Career Interview: Mark McCarthy, MD

Photo courtesy of Mark McCarthy, MD, FRCP, FMedSci

Robert Turner Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics

Dr. McCarthy, a physician-scientist and human geneticist, has presented several invited sessions on the genetics of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Chris Nowak, ASHG: How do you keep on top of the rapidly expanding bioinformatics field and the increasing availability of large data repositories?

Dr. McCarthy:  Find a niche (even if you get involved in more general things, too), and reach out to those other cohorts. Develop skills in areas including:

  • Computation/coding
  • Statistical analysis
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Function
  • Physiology
  • Health informatics

Of course, few can do all of these.

ASHG: What one piece of advice would you give your former trainee-self:

Dr. McCarthy: As in other aspects of life, my advice is the same: Follow your instincts. Be generous & honest to yourself and others. Be fearless.

ASHG: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?

Most favorite – The thrill of discovery

Least favorite – Doing stupid & routine paperwork late at night

ASHG: Name three attributes that characterize the best researcher in your field.

Dr. McCarthy:

  • They don’t get emotionally attached to their hypotheses: they are equally happy to be proved wrong as right
  • They get the big picture
  • They do their best to nurture and support junior staff

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