The term physician-scientist can mean different things to different people and covers a relatively wide range of researchers. There are those with medical degrees who work exclusively in the lab, never seeing patients. Others may see patients once a week in a clinic or monthly on rounds, but they don't necessarily study patients as an integral part of their research. The final group conducts researchwhich includes lab workspecific to patients, and their contact with the patients often stimulates the research questions they ask. The majority of the 12 new HHMI investigators fall into this latter group of clinical investigators, or patient-oriented researchers. More often than not, however, distinctions among the three groups can be blurred and imprecise.
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Reprinted from the HHMI Bulletin,
September 2002, pages 14-19.
©2002 Howard Hughes Medical Institute