at school to see what they suggest and they may have better advice than just plain old LJ-ers. Otherwise, re-taking the class might also raise your g.p.a. in immunology and bring up your g.p.a. in general and you'll be able to understand it better than the first time around.

Good luck! :D
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Date:October 5th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
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Unfortunatly I've been out of university for over a year now so now advisers and you can't retake your BSc modules as far as I know. I passes Immunology but I think it was 3rd or something which is pretty poor.

I'm currently re-reading my Immunology text books to see what kind of a handle I have on it. It's all the basic stuff so far.

Thanks for the advice

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Date:October 5th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
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I think that the answer will really depend on what you think you would like to do after getting your MSc.

I work in the (only) diagnostic parasitology lab at LSHTM and our lab runs all the practical teaching on the MSc's in Med Para, BCDV (plus other diplomas/short courses, etc.)... so I reckon I know more about this subject than most plain old LJ-ers. ;)

At the moment we have a past MSc student (MSc Med Para) doing some unpaid work experience for the clinical scientist connected to our lab. He wanted to do a PhD in Australia but got told that he had to get lab experience first. Sadly, once he got this arranged they told him he had to produce a first-author paper too! It depends what kind of thing you want to do for a living, but non-research jobs in parasitology are reasonably few and far between. I would estimate that less than half of our graduates get jobs related to their MSc. Some students see the MSc as a way of choosing (and getting to know/get known by) a potential PhD supervisor. and this does work out for a few people. But it is not that common.

I would have loved to do a masters in parasitology myself, but there aren't any (non-DL) courses you can do PT anymore. So, I'm doing a med micro masters instead and I get tired of pretending to be excited by bacteria and viruses! But microbiology is a pretty 'saleable' subject and I felt this MSc would put me in better stead employability-wise. Like you, I am fascinated by parasite immunology, especially the aspects of helminth-associated immune modulations. I've gotten top grades in all the BSc and MSc imm modules I've taken, purely because I am obsessively into the topic!

There is an academic at work who self treats his intestinal condition with Trichuris suis. I think that's pretty cool. ;) I think I will probably look into doing a PT PhD in this kind of area after I finish my MSc.

I'm happy to discuss this further by e-mail if you wish to. Good luck with choosing!
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Date:October 6th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
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sending you a message now, thanks for the reply