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Ask Eva Your Questions

ByTom MillerThe Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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Q: Gaby

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Why did you not go to medical school directly after college?

A: Eva Vertes

I decided to take two years between finishing undergraduate and beginning medical school to devote fully to medical research. I knew that I wanted to go to medical school during undergraduate, but I was also eager to get a significant amount of research experience.

Q: Partrick MacCann

Hi Eva – Why do scientists continue to think that one target/one drug will actually have an impact on cancer and other diseases. It is obvious from all the research over the decades and evidence from HAART and combination therapy that more than one drug is needed. Why don’t scientists do more to learn the systems of disease and try to modulate (up or down) multiple targets simultaneously. You will probably find that you can use “sub-therapeutic, sub-toxic ” doses of a five, ten, or a dozen drugs and get a much better response, no resistance, an limited toxicity.

A: Eva Vertes

There seems to be a trend towards the search for, and use of, combination therapies. It is becoming clear that many diseases – especially cancer – are highly complex and may respond better to a multi-drug approach which targets many different aspects of a disease process. Therefore, scientists are trying to unravel which combination of therapies may work best for treating a certain disease, rather than searching only for a single “magic bullet”.

Q:Anne Sywilok

Hi Eva, I’m trying to get my students interested in science careers by encouraging them to think about what they like to do now and could continue that as an adult in a science career. What were your interests as a child?

A: Eva Vertes

As a child, I was interested in animals (especially the “scary” ones such as sharks and snakes) and nature. When I was about 9 years old, I became very interested in the human body and diseases. In general, I was just curious about the world around me. I think that any sort of curiosity as a child is a good beginning to a career in science because science, at least to me, is a continuous exploration of the unknown.

Q: Peter Byrne

There are many studies showing that industrial and household chemicals cause cancer. Risks are not so much personal, as social and economic. Researching treatment is fine, but why is not more effort being made to implement prevention?

A: Eva Vertes

Prevention is a very important part of solving the problem of cancer. We are beginning to realize that many things play a role in the initiation and progress of cancer. Clear identification of what exactly causes or increases the chances of cancer are necessary to implement effective preventative measures.

Original funding for "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.