Drosophila Lab - Pub easy pub??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by basketball, May 13, 2008.

  1. basketball

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    hi I will be applying for research positions soon, and I was wondering if it is easy to get publications working with drosophila. Im not sure what the project is gonna be about, but Im assuming that it will be hard to collect data cuz u have to breed flies for a long time.

    anyways, does anyone know if it is easy to get publications working with fruit flies?? (after working for ~1 yr... also, the prof's lab is fairly small and hasn't published in 2 yrs) or should I find someone else?

    thanks
     
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  3. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)

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    Being last, or close to last, author (and you most likely will be as an undergrad) is worth nil. The experience and technical knowledge you get from research is the real goal. Which do you think looks better to an interviewer, a candidate who is actively engaged in their research and knows the ins and outs, or a candidate who points to their name on a paper they didn't write and just shrugs when asked about the techniques involved?
     
  4. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    As an undergrad, the main focus is on learning, then on doing. It's all about gaining experience. When your focus begins with wondering how easy it is to get pubs, it's in the wrong place for you to get the most benefit from being there.

    Drosophila are a model organism. When you're in a drosophila lab, you aren't really studying drosophila, but looking into issues that will possibly carry over to other organisms. Some studies are quick. Some aren't. That doesn't make them any less valuable.

    Please don't get sucked into the thinking pattern that pubs are the be all end all for undergrad research. PI's make fun of students who come in expecting to be paid off with a quick pub. (And 1 year turn around in research is QUICK)
     
  5. Cegar

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    [quote="VneZonyDostupa]Being last, or close to last, author (and you most likely will be as an undergrad) is worth nil. The experience and technical knowledge you get from research is the real goal. Which do you think looks better to an interviewer, a candidate who is actively engaged in their research and knows the ins and outs, or a candidate who points to their name on a paper they didn't write and just shrugs when asked about the techniques involved?
    [/quote]
    I call bull****. Most adcoms will look upon any kind of published research favorably.


    Drosophile is a model organism. The organism doesn't generally determine if the research will be published.
     
  6. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)

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    Yes, clearly the adcoms look favorably on a candidate when their name is last on the list and all they did was scrub test tubes in order to get a quick pub out the door :sleep:.

    Experience > publications. Always.
     
  7. Cegar

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    You said they were worth nil.

    I called bull**** on that specific part of your post.

    Mind you, I'm still calling bull**** on that bit.

    It will take a lot of convincing for me to uncall it.
     
  8. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Considering that in many pubs, it's the PI whose name comes last, yes they would.

    But your equation is true.
     
  9. moose21

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    I worked with fruit flies as an undergrad and generated enough data for a paper in about a year. But, it took about two years to finally publish the study.

    Fruit flies are very easy to work with, as larvae and adults. They grow and reproduce quickly, are genetically tractable, and don't require much maintenance. So compared to model organisms like mice, you won't spend a lot of time breeding. If you are really impatient, you should look into working with yeast or bacteria. Their life cycles can be controlled very easily and you won't spend much time waiting for them to mature. If you plan on doing behavioral or developmental work with flies, controlling their growth rate can be a bitch, which dictates when you can do your experiments, thus making your life a living hell.

    If the lab you are looking at doesn't have a long history of strong pubs, then I might be a bit concerned if they haven't published for 2 years. But, almost all labs experience slow times for one reason or another. However, no med school is going to require an undergrad pub, so that should really be the last thing on your mind. In my humble opinion, you should be searching for labs based on your interest in the subject of investigation. Then ask yourself if you can get along with the PI of that lab. My interest in the research and relationship with my PI were the two most important things that affected my educational expereince and productivity. In other words, don't do research just to fluff up your resume with a publication.

    I hope this little rant helps and that your research experience is as educational and rewarding as mine was.
     
  10. ryandote

    ryandote Member

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    #9 ryandote, May 13, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  11. ryandote

    ryandote Member

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    #10 ryandote, May 13, 2008
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  12. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)

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    Well, then you and Cegar may want to educate the adcoms at several medical schools =/ They seem to be under the impression that empty research for the sake of publication is actually worse than not stepping into the lab at all, which I agree with. Why take up resources and time that could be spent on someone who actually wants to learn and further science?
     
