Sample Personal Statement for Basic Medical Sciences
Many people go through life like a ship lost at sea with no sense
of direction, simply drifting around wherever that events in life
happen to take them. Unlike those people, I have always had a definite
objective in my life, my academic life in particular. When I entered
the Health Science Center of xx University 4 years ago, in September
2000, I had but one objective—to do a good job in my specialty of
basic medical sciences. Having fulfilled this goal, I have now
formulated yet another important objective—to pursue a Ph.D. program
in Neuroscience by building on my past academic training.
My decision to choose Neuroscience as the concentration of my Ph.D.
program is related to two internships I conducted at xx Institute of
xx University. From March to October 2003, I researched on the
astrogliosis in culture effect of antisense GFAP, focusing on
astroglial scar formation. A unique “scratch wound” model was adopted
to facilitate the research. I first used phase contrast microscope to
trace morphological change of reactive astrocyte, which I found to be
closely associated with dynamics of different cytoskeletons. To
elucidate their roles in the process, I used specific antisense to
microfilament, microtubule, and glial fibrillary acid protein. Only
GFAP antisense produced effect. By using different molecular methods
(such as western blot, RT-PCR, and staining), I proved that the effect
was actually caused by the silencing of GFAP. In the end, the culture
findings were confirmed in an in vivo stab wound model and antisense
GFAP was discovered to be an effective inhibitor on astrogliosis,
facilitating the neurons to recuperate and repair from damages and to
re-establish their functions.
In another internship (from March to the end of 2004), I undertook
another research in which I discovered that the electro-acupuncture
could reduce the CPP score in the rat with chronic morphine addiction
by 50%. Furthermore, this made it easier for the rat to get through
the withdrawal period. Through those two crucial internship
experiences, I acquired strong hands-on skills in behavioral
experiments, CPP, morphine physical dependence model, molecular
biology experiments, PCR, western blotting, and, most importantly, in
designing research projects. Having accumulated these tentative
research experience, I have become increasingly aware of my strong
research potential; hence I am all the more determined to pursue a Ph.
D. program in neuroscience.
Academically, my 5-year undergraduate program at the Health Science
Center of xx University, the most prestigious institution of medical
teaching and research in China, endows me with a most solid foundation
for your highly respected program. As a student of basic medical
sciences, I have received a specialized academic training in a whole
spectrum of core subjects known for both their depth and breadth. In
particular, I have excelled in courses like biochemistry, physiology
and immunology, three most fundamental courses which gave me an
overall picture of medical sciences and a broad framework in which to
pursue my academic interests. Physiology and advanced neurobiology
sensitized me to the potential fields on which I might concentrate
while experiment of molecular biology improved my practical skills
necessary for a well-trained medical scientist.
I have been especially enlightened by two classic books I have read.
Roitt’s Essential Immunology (10th Edition) by I. M. Roitt and P. J.
Delves called my attention to the experimental nature of medical
sciences and facilitated my development of dexterous experiment
skills, deviating from the emphasis on theoretic issues over hands-on
capabilities characteristic of most Chinese students. Another book
Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain (2nd Edition) by M. F. Bear, B. W.
Connors and M. A. Paradiso helped reinforce my interest in
neuroscience by expanding my ken of knowledge.
Relevant to your program is the graduation project I am currently
working on—xx. The expected achievement of my project is to prove that
EA can enhance the expression of both BDNF and GDNF so as to inhibit
opioid addiction. The significance of the research lies in its
possibility to help cure drug dependence and the possible techniques
would involve morphine physical dependence model, RT-PCR, western
blot, etc. Through this project, my research potential will be further
exploited and research objectives better defined.
The more I become exposed to neuroscience, the more I feel the need to
learn. In July 2004, I attended the xx International Symposium. With
“Science for a Better Life” as its theme, the symposium attracted 2000
participants worldwide, including American scholars and professors and
Nobel laureates. I was especially impressed by the presentation on the
xx by xx and xx, two researchers from University of xx Medical Center.
They reported on how they used a multiple-electrode recording
technique to find a novel effect of morphine, a classic opioid drug,
on the firing pattern of brain noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC)
neurons. As their research happened within my area of specialization,
their presentation shed light on my understanding of the development
of opioid addiction. In addition, my clinical practice at xx Hospital
from August 2003 to January 2004 further directed my attention to the
need for sophisticated neuroscience research in order to alleviate the
agonies of so many patients.
In my plan for future career development, seeking a Ph.D. program
comes as my top priority because I believe academic growth leads to
professional development. For this reason, I am interested in the
Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences-neurosciences of the University
of xx. Among your 7 faculty areas of specialization, I find behavioral
neuroscience most closely matched to my accumulated lab experiences.
Under your program, I will enroll in a core group of graduate
neuroscience courses that will provide me with broad knowledge of the
various sub-disciplines of neuroscience and exposure to the techniques
used in research. Among your broad spectrum of specialized courses, I
am most keen on Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Cell Structure
and Function, Neurobiology. I am interested in researching on Stem
Cells and Neural Regeneration and Neurobiology of Nociception.
Meanwhile, I want to continue with the research I have carried out in
China, to explore how peripheral electro-acupuncture affect the
CNS-brain, why opioid addiction persists for life long and its
possible therapy, and finally what is the exact mechanism of EA
treatment of addiction and what the related brain areas are.
As a member of the bouldering branch of xx University Mountaineering
Association (xx), I have long cultivated my stamina by surmounting
every conceivable challenge. I believe this stamina is equally useful
in my academic pursuit. With it, I will attain academic and
professional excellence which may enable me to help countless people
such as my mother who suffered from a stroke and some of my friends
who are drug-addicted.