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Does it matter what type of research I do if I want to match GS? Clinical or bench?
 

operaman

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SouthernIM beat me to it.

I think both are good, especially if you don't have any bench experience. Clinical projects are easier/faster to do during the year; bench stuff is great for M1 summer or another long period of completely free time.

If you're M1/M2, your #1 concern should be grades and boards. Nothing else matters if you don't have the basic numbers because that's the first thing people see.

I'm assuming your 'pre-medical' status hasn't been updated and you're in med school now.
 

vokey588

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I would actually recommend not doing bench research if you only have a summer. Lab techniques can take a while to really master, and very frequently basic techniques that you thought you knew just don't work. And then of course if you have all the techniques mastered, your experiment(s) could just yield nothing interesting. Bench research is high risk for one summer.
 

SouthernSurgeon

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I would actually recommend not doing bench research if you only have a summer. Lab techniques can take a while to really master, and very frequently basic techniques that you thought you knew just don't work. And then of course if you have all the techniques mastered, your experiment(s) could just yield nothing interesting. Bench research is high risk for one summer.
Good point. I know some "summer" research projects that ended up stretching a med student's entire time in med school without ever really getting much to show for it.

The other point is that "bench" and "clinical" are really really broad brushes to paint with. There is a wide spectrum of opportunities in each.
 
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Pons Asinorum

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The kind that will get a Research activity listing on your ERAS is the best kind to do. Going to be tough to learn the techniques and then be productive enough for a PI to take mercy on you and include your name on a manuscript in ~2mo work doing straight bench work. When you start talking to potential collaborators, you need to be upfront about wanting to bust ass such that at the end of it, there is something with Hobo, F on it somewhere.
 

mcloaf

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As a point of reference: a friend of mine has been working in a basic lab for nearly a year now, and is basically hoping to do enough to be a middle author and then get out of the lab so he can get some clinical projects done. I started a clinical project last year (doing some chart review), learned how to do data analysis over the summer, and have submitted the abstract and am drafting a first author manuscript. This isn't a humblebrag--many of my classmates had the same experience as me--but I think it's illustrative of the difference in the two in terms of yield and time commitment.
 
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SouthernSurgeon

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As a point of reference: a friend of mine has been working in a basic lab for nearly a year now, and is basically hoping to do enough to be a middle author and then get out of the lab so he can get some clinical projects done. I started a clinical project last year (doing some chart review), learned how to do data analysis over the summer, and have submitted the abstract and am drafting a first author manuscript. This isn't a humblebrag--many of my classmates had the same experience as me--but I think it's illustrative of the difference in the two in terms of yield and time commitment.
But at the same time...

One of my classmates started her project in the summer between M1-M2. She continued with it through M4. During early M4 year she presented a plenary talk at a prestigious conference, and had an accepted first author manuscript in a relatively high impact internal medicine journal, with the department chair as senior author, as well as her name on a couple other papers. Suffice to say her LOR from her department chair was quite strong, and she matched at a top internal medicine program.

So you can have success either way. I think to some degree you should follow your genuine research interests, but you need to make sure you're working with a mentor with a track record of successful student mentorship.
 

mcloaf

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But at the same time...

One of my classmates started her project in the summer between M1-M2. She continued with it through M4. During early M4 year she presented a plenary talk at a prestigious conference, and had an accepted first author manuscript in a relatively high impact internal medicine journal, with the department chair as senior author, as well as her name on a couple other papers. Suffice to say her LOR from her department chair was quite strong, and she matched at a top internal medicine program.

So you can have success either way. I think to some degree you should follow your genuine research interests, but you need to make sure you're working with a mentor with a track record of successful student mentorship.
Fair enough. One of my mentors (general surgery guy actually) has a saying that people can count better than they can read. I'd prefer to get a bunch of solid first author clinical papers than one or two high quality basic science papers. That's just my own preference, however.
 

SouthernSurgeon

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Fair enough. One of my mentors (general surgery guy actually) has a saying that people can count better than they can read. I'd prefer to get a bunch of solid first author clinical papers than one or two high quality basic science papers. That's just my own preference, however.
I think to some degree this is true. Having a long CV is never a bad thing.

But at the same time, especially if it's surgery relevant research - if you have solid high impact papers, or presentations at prestigious conferences (i.e. not quick shots at ASC) - people will notice.

We had several applicants with like 10 or 20+ publications this year that all stood out noticeably. But one of the most highly ranked applicants had only two - but one was in Nature!
 

mcloaf

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I think to some degree this is true. Having a long CV is never a bad thing.

But at the same time, especially if it's surgery relevant research - if you have solid high impact papers, or presentations at prestigious conferences (i.e. not quick shots at ASC) - people will notice.

We had several applicants with like 10 or 20+ publications this year that all stood out noticeably. But one of the most highly ranked applicants had only two - but one was in Nature!
Yeah. I think a lot my opinion on this is somewhat informed by past frustrating experiences in wet lab work and my own personality (impatient, don't take it well when things don't work).

I know one of those 20 pub gen surg applicants from last year and would love to repeat his feats (albeit in a different subspecialty), but I fear I'm unlikely to be as statistically gifted as he is. I guess we'll see.
 
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