Fear in the Face of Criticism

I’m finding it tough to stay motivated. With the bare bones of my project laid out, and the rest of it hanging in the fates of pending experiments, there’s not much else to think about while I’m waiting for some data: except for the quality of my project proposal itself.

Me being me, I keep on coming back to the same conclusion, namely: the project isn’t good enough. I feel as though my aims are of interest, at least for the sake of science, but in the context of cancer research, do they still stand strong?

In an era of personalised medicine, where words like ‘biomarker’ are more than commonplace, is it “enough” to study cancer cell function? Without blatant linkage to drug optimisation or discovery, or even to prognostics and diagnostics, those of us stepping ‘back’ into the more obscure field of cellular/ cancer cellular function are risking much scrutiny from our colleagues.

I know that my aims will unveil some mysteries about cellular function, and maybe (?) answer some questions regarding the failure of some drugs in the past. I also know that biomarker hunting and drug discovery can’t really function on their own. Whatever targets are identified, should (in an ideal world) be understood fully (or at least as far as is possible) before we start using experimental drugs.

Logical thinking should lead me to believe that my work will be valuable. However, I can’t help but feel that those who dabble in cell functional studies, for however long, can be more vulnerable to criticism…and that’s just a bit terrifying.


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