Shirafune

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I'm just wondering how other campuses' involvement in undergrad research are or lack there of. I'd like to hear current and retrospective perspectives on how much research is emphasized at your campus. How adequately does your campus develop your scientific writing, analytical skills, skills for hypothesis testing, and etc?

Personally, the molecular bio majors (biochem, cell bio, genetics, etc) and perhaps other majors like physiology and general bio at my school have an inadequate curriculum. For the most part, the students here are severely underdeveloped as far as the aforementioned research techniques/skills go. I would even say that we are not even receiving a competitive amount of content. The only way to learn these things seems to be through an intensive undergrad research experience where you are constantly reading lit, preparing experimental outlines, and presenting at lab meetings/journal club among other things. And if it matters, I go to a UC.

Is it just my campus or are these trends pervasive at the undergrad level...? Also interested in how undergrad research experience (perhaps specifically bench work) prepares med students for research in med school whether it be clinical or bench.
 

Lawper

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Not all molecular bio majors want to prepare themselves for going into graduate school, MSTPs or research-heavy MDs (in the context of basic science). So I would say that the research "illiteracy" in the biology departments is actually quite common in many, if not, all universities. There isn't anything wrong with that, and it is better for anyone who is actually interested/devoted to research to pursue the intensive research track for themselves and not through some general administrative enforcement.

And any research experience will help for medical school research thanks to its common emphasis on hypothesis-driven research and data analysis. If anything, bench work probably gives some medical students a small advantage in managing all the complex experiments efficiently (and more generally, better time management).
 
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Shirafune

Shirafune

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Not all molecular bio majors want to prepare themselves for going into graduate school, MSTPs or research-heavy MDs (in the context of basic science). So I would say that the research "illiteracy" in the biology departments is actually quite common in many, if not, all universities. There isn't anything wrong with that, and it is better for anyone who is actually interested/devoted to research to pursue the intensive research track for themselves and not through some general administrative enforcement.

And any research experience will help for medical school research thanks to its common emphasis on hypothesis-driven research and data analysis. If anything, bench work probably gives some medical students a small advantage in managing all the complex experiments efficiently (and more generally, better time management).
Somehow I feel like the kind of thinking research requires is important for many aspects of medicine. Don't have any data that suggests physicians with prior research experiences provide more accurate healthcare, but I think this is a reasonable suggestion.

Alternatives to graduate school or higher education in healthcare for molecular bio majors such as biotech may not require much thinking, but with only a bachelors, it can hardly be considered a terminal career path. Not sure what you can really do with just a bachelors in biology. Even if you plan on teaching high school biology for example, I'd argue that teachers should have moderate proficiency with these skills in case high achieving students are interested in high school research programs or are just curious.

But I guess dentistry, PT, or other healthcare fields may require less of this line of thinking...
 

Pusheen

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Not everyone is interested in going into research.
Some classes have a small research component, e.g. design an experiment, write a report, ect. I think that's plenty for the careers you mentioned in your post above. People who are actually interested in research in a career can pursue actual research opportunities at school or elsewhere
 

Dandine

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@Shirafune

That's an interesting thought about physicians with research experience; I'd like to know this as well!

I'm just wondering how other campuses' involvement in undergrad research are or lack there of. I'd like to hear current and retrospective perspectives on how much research is emphasized at your campus. How adequately does your campus develop your scientific writing, analytical skills, skills for hypothesis testing, and etc?

...

Is it just my campus or are these trends pervasive at the undergrad level...? Also interested in how undergrad research experience (perhaps specifically bench work) prepares med students for research in med school whether it be clinical or bench.
Speaking as someone who went to a research-heavy school, I'd say that the opportunities for research were all over. That said, many of the skills I developed wasn't taught to me directly; I did learn how to write in lab classes and took a research seminar, but I had to tailor those skills to the field I was in. Luckily there were very helpful, supportive people in my lab.

I think it makes sense that you tend to get more out of research the more you are actually involved in it, attempting to understand what your specific lab does and how they actually look at data. It therefore also makes sense that intensive programs do exist that specifically tailor to people who are interested in research.

Can't say anything about med student's perspectives since I'm not there yet. At base level, I think that the pure "how to do research" skills that I learned within class settings were beneficial, but there was still a lot I had to learn once I got to the lab I ended up in.
 

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At my undergrad there were ~0 research opportunities for undergrads.

The research labs (there were a couple) were for grad students only. Occasionally they would take an undergrad to clean glassware or make stock solutions, but they often got 100+ applications for each position.

Yeah, I went to a no-name state school. Sorry.