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Did research help you?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by medical22, Jan 15, 2002.

  1. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member
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    I?m thinking of doing some research at a lab this coming summer. I wanted to know what kinds of topics and where pre-meds have done research. How beneficial was it? What did you gain from it? Was it really interesting for you? Please tell me about your experience. Thanks.
     
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  3. altaskier

    altaskier Altaholics Anonymous 92'
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    I'm not the type to work in a lab. I like workin' with people. I did clinical research at a hospital. I really did enjoy it. If you are like me, try doing clinical research. There is no difference between clinical and lab research, as far as I know.
     
  4. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    my advice: do not do research 'because it will look good on your med school application.' do it because you're interested enough and motivated enough about science to pursue its study on a deeper level...something you mention nothing about in your post. otherwise you will hate it. you do research in the areas that YOU'RE interested in, not what everyone else was interested in. research will 'look good' on an app if you're involved long enough to get something tangible out of it--a very large number of premeds do the summer research thing so that they can check the 'research' box off on their checklist for applying to med school. the reality is that you don't need it to get into med school, and you *especially* shouldn't pursue it if you hate it. so i really hope i am misinterpreting your post and that you are thinking about doing research because you're genuinely interested in it, not because you think it will make an adcom happy.
     
  5. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member
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    In my opinion, Research is only valuable if it interests you. If you can find a professor doing something that you think you would enjoy working on go for it. When you apply you want to be albe to talk of your experience favorably! (not fake it :)

    I know that biology reseach would have bored me to death so I chose to do research in psychology instead. I was able to work on studies with infants and I found it very interesting.

    MY advice to you would be to do research this summer if you think you'd like it. Of course it will "look good" on your application. But so would other clinical experiences you could do instead. You can definately get into med school without research just use your time doing something else!

    I chose to work as a lifeguard/pool manager during my summers at college. It was the best job ever to be able to spend time in the sun and get paid for it and get to interact with families.

    Go with what your gut tells you to do!!
    Good luck!!
     
  6. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member
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    Please don't get me the wrong way. I think what I wrote is misleading. I am VERY interested in doing research and I want to do it in Science (Biology). I know that it will look good on my application, but that's not the only reason I'd be doing this. And of course I'm going to do it in what I'm interested in and not what others have done, but I just wanted to get an idea so those who have done lab research, please share your experience with me. Thanks.
     
  7. medical22

    medical22 Senior Member
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    I editted what I had first posted. It was giving out the wrong message.
     
  8. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member
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    I work in a research lab now and did the summer research thing while I was in school. I think what you are asking is how much actual rewarding research do you get as a summer intern. I think it varies, but from my experience, not much. It takes a while to get into the work so if you can, try to find a research position near school so you can keep at it during the school year. If the researcher you're working with knows you'll still be there in the fall, they are more likely to trust you with your own projects - which is a lot more fun and meaningful than doing the menial grunt work they didn't want to do for the summer. Plus, then you have more involvement in the project, so you'll be able to discuss it with enthusiasm than if you just washed glassware and poured gels.
    Then again, you may find a really cool researcher who will let you dive right in just for the summer. Good Luck!
     
  9. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    i think research helped me get into med school. do it only if you like it and pick a lab where you will get some attention. tell them that you eventually want to do an independant project (which is cool). then fund your research with fellowships (your pi will love you for that) and submit your abstracts for presentations at research conferences and go present because premeds do research but most don't take the extra step to present their work. maybe write a paper and try to get it published in an undergrad journal. stay with your lab for a while. maybe do a summer research thing in industry where research is very different and is driven by money. and get a letter from your researcher.
     
  10. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    i think research helped me get into med school. do it only if you like it and pick a lab where you will get some attention. tell them that you eventually want to do an independant project (which is cool). then fund your research with fellowships (your pi will love you for that) and submit your abstracts for presentations at research conferences and go present because premeds do research but most don't take the extra step to present their work. maybe write a paper and try to get it published in an undergrad journal. stay with your lab for a while. maybe do a summer research thing in industry where research is very different and is driven by money. and get a letter from your researcher.
     
