Thanks @roschkoenig for mentioning me. My name is Julien Denis, I am a MD, I have done my residency in Pediatrics in Paris, with a special interest for child neurology. I haven’t done a fellowship yet (it lasts two years usually in France), 2 years and a half ago I started a PhD just after the residency, my project changed after 6 months or so, and I have finally joined another PhD student’s project (Robin Dard) focusing on studying how development shapes the functional organization of hippocampal networks, using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging on mouse pups. I’ve studied computer science before getting to med school, and luckily enough it seems like coding is like riding a bike, you don’t forget, so it came back quickly after 10 years on pause. Thus, I get to focus on data analysis and hopefully some modeling on the way.
Regarding Carolina questions, at the beginning of the PhD, I struggle a bit with quite everything, lot of basic science knowledge was long gone, same for maths, I read/watched as much content as I could to catch up (being full time on research helps a lot). Also, when I wanted to learn something, I’ve tried to incorporate it somehow on my project (like I wanted to learn more about deep learning, so we’ve developed a deep learning toolbox for calcium imaging). So far, as my project is quite far from clinical concerns, I feel that my medical training has been quite useless, if not to give me a great amount of motivation to at least gain some useful skills for later on, still hoping that my project will be useful for science.
I would be quite interesting to talk with you all about what are your plans for the longer term (like do you plan to mix research and clinical practice, why research etc… ?)
Personally, I’m thinking about not going back to clinical practice, I really enjoy research. Clinical practice can be quite frustrating especially in neurology. Also in France, it is tough (at least so far as I know) to find a position in an hospital in which you have enough free time for research (so many tasks are already entitled to MD with way too many administrative ones), plus I like to believe that it is tough to be a good clinician and also a good researcher, I would prefer to focus on one. The main argument I have heard from fellow MD against the idea of full time research is the “low” salaries in research.
I’ve always be motivated to get into research, especially neuroscience, but I guess the progress in AI really strengthen this motivation. When I see the situation in child neurology and the lack of therapies for much of the diseases, I like the approach of deepmind, one problem to solve them all.I believe that neuroscience will be useful for child neurology either by studying the physiopathology of specific diseases or by helping better understand intelligence.
On that subject, have you read the book “Deep medicine” by Eric Topol ?
Sorry for that long post, I tend to write too much