Apr 12, 2014
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Pre-Medical
I am conflicted on which research to commit/pursue as an undergrad. Although clinical research seems more relatable to med school as I am interacting with patients, I feel like the PI would just use me as a data entryist and surveyor. However, I feel that clinical research seems more pertinent to an MD career and I would be able to talk about the different avenues an MD could take me in such as clinical research.

With the lab research, I feel that I can be more involved and engage in challenging inquiry. However, I really
don't want to pursue a PhD. As a result I don't know how the PI will take this during an interview (how do I go about this?). And if I get accepted into lab research, I fear that med schools will ask me why not PhD.? I mean I know I would enjoy lab research but my fear is med schools asking why I'm not pursuing a Ph.D then. So which would be the best choice for med school? Is it possible to do both?
 

Doudline

7+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2012
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You're overthinking.

Both clinical and basic science research are perfectly acceptable, and neither is preferable.
Be honest with your PI, you're probably far from the first premed he employs, and simply make sure to get the best out of your experience. You can do research in experimental physics, for all adcoms care. Understanding the ins and outs of hypothesis-based research is all that matters.
 
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NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
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Understanding the ins and outs of hypothesis-based research is all that matters.
This. They want to see that you are familiar with the general process of research. Forming a hypothesis, building a study to test it, preparing a manuscript for publication... those are the important aspects. The specific skills you gain in lab and the subject matter of your research don't count for much.
 
May 4, 2015
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it may be easier to do hypothesis-based research through basic sciences since in clinical, they may not have enough samples readily available to do your own independent work on. However, you would have to discuss your timeline with both PIs.
 
OP
B
Apr 12, 2014
52
0
Status
Pre-Medical
You're overthinking.

Both clinical and basic science research are perfectly acceptable, and neither is preferable.
Be honest with your PI, you're probably far from the first premed he employs, and simply make sure to get the best out of your experience. You can do research in experimental physics, for all adcoms care. Understanding the ins and outs of hypothesis-based research is all that matters.
The thing that is hard for me to grasp is how I can spend 2-3 years in a lab dedicated in a PI's research and then leave to go on to med school. I feel that PIs would hesitate to accept such premed students and favor those students actually looking into a PhD and continuing with research. I fear that they wouldn't want to take me in since I would be a waste. Unless how can I convince them to take me? I mean, in my mind I sound like a fool saying I'm genuinely interested in their research but can only be involved for 2-3 years. On the other hand, I see clinical research as being easier to get into since the PI is welcoming of any undergrads especially premeds.
 

Doudline

7+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2012
2,252
1,817
The thing that is hard for me to grasp is how I can spend 2-3 years in a lab dedicated in a PI's research and then leave to go on to med school. I feel that PIs would hesitate to accept such premed students and favor those students actually looking into a PhD and continuing with research. I fear that they wouldn't want to take me in since I would be a waste. Unless how can I convince them to take me? I mean, in my mind I sound like a fool saying I'm genuinely interested in their research but can only be involved for 2-3 years. On the other hand, I see clinical research as being easier to get into since the PI is welcoming of any undergrads especially premeds.
The vast majority of students transitioning from undergrad to a PhD do not remain in the same institution, much less the same lab. There is no such expectation from your PI. It's not a waste if you remain in the same place for 3 years, do your job well, then leave.

How do you know the clinical PI is more welcoming of premeds? Have you actually asked him/her?

Might want to interview with both before making your mind. Go with what interests you the most.
 
Last edited:
OP
B
Apr 12, 2014
52
0
Status
Pre-Medical
This. They want to see that you are familiar with the general process of research. Forming a hypothesis, building a study to test it, preparing a manuscript for publication... those are the important aspects. The specific skills you gain in lab and the subject matter of your research don't count for much.
Then why do med schools make a big deal out of applicants that publish?
 

NotASerialKiller

2+ Year Member
Jul 7, 2015
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Then why do med schools make a big deal out of applicants that publish?
Because being a part of the publication process is important. They care a lot more if you're the first author, because that means that you are now extremely familiar with how to get a study published and are also successful at it! If you don't get published then there's no evidence that you have experience with this process.
 

Doudline

7+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2012
2,252
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Let's note that very few applicants have publications, even at elite research schools, and that luck is heavily involved in the process... it's not even close to a necessity anywhere.
 
OP
B
Apr 12, 2014
52
0
Status
Pre-Medical
The vast majority of students transitioning from undergrad to a PhD do not remain in the same institution, much less the same lab. There is no such expectation from your PI. It's not a waste if you remain in the same place for 3 years, do your job well, then leave.

How do you know the clinical PI is more welcoming of premeds? Have you actually asked him/her?

Might want to interview with both before making your mind. Go with what interests you the most.
It seems like they are welcoming since they always need undergrads to be involved in the data collection process. I assume this usually means they can do the analysis and actual research while the undergrads do the often dull data collecting. But thank you for your input! I will surely look into interviews at both. Thanks for helping a lost & confused premed!
 
OP
B
Apr 12, 2014
52
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Let's note that very few applicants have publications, even at elite research schools, and that luck is heavily involved in the process... it's not even close to a necessity anywhere.
Then would it be better to just do clinical research since it's the least time consuming/ challenging of the two (however, very unlikely to publish as opposed to lab research where you can have independent projects)?