  11. EC

    EC

    Hi Medical22,

    I worked in an organic synthesis lab for the past year and am just starting to work in a biochem lab. Even though I don't think working in the organic lab will help prepare me for med school, I really liked it. I got hands-on experience working with lab apparatus. Plus, I got to present at several meetings and am now working on a paper with my professor to submit in a journal. It was an extremely rewarding experience and I definitely got a lot out of it.

    However, research is definitely not for everyone...some find it extremely boring. And it's definitely not necessary to get into medical school. My sister is in medical school and never did research. If you think you might be interested though, then I say give it a try. The worst that can happen is that you'll realize that you don't want research to be a part of your career.

    EC
     
  12. Skye04

    Skye04 Senior Member
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    Hey there :)

    I have been working in a genetic engineering lab for the past year (about 12-14 hrs per week) during undergrad and it is AWESOME. The lab is trying to genetically modify yeast so that their glycosylation pathway will be comparable to humans, so yeast can be an more feasible system to produce human proteins in. I think your research experience will depend a LOT on the lab that you are in and how compatible you are with the postdocs and other lab members. I think the longer you are able to work in the same lab the better, because then you are able to eventually work independently and really get integrated into the lab. Other than actual research techniques, I have also been exposed to intellectual property laws, the perks and downsides to a life of research, and so on. I would say GO FOR IT if you are interested in research, and if possible try to visit the lab before deciding because that should give you a better idea about whether you would enjoy working in that particular lab. :p
     
  13. dukeblue01

    dukeblue01 Senior Member
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    I worked in a Biochem lab my senior year doing an independent study project in cancer research. I loved it, but I knew that my real strength would probably be in clinical research rather than basic science. So I took a job thi year in clinical research and enjoy that much more. I had to experience both before I knew which one was right for me. Both are invaluable experiences, and really teach you abou the methods of science. That is the important thing to take away from research, the methods and design of science.
     
  14. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    When I was in high school I did an internship in a neuroscience lab because I thought I wanted to go into medical research. I really really disliked it, but then later realized it was because I sat on my ass for 8 hours a day since there wasn't much I was qualified to do - I was signed on to handle computerized data analysis, but the implants never worked the whole time I was there.

    So I gave it another shot in college, mainly because I needed the money so I did a summer internship/program in the Dept. of Physiology and BioPhysics during the summer of my sophomore year. That turned out to be really interesting - my project involved localizing particular calcium channel subunits involved in epilepsy. At first I was terrified - I was afraid I'd mess things up, calculate dilutions and stuff wrong, whatever. But it ended up being a really good experience. It does help in your classes...especially if you're a biology major. Everyone and their mother does Western blots (or Northerns and Southerns) and so when the time comes that you learn about those techniques in say...your molecular cell bio class, you'll understand it and have first hand knowledge with how it works. It'll also keep fresh the basic chemistry (mainly stoichiometry or chemical equilibria or pH stuff) that you'll need for the MCAT. It also helped a bit with anatomy and things that have appeared on the MCAT before (what a neuron looks like, basic anatomy of brain regions, etc.)

    That summer, the data I collected turned out to be very good and it's their best to date, so for 10 weeks of work...I'm getting published although not as first author or anything.

    After that summer I went on a year abroad and came back this year to the same lab. Now a whole other host of opportunities have come up - a project with NASA in which particular antibodies might be taken up to space with the astronauts (not quite sure what this is about), and a project with the Navy to generate antibodies to Anthrax. Right now I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing because I just got back to school, but have been doing some derivitization of antibodies (fancy name for the process of coupling antibodies directly using fluorophores) and I'm not sure where that's going to lead yet. But this year it has helped refresh certain basic science concepts that you tend to forget over 4 years, plus I see applications in the chemical bio course that I'm taking (although physiologists take a different approach...many people studying physiology are biochemists).

    Anyway, in a long answer to your question...it's helpful and if you choose a lab that you think researches something fascinating, it can be a very rewarding experience. They just liked me because I listened to music and danced while working, so I was a "fun wild child" compared to the absent-minded professor types.
     
  15. Dancing Nancie

    Dancing Nancie MCW class of 2007
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    Do it! I didn't get into med school last year, so I got a job in a research lab studying cancer enzymes. That totally helped on my interviews, especially because an interviewer I had at one school ran a cancer research lab. Plus, when interviewers talk with you, they want to see that you havve knowledge of research methods and topics. Lab or clinical research is a great asset to your app.
     

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