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How to succeed in science: a concise guide for young biomedical scientists. Part I: taking the plunge


Biomedical research has never been more intellectually exciting or practically important to society. Ironically, pursuing a career as a biomedical scientist has never been more difficult. Here I provide unvarnished advice for young biomedical scientists on the difficulties that lie ahead and on how to find the right laboratories for training in the skills that you will need to succeed. Although my advice is geared towards succeeding in the United States, many aspects apply to other countries.

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Figure 1: The tenure track derails.
Figure 2: The nine types of principal investigator.


  1. Yewdell, J. W. How to succeed in science: a concise guide for young biomedical scientists. Part II: making discoveries. Nature Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 10 April 2008 (doi:10.1038/nrm2390).

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  2. Bredan, A. S. & van Roy, F. Writing readable prose. EMBO Rep. 7, 846–849 (2006).

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The author is grateful to the many junior and senior scientists who shared their insights into scientific success. B. Dolan, K. Grebe, S. Hensley and J. Ishizuka made valuable suggestions for improvements to the manuscript.

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Yewdell, J. How to succeed in science: a concise guide for young biomedical scientists. Part I: taking the plunge. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 9, 413–416 (2008).

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