  13. Doublecortin

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    :eek: that's the problem right there! stay away from it like the plague. the fact that they haven't published in so long is a sign of a distressed lab, find another lab
     
  14. nogolfinsnow

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    Last = PI of the lab. First = did the vast majority of the work. Other than that, I think where you are authored on the paper doesn't really matter if you can get a good LOR from the PI. Even if you're in the middle of the author pack but the PI writes an LOR saying you're a great worker, etc, I think that's helpful. Your place in the paper isn't always related to the work you did. A PI from a different was listed as 2nd author on a paper from our lab but all he did was ship us 1 mouse (granted nothing would have happened w/o that 1 mouse, but still...). So the tech who did a lot of the work while the lead researcher (who is an MD) was out of the lab became 3rd author. But if the PI says you bust your a$$ and are smart and can solve problems and design studies, then that's what matters.
     
  15. Doublecortin

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    i would disagree there. yes you should learn and know your stuff, but in the end, having a publication validates that you are good at science, it's the gold standard of academic excellence if you will. ideally, you would want to work in a lab where you'll learn AND end up with a publication(s)
     
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  17. Doublecortin

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    :bullcrap:
     
  18. BigRedder

    BigRedder Passing Gas

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    I'm going to further emphasize this point. You can do a lot with flies, but make sure you like it or you will slack off and the research will suffer. If you have to control development, and you have to be at the lab at certain times, you need to have a lot of flexibility in your class schedule.

    Pubs are nice, but adcoms know that they are 50% luck.
     
  19. horhay1241

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    Maybe you should try to publish in an undergrad journal if your school has one. Those tend to require less data, and work in general. But working with flies doesn't say much unless you know what specifically you are working on.
     
  20. kevster2001

    kevster2001 Senior Member

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    hasn't published in 2 years??? Sounds like a deadend lab. And bench research is really hit or miss, getting published is basically all luck in finding the right lab and the right project that'll produce results in time for a publication. Dont count on getting a publication
     
  21. ryandote

    ryandote Member

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    #19 ryandote, May 13, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  22. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    Definitely agree. Publication implies experience.
     
  23. bozz

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    How can someone with a name somewhere on a publication not be able to talk about their research?

    You know more than the interviewer... even if you've done nothing, it's not hard to explain what you've done to the interviewer
     
  24. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Oh, it happens. Some labs toss names in for anyone who ever touched the project, even if they didn't make any actual intellectual contribution. It hasn't been that long since there was a panic thread on the Md/PhD forum from a guy who listed a pub with his name on it & had an interview coming up, but didn't know a thing about the work. I think he had worked in the lab a few years previously.
     
  25. remo

    remo Senior Member

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    I would tend to agree with this but you really should look at the track record of the PI and not how long it's been since the lab published something. I went to work in a drosoph lab that hadn't published in about 1-2 years. At first it looked like it could be a deadend. However, within the next 2 years everyone in the lab (phd students and post-docs) got published. All the projects seemed to come together at once and everyone hit one after the other. I got in a pub but it took almost 2 years of work and almost another year before the paper was actually accepted. Bottom line is basic science is a tough go if you are looking for pubs. If you want your name on a paper you are better off going for clinical research where the projects are shorter. I also heard that chemistry research churns out a lot of papers pretty quickly.
     
  26. bozz

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    definitely. I know of atleast 3 people who simply worked with Excel Spreadsheets and got their names on a pub. No problem. But if they read past literature about the project, even if they haven't been involved in the actual research, they could be able to pass it off as their own, can't they?
     
  27. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    If they understand it, they can. I think it's much better to honestly portray one's contribution in a situation like that. Humility, in such instances, really is respected. Just say that you were happy to have been able to contribute in whatever way that you actually did. Besides, it would be really awkward if you wound up having an interviewer who was familiar with related research & you really had no idea what he was talking about. It's better not to risk a bluff.
     
  28. bozz

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    :thumbup:
     
  29. kami333

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    I have two publications and an abstract that I really didn't have any input on other than running a few sequences(which I didn't know what they were at the time), I had to read the paper after it came out;) If they ever come up I'll just say that all I did was run a few sequences for those and steer their interest towards the papers I was more involved in.

    Some adcom members can be very focused on the number of pubs you have (my PI is one of them).
     

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