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When Dr. Jeff Friedman followed in his father’s path to become a doctor, he entered a six-year medical program out of high school and received an M.D. at the age[…]

Dr. Jeff Friedman explains how he became a research scientist.

Topic: Becoming a Research Scientist

Jeff Friedman:  Well, actually as a kid, once I concluded I would never be a professional athlete I really wanted to be a veterinarian but in the world I grew up in the highest form of human endeavor was to be a doctor. My father was a radiologist and so there was always this push to be a doctor and so I entered a six-year medical program when I finished high school and finished my training pretty young, and it was only at the point at which I finished my medical training that I began to question whether or not that was what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. I didn’t really know frankly what I was going to do other than I just didn’t see medical practice for the next 30, 40 years as being where I was headed. One of my professors where I went to medical school thought I might like research and referred me to a colleague of his at Rockefeller University where I now work so I visited her lab, spent a year and decided I really liked it and have stuck with it. A friend of mine once referred to me as the accidental scientist, which was applied shortly after Anne Tyler wrote The Accidental Tourist.