Repost – Area of expertise: General or specialized?

This is another repost from 2 years back. I would really like to have your opinion on that issue!

You are at the end of your PhD studies, right after having successfully defended your thesis (congratulations by the way !!). What’s next? Assuming that you have already decided to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship somewhere around the world, will you decide to continue working in the exact same area of expertise in order to become (hopefully) the world leader on a really specialized issue, or at the opposite, will you decide to work on an issue that will permit you to have a more general view of your field?

Some years ago, I have asked myself the exact same question, and although I am comfortable with the decision I took back then, I still have my doubts as to whether or not I took the right decision !! Indeed, sometimes I feel as if I don’t know enough on a specific area of interest, even after all these years in school!!!

As you have probably guessed from the title of this blog, I have decided to take the pathway of integrative physiology. Although my master’s degree, PhD and postdoc work were related, one way or another, to exercise physiology, my studies were not dedicated to only one issue. I like to see myself as a traditional physiologist…For the moment, this situation totally fits my personality.  I have always needed to know and to understand the “big picture”. However, with all the new technology and the capacity to measure a lot of different variables at the same time, it is difficult to keep the pace. One cannot masters every technique, even if we are interested in integrating all the information in one study (between several human body systems for example). That will be a challenge throughout my career.

Whether you are about to choose “what’s next”, you are already dedicated to one specific issue or you have a more general background as a researcher, tell me your story!



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