Taking Academic Discovery to Clinical Application
Mark Duncan, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA
Authored by Panagiotis Vlachostergios, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York , New York, USA
Dr. Duncan provided some really interesting insights into the challenges of becoming a successful entrepreneur following a scientific discovery which has the potential to translate into a commercial test or application.
Approximately 50% of scientific research cannot be replicated, Dr. Duncan said, and this is a major source of discouragement for investors. Another aspect that poses challenges to bridging the gap between healthcare and industry is the need to keep up with the pace of scientific progress. This creates a disincentive from the industry perspective for developing a new test, as it may become “obsolete” a few years after its use.
Dr. Duncan also spent some time discussing the main differences between careers in academia and industry. Assessing your skill set is important, as some people can better “fit” into one of these two fields. In the end, he concluded, it comes down to how you want your day to look. But he advised against “buying into things that feed unhealthy components of someone’s personality”.
A thorough and honest discussion with family can help clarify one’s goals and career orientation.
Irrespective of whether a researcher decides to become an entrepreneur or stay in academia, he or she should not have the feeling of running on a treadmill. Enjoying what your environment has to offer is key to becoming successful in either area.