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Bio-statistic degree,good idea??

Dr. Claire D. Sherman sherman at hell.niehs.nih.gov
Tue Jan 17 21:22:51 EST 1995

In article <3fek82$elp at ixnews3.ix.netcom.com> peisongh at ix.netcom.com  
> I am posting this for my friend  who has no access to this group.  Any 
> input will be greatly appreciated.
> After many years of working with a B.S. in Microbiology, she is now 
> financially ready to pursuit a graduate degree.  She wants to get a M.S. 
> in BIO-STATISTIC but has no clue what the job market will be like in 
> this sector upon her graduation, say, two to three years from now.  She 
> did ask around and hear a few positive predictions, but still felt 
> kind of unconvinced and uncertain about her choise.  Would any one be 
> kind enough to advice on this matter?  Expecially those engaged in day 
> to day field work.  No obligation on your prt, of course. Basically, 
> will it be rain or shine?  Any gut feeling?  What is the long term 
> outlook for this career path?  what about other 
> biocomputational/bioinformatic options?  (She likes computer-oriented 
> stuffs.)
> Before having some sense of what is down the road, she is  reluctant to 
> commit herself and her hardearn saving.  HELP!!
> Many thanks in advace!!!
> Peter


You can tell your friend that biostatistics is a great
field of study to pursue. My undergraduate degree 
is in math, I have an MA in biostatistics and a PhD in
Statistics (your mileage may vary accordingly!). The
opportunities that are available are industry, (primarily
pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and quality control), 
government (anywhere from mathematical modelling of 
biological systems, analyzing epidemiological data, to
reviewing new drug applications (FDA)), and academic
institutions (teaching, collaborative research with
other depts., i.e. medical schools, biology, public health, 
etc.). Wherever there is data to be analyzed, especially
with a flavor of biological sciences, you can bet there
will be a biostatistician on-call. Quite a few times
the biostatistician is called after the study has been
designed and data has been collected. Unfortunately, 
there is no "bail-out" that the biostatistician can 
offer in this situation except offer his/her services
before the next study is launched. This is one
of the most valuable services a biostatistician can 
offer - optimal experimental design, which is mostly 
neglected. I will jump off my soap box now. If your 
friend wants further advice or needs information
about biostatistics university programs, have him/her 
e-mail me...

Claire Sherman
Lab. of Quantitative & Computational Biology
Research Triangle Park, NC

sherman at peabody.niehs.nih.gov

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