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Couple questions from a first-year :)

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by argonana, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. argonana

    argonana SDN Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Hi guys,

    Sorry to invade this forum with some pretty basic questions, but I'd appreciate any of your insights on these few things. Gonna try to tag down an advisor soon, but that's not the same as getting direct feedback from students/residents anyway.

    I recently signed onto a summer research project in cancer epigenetics. I chose it from a basic science perspective, without worrying much about specialty interests--I'm still considering a number of fairly different clinical fields. However, my feeling is that I'm going to end up wanting to go into radonc, given my background and skills. I'm excited about my summer project and am considering continuing similar work next year with someone at Rockefeller, but after browsing through the radonc app guide, it seems that such research is considered fairly worthless by residency PDs. Research related directly to radiation physics, particularly if it's high-yield (with respect to pubs) seems like it's strictly the way to go. Is this correct?

    Also...

    A bit of a fuzzy issue, sorry, but will I have to wait until rotations to be able to determine whether I can handle the (potentially?) emotionally draining nature of this field, or would shadowing be informative in this regard?

    (And...If any of you were considering other quantitative/physics-oriented fields during med school (radiology? basic cardiology research?), which were you considering?)

    Thanks.
     
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  3. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I don't think your research sounds worthless, at all! It sounds very interesting, and if you are interested in epigenetics, continue to work on it. It will most definitely be helpful for any specialty in oncology.

    It definitely can be emotionally draining, and everyone responds differently. You just have to go through a few rotations, and you'll figure out ways to cope (or not ...). Shadowing will help, but just getting into the hospital as a third year will help. You'll figure it out.

    -S
     
  4. Mulletfluf

    Mulletfluf Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I am a MSI as well but I'll add my two cents. Having read many threads in this forum on research (type, quantity, etc), I don't think basic science research is 'worthless'. Some programs are strongly in favor of basic science research and are headed by chairmen/women with basic research backgrounds. If you are still worried you can work on a rad onc specific project at a later date to show that you are interested in the field.
     
  5. radonc

    radonc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    rule of thumb:
    spend time in an area in which you are interested in, because you will be more productive.

    for the most part, residency programs dont care if you did basic science, clinical/retrospective, or translational research. they just want to see some interest/knowledge about research.



    to answer your other questions: i was thinking about peds as a 1st/2nd year, and then my interest switched to gynonc/medonc during 3rd year. i was intrigued by the technical aspect, and thats why i chose radonc.

    shadowing may give you some insight into the daily activities...but i would shadow for a week straight (spring break, winter break) so that you can have some sort of continuity.
     
  6. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides 10+ Year Member

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    Before starting med school I spoke to a rad onc director at a major university hospital and he said that he isn't interested at all, really, in basic science research. He looks specifically for research that is directly related to radiation oncology. Basic science research doesn't hurt at all, of course, but from his point of view it just didn't help.
     
  7. argonana

    argonana SDN Donor 10+ Year Member

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    I'm not so sure about that anymore. There are plenty of radonc docs out there who do basic science research, e.g. http://www.ucsf.edu/radonc/faculty/physicians/nakamura_j.html
     
  8. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 And to think . . . I hesitated Physician PhD Faculty Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Being a lowly PGY-1 myself, I would humbly suggest that this PD is referring mostly to his/her own program. In my experience, basic research is prized above clinical/physics research when you are talking about medical student applicants. I think others can back me up.

    In general however, clinical/physics research is more amenable producing a publication for a med student which of course will look good. Basic research is more difficult to publish (particularly as first author) due to lack of continuous bench time by your average medical student. The most impressive/industrious students will aim for research projects in 2 or 3 different areas for the best possible yield.

    I actually worked w/ Dr. Nakamura. Small world . . .
     
  9. argonana

    argonana SDN Donor 10+ Year Member

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    NYC

    !!!! I may bump into you this summer, then! (ok, probably not, but...) I like what she is doing. I'll be working with another guy at the brain tumor research center. Super excited...summer can't come soon enough!

    Thanks to all for your input.
     
  10. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 And to think . . . I hesitated Physician PhD Faculty Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I tried to send you a PM but your mailbox was full.
     
  11. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides 10+ Year Member

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    Has anyone here done work at Kaiser LA or Loma Linda rad onc? I'll be working on projects there this summer and would love to get a heads up on what the departments are like, if anyone's worked there.
     
  12. Reaganite

    Reaganite Member 10+ Year Member

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    I've done research at Loma Linda. Who are you working with? Schulte?
     
  13. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I'll be with Schulte. How'd it go?
     
  14. ZapOnc

    ZapOnc 2+ Year Member

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    The best advice that anyone can give you is to do everything that you can to experience exactly what your life will be like as a physician in a given field. If you want to be a neurosurgeon, don't shadow a neurosurgeon from 9-5 during office hours or watch a bunch of cases during the day and then punch out at 5 pm when you get sent home. Stay and experience the work until 11 pm every night and take call - and do it for at least a couple of weeks. Find out if you really want to do whatever it is that you THINK you want to do. Same can be said for rad onc. For a particular location, or a particular department within rad onc...

    See and do the real thing!!!!
     
  15. dizzle69

    dizzle69 Banned Banned

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    When do you find the time to follow the attending all day and night? Usually attendings (i.e. in surgery) often go home at 5-6pm and the residents/fellows/MS-IIIs are the ones on call at night. Sure, you can learn from them (esp. the residents/fellows) while on night-call, but seriously, where do you find the time to do this? If you say during a vacational period, how about when you are doing research or studying for classes/boards? Also, what exactly are YOU able to do while on call? I don't believe you would be able to do much of anything, so it would be more or less a waste of time because watching and doing are 2 different things IMO. Sure, in both cases one may be "gaining experience" of the field, but in doing something will you actually gain a true experience of the situation and of the specific field. Now, I could be totally wrong, and it appears you have more experience, so I would love to hear your perspective on this matter. Thanks.
     
  16. Mixtli

    Mixtli Trying to smile real hard 5+ Year Member

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    It seems like publication is a requirement to get into rad onco. The people who I know who are thinking or going to apply into this field are MD/PHDs or MDs with impressive first author pubs.

    How much weight is one 3rd author/4th author in a physics/rad onco publication? What about two 3rd author publications vs. one first/second author publication?
     
  17. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 And to think . . . I hesitated Physician PhD Faculty Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Here is the thing. Regardless of where you are on the author list, interviewers will want to know the following:

    1. If you were meaningfully involved in the study
    * For instance, were you simply washing glassware in the lab while you were a student assistant? Perhaps the PI was nice and put you on the paper.
    * Did you actually DO the labwork? You might be surprised to learn that in some highly funded labs, well-trained lab techs run all the gels/assays while the grad students focus more on the data.
    * Did you help design the experiments? Probably this is the most important contribution you can make to the paper.

    2. If you actually know what you did.
    * Faculty will ask you to summarize your paper and perhaps compare it to the current research in the field.
    * Some students have not thought about their research in a while -- it is a huge red flag if you try to BS any questions re: explaining your research.

    3. If you helped write the paper.
    * Writing a paper and going through the whole submission-revision cycle is a great learning experience. It's not as important as the above two but it is good to have under your belt.

    4. If you published an actual research article vs. a review.
    * In general the difficulty of publishing a basic research paper >> clinical/physics >>> a review article. If you publish research, it shows that you actually contributed something to the field.
    * There is a reason that many med students publish reviews or case reports -- they are easy to do. Any good PI will have a LONG list of publications soliciting reviews in their area of expertise. PI's have better things to do than write a bunch of reviews -- it is easier to relegate the tasks to underlings.

    5. If you have a paper in a peer-reviewed journal vs. an abstract at a national conference.
    * Yes it's very good experience to have a poster @ ASTRO, ASCO, or AACR but understand that the threshold for publishing an abstract is low. If you get accepted for an oral presentation then that is quite impressive (particularly for a student).
    * If you publish in a respectable journal (Red/Green Journal) this is a definite positive.
    * Presenting an abstract at your medical school research day is a good start (better if you win an award) but shouldn't be the only thing on your CV.
     
  18. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    it is useless to try to do math like that. there is no forumla (one 2nd authored pb = 2 3rd authored etc).
     
  19. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    not quite right; its not the chairmen value what they did; they value what the see as fitting their departmental vision.
     
  20. Mixtli

    Mixtli Trying to smile real hard 5+ Year Member

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    Are there going to be more, same, less resident training openings in rad onco in the near future?

    In regards to some programs not filling their spots (e.g. VCU) through the match, do those spots get filled (through the scramble).
     
  21. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    probably no big push one way or another in the near future.
     

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