Chapter 09: Advice for Young Researchers and Mentoring


Chapter 09: Advice for Young Researchers and Mentoring


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Advice for Young Scientists: Dr. Knudson says that young scientists need curiosity, intelligence, and training to be successful.

Critical Perspectives: He then critiques the state of funding for scientists. He discusses the drop in funding from the NIH and points out that back in the 1960s, a handful of grants were approved that probably wouldn't work, but would be monumental if they did work. Now, he says, those projects are never funded. Dr. Knudson believes that too many grants are doing predictable research and not enough are surprising.

Perspectives on Research: Dr. Knudson then reiterates that to be successful, a scientist needs curiosity. He notes that he has never known a person conducting scientific research for a long time who regretted it. He additionally states that although physician scientists may benefit from seeing direct benefits from their work, some research may not be immediately beneficial to anyone, such as Einstein's work. Dr. Knudson declares that the greatest thing that humans can do is have new ideas. He says that people may come and go, but knowledge keeps building.

On Mentoring: Dr. Knudson outlines what students should expect from a mentor, saying that a mentor should minimally be able to identify whether a project is worthwhile. He notes that this impacts where a student should go, because some problems may not be able to be studied everywhere.



Publication Date



The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

On Research and Researchers; Critical Perspectives; Fiscal Realities in Healthcare; On Faith, Hope, Values, Beliefs; On Mentoring; The Clinician; Activities Outside Institution

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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Chapter 09: Advice for Young Researchers and Mentoring