I’m in a difficult situation, although I understand that I’m very lucky to be in this position.

I’m a final year UK chemical engineering student expecting a mid-high first class B.Eng degree from a fairly decent Russel Group university.

I’m looking for graduate studies and I have managed to secure 2 places:

The first is a fully funded 4 year PhD as part of a CDT in synthetic biology. My first year would be spent at Oxford and my final 3 years would be spent at Bristol University, which I will graduate from after that.

My second offer is for an MPhil in a similar subject at Cambridge University which they have offered to fully fund also.

I’m very unsure as to what to take. I cannot defer my PhD offer. On the one hand, Cambridge is a very good university but my fear is that if I do the masters there, I may have thrown away my only chance at a PhD, and that I won’t be able to get one after that – And ideally I’d like to do a PhD at a top tier institution such as Oxford or Cambridge. On the other hand, the PhD at Bristol as a CDT, so I won’t be choosing my supervisor until my second year after I finish my first year at Oxford, and I’m locking myself into a particular discipline, and to a specific list of potential supervisors for 4 years directly after my bachelors.

Again I’m well aware that I’m extremely lucky to be in this position, but any advice on what path might be the best one would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: The specific PhD that I applied is entirely taught for its first year, which is why I am not worried about the jump from the bachelors straight to PhD.

I’m going to get a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence, likely a PhD in Molecular Biology afterwards. I’m thinking I can do computer vision as a hobby while putting most of my energy toward understanding the big picture of cellular processes, because computer vision is something I can performance check. That’s why I’m leaning towards Molecular Biology over AI even though I’ll have years of research experience in AI.

The problem is that I want to know too much. I want to study Cell Signaling/regulation, Genomics, Molecular Biology/Biochemistry/Structural Biology, and disease during my PhD to do some interdisciplinary research in all of it. I want to develop computational data mining models that can take entire cellular systems into account.

Is it unheard of to fully specialize in two subfields during a PhD and associate my research topic to cancer later on in my PhD over 5-7 years? Or must I, for example, study a single new enzyme in an important pathway across various environments only in biochemistry?

Can you have a more general PhD that is still a successful contribution to the field? Say an analysis that studies an entire biochemical pathway from genetics through molecular biology to cancer if I have two committee members (one in each subfield)?

I’m going to apply to a undergraduate program in the University of Debrecen in Hungary but I’m having trouble choosing between the BSc in Biochemical Engineering and the BSc in Biology.

I have interest in research, specifically research in anti-aging and senescence related problems, so afterward I’d like to graduate in MSc in Molecular Biology or other closely related program.

In the page of the programs linked above, there’s the bulletin of the programs, if someone would like to peruse what are the courses (subject programs) that compose each program.

At the moment I’m leaning more to the BiochemE, because I could fall back to work in the industry if couldn’t find work as researcher and whatever deficiency I had in biology courses I could make up with a Master in Molecular Biology, but I’m still not very sure if that’s the best path for me to take.

Well, it’s not related to my problem above but, for full disclosure, I already have a degree of BSc in Accounting, that I did in my home country because of extraneous reasons (not because I wanted to).

So, in a bit more than 1 year, I will have my PhD. I have been doing well, I will probably with 4 papers published by the end of it. However, I have been feeling a bit empty. I feel like I started doing research because I thought I could make some difference but I’m feeling less and less that isn’t going to happen.

So, I don’t know what to do. Obviously, I could do a pos-doc, but I’m a bit afraid of the feeling staying there. I was considering other career options, but I don’t really know what to do. One thing that I like is computers and I wouldn’t mind working for cybersecurity, particularly associated with cybercrime. The problem is that I have limited knowledge. I do know that some people start working for software companies with PhDs in unrelated fields, like physics. Is it the same possible with a PhD in theoretical biology? I deal with maths and programming a lot, but can I expect that people will want me for that kind of position and offering me some basic training?

In general, are there any other career options for theoretical biologists besides academia?

I enjoy creating algorithms in computer science. Almost all problems I faced I could solve to my satisfaction.

I read that drug development heavily relies on algorithms. I wanted to get to know this field and think about how I could develop drugs with significant benefits that could “cure” specific diseases like viral infections or rare cancers.

So far I talked to virus researchers in university and all of them were condescending and stuck up. I could go into detail but to sum it up, they were not helpful and insisted that I had to study their field from the start up to the PhD.

I really enjoy the “teachings” of Tim Ferriss, who likes to find shortcuts.

I wonder what the least amount of knowledge and certificates is to do unpaid research in the field of drug development against “harmless” viruses like the flu.

What would drug development look like if it was easy?

Is it allowed for people to obtain multiple PhDs at different stages of their career? I am thinking of Phys and Bio.
Then regardless of that, is it allowed to teach in different departments at one or multiple institutions. (But I would want a tenured-position somewhere.) By teaching, I also wish to include doing relevant research in the two different fields. (for me, maybe physics and biology. Beware: Not biophys.)


I am currently a (USA) Master’s student studying biochemistry. I intend to get a PhD after my Master’s but I am doing a Master’s first because my husband is going to finish his PhD and want to move to another city before I would be able to finish a PhD at my current university (this was planned from the beginning, I applied to the Master’s program, not the PhD program).

Normally, people in my program graduate in 1.5-2 years. I could graduate in that time frame and find a tech job in the area or I could continue my research in my program until my husband finishes (~3.5 years from the time I started). Given where we live, I think the job I could find would be a job that will help me develop additional lab skills, but probably not result in publications.

My advisor is happy for me to stick around and it would be convenient for me to do so, but I’m concerned that it will look on a resume/PhD application like I was either lazy so it took so long or just bailed from a PhD and dropped to a Master’s.
I understand that if I had a fantastic publication record it might make up for the long Master’s program, but I expect my publication record to be average.

In summary, does it look bad on PhD applications to extend the length of my Master’s program instead of getting a job as a technician for 2 years?

At the moment I’m a biology student, going to finish my bachelor degree in May, 2018. I very much like to apply for master’s in biomedical science and, in particular, immunology in the US or Canada.

To be able to present myself as well as I can, it may be helpful to find out what typical accomplishment/skill/attribute/special knowledge/expertise/experiences are expected and what the evaluation criteria are. Just to clarify I’m not looking for an immediate, effortless solution to get me into one of the top universities in those countries. All I’m looking for is a way to permit myself an easier check of my ability when I’m applying after graduation so more details can be included in my letters or CV. If possible please include a reference to a CV.

In my old field (a subdiscipline of computer science) it’s not unusual to publish a preliminary version of a paper in a conference proceedings, and then later submit an updated version to a journal, presenting essentially the same result.

My question is, is it possible / accepted to do the same thing in biology? (And theoretical evolutionary biology in particular.)

I ask because some colleagues and I recently developed an evolutionary model that shows some surprising results which are quite relevant to current work in evolutioanry biology. We submitted it to a modelling conference and published it in the proceedings as an 8 page paper. However the feedback I’ve got from biologists suggests that this result has quite a big potential audience and deserves to be publised in a journal of reasonable impact, where biologists will read it.

To be clear, the journal version would not just be the same text as the conference version – it would be longer, including substantial new analysis as well as more details and context that couldn’t be included in the conference version. The question is just whether it’s possible (in biology) to present the key result from the model as the main result of the journal paper, or whether the new paper would have to take the form “we present a new analysis of the model previously published in [conference proceedings]”. (The latter is possible of course, but I worry that it would limit the impact of the paper, since the new analysis is a much more incremental advance.)