Within the Veterinary Medical Sciences graduate program we are aware of the broad range of research undertaken by students with an even more extensive range of backgrounds (e.g. DVMs, biomedical sciences, ecologists and policy). I carried out my PhD studies in the now defunct Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, part of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biology. Here, I shared the cafeteria with immunologists, quantitative geneticists & entomologists. I cannot speak highly enough of being in such a dynamic environment. During my time, ICAPB was split into two – Evolutionary Biology and Immunology and Infection. However, they still share a building and a social lounge, splendidly named the Darwin Dance Hall.
My postdoc was at a hospital’s research institute. The research focus of the departments was considerably more narrow than my previous experiences, and with good cause. However, I often found myself wandering over to the biology-based departments at the University.
When I was applying for faculty of jobs, how academic expansive the research interests of the faculty/department wasn’t high of the list of requirements. However, it should have been. I’m back in such an environment and loving it. I wish that the School of Biological Sciences was a little closer than a 30min stroll, especially in January & February. At least I earn the cookie.
I sit on the graduate education committee, and we’ve been working very hard to ensure that the capacious nature of VMS is a strength. A seminar series is being implemented, where students will present their work to peers. The skill will be reaching out to students with different backgrounds. Equally, the attendees will become immersed in various research topics and approaches. This can only help with their own thinking. It’s gonna be fun.