Michael Eisen，我的联合导师之一，他毕业于伯克利大学，最近在博客中写道：这是一个做科学研究非常好的时代，但对科学家来说确实一个非常烂的时代。几个月前，我与我的另一个联合导师Jasper Rine讨论了NIH研究基金会的资助风波。Jasper说道：除非NIH立刻醒悟，基金的管理方式需要重要的改变，否则，我们这一代的科学家命运将非常坎坷。而我就是这些命运坎坷的科学家的一员，所以我出局了。
2001年 我大学毕业之后，我拒绝了一个高薪的程序员职位。相反，我选择了在著名的冷泉港实验室做生物信息学，尽管薪水要低很多。我个人是非常兴奋能有这个机会用各 种计算技术来做生物学研究的。两年后，我如愿以偿的进入了该领域的研究生队伍，方向是分子生物学，与此同时，我的薪水在接下来的六年间都只有刚开始的一半 了。而在MIT做博士后的期间，我的薪水也没能回到十年前我作为一个初级程序员的时候，尽管那时的我技能欠佳，也没有什么拿得出手的专业领域知识。在商业领域中，个人报酬也当与他掌握的技能以及知识水平相当，但是，在学术领域，它们二者之间的关联度大打折扣。
早在我还是 一名研究生的时候，我就意识到了追求学术生涯的种种弊端。我接受了微博的薪水，忍受了换学校单位的不稳定性以及教授们那近乎疯狂的工作量。我也接受了变幻 莫测的天气，在熬过来了十多年的研究生和博士后的日子，我本可以顺理成章的拿到教职。我甚至也能接受，在追寻着光荣而神圣的目标的过程中，五年后有可能会 被拒绝，从而不得不再次搬迁去另一个学校再寻找教职。我也能想象到，即使拿到了教职，我也不得不投入我的全部身心来为我的课题组争取研究基金。我能看到所 有的一切我将为我追求所爱而付出的代价。
在青少年时 期，我就一直认为工作应该像度过周末一样愉快，而我也一直痴迷于此。在过去的十二年中，我一直试图在学术领域寻找这一点，而且认为只有学术这一条路能达到 这一点。幸运的是，一年前，我与一个生命科学家合作开发一个开放的，实时更新的中央资料库，我非常享受开发过程的每一个步骤，而且我也很确定，在公司也能 得到在科学界能得到的那种全心全意投入的感觉。
我现在还不 确定科学家们是否会用到我们所创造的产品，也不知道我在公司能否就有充足资金来追寻我的梦想。一个星期前的辞职，我的确是冒了很大的风险。风险是很大，但 这并不是疯狂的行为。真正疯狂的是按部就班的执着于学术圈。我可以这样说，通过这一年的创造各种科学性的产品，我比以前更接近于教授了。
我也明白， 很多读者都会认为我是一种吃不到葡萄就说葡萄酸的心态，或者认为我对学术的渴望并不是想象中的那么强烈，我真的企图是变得富有。如果这也是你所认为的，那 么你其实是抱着要科学家什么都不去想，只安心的做一个简简单单的教授的想法。我的确是热爱过我所从事的研究教学工作，我也好想念那些美好的日子，尽管想起 来很受伤。但我也爱我的妻子，如果她像学术界对待科学家那样对待我，我早就离开她了。
Michael Eisen, my co-advisor from graduate school at Berkeley recently wrote that it is a great time to do science but a terrible time to be a scientist. A few months ago I was discussing with my other co-adviser Jasper Rine the crisis in NIH research funding awards (better known as "lottery"). Jasper said that unless NIH wakes up and there is a major restructuring, we will lose an entire generation of scientists. I am a member of this generation, and I am out.
In 2001, about to graduate from college, I turned down a programming position at a hedge fund. Instead, I chose to do bioinformatics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for a much lower salary. I was excited about the possibilities of doing biological research using computational tools. Two years later, I enthusiastically entered graduate school in molecular biology, with my salary dropping by half for the next six years. As a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, I am not even back to earning what I did ten years ago as a junior programmer with no skills or domain-specific knowledge. In a commercial setting, my compensation would have kept pace with my knowledge and skills, but in academia, there seems to be a complete decoupling of the two.
Luckily, my wife has always been supportive of my passion for science and balanced my foolhardiness with a practical job as a physician’s assistant since 2006. She is well compensated, allowing us to pay off our loans and afford the monthly expenses in Cambridge. With a daughter in daycare and another child due in a month, we would certainly be in a better financial shape with me as a stay-at-home dad than a postdoctoral scientist at MIT.
Science has also meant wrenching moves across the country. In 2003, we moved to California for me to begin my graduate studies. We both love New York, and my wife was devastated to leave her family and friends. In 2009, after many tearful discussions, she agreed to move to Boston from California for my postdoc. The next move for a professor position would surely require moving to yet another new place in the country.
As a graduate student, I was well aware of all of the negatives of an academic career. I accepted the miniscule pay, the inability to choose where to live, and the insane workloads of professors. I accepted the uncertainty of whether, after 10-12 years as a graduate student and postdoc, I would actually get a job as a professor. I accepted that even after attaining this lofty goal, five years later, I could be denied tenure and would have to move to another university or go into industry. I accepted that even with tenure, I would have to worry my entire life about securing research funding for the lab. I saw all of these as the price to pay for doing something that I love.
However, one aspect of being a professor has been terrifying me for over five years now – the uncertainty of getting funding from NIH. No let me rephrase that. What is terrifying is the near-certainty that any grant I submit would be rejected. I have been waiting for the funding situation to improve, but it seems to only be getting worse. I personally know about ten scientists who have become professors in the last 3-4 years. Not a single one of them has been able to get a grant proposal funded; just rejection, after rejection, after rejection. One of these is a brilliant young professor who has applied for grants thirteen times and has been rejected consistently, despite glowing reviews and high marks for innovation. She is on the brink of losing her lab as her startup funds are running out and the prospect of this has literally led to sleepless nights and the need for sleeping pills. How can this not terrify me?
I have been obsessed since my teens with the idea that work should be something one desires to come back to after a weekend. For the last twelve years, being an academic was the only path I saw toward this. Fortunately, a year ago, I co-founded a startup to create an open, up-to-date, central protocol repository for life scientists. I have enjoyed every step of getting ZappyLab going, and I am certain that the company will give me the feeling that I still get from science - wanting to go into work every day.
I don’t know yet if scientists will use what we are building. I don’t know if we will be able to raise the capital needed to build what I dream of building. By resigning from my postdoc a week ago, I have done something very risky. Risky, but not crazy. What seems crazy is aiming to stay in the academic track. I say this despite having had the most scientifically productive year of my life; I am closer to getting a professorship than ever before.
I realize that many will dismiss my story as a tale of sour grapes, or say that my desire is not strong enough or my primary motivation is to get rich. If that is your position, you are simply hoping that future scientists will be unable to love anything other than being a professor. I do love research and teaching with every fiber of my being. I will miss them and it will hurt. But I also love my wife, and if she had treated me the way academia treats its scientists, I would have left her long ago.