U4iA

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Hello everyone. I am interested in ENT and I have two options for summer research that I find to be incredibly interesting. They both deal with the otology and I am having trouble choosing between the two.

1) Characterizing the genes involved in inner ear development.
2) Mapping the genes of several large families to determine the cause of deafness.

I like both positions equally and they offer similar opportunities. What criteria do you think are important to choose a research project?
 

doc05

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regardless of which specialty you're considering make sure the project (1) is
interesting to you; (2) will be presented at a national meeting; (3) will be published.

other good criteria are (4) is your PI well-known and will a letter of reference carry any weight; (5) will you be able to continue with related research in the same lab, resulting in additional publications?
 

TheThroat

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I think that it depends on what you want to do with the research and eventually, with your career. Honestly, I was pretty sure that I didn't want to be an academician, so I talked to some faculty about doing something that would help me get into residency.

I did two months of basic science work on outer hair cells (it was interesting stuff), got a letter out of it, was able to talk about it in my interviews, and then matched.

My project later fell through, never got published, and never got presented.

So, under doc05's criteria, I met #1 and #4, but not #2, #3, or #5. I think you should do whatever project is most interesting to you. No matter what you end up doing, getting onto a project that you don't like will be torture.
 

Celiac Plexus

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do the project that has the highest likelihood of getting published. that's really the only thing that matters. work for a pi that is publishing a lot of stuff, and has a big lab, and lots of resources. you'll learn more (from the other peeps in the lab) and you will have a much greater chance of getting published. avoid working with a pi that is not publishing much, has a small lab, and has minimal grant resources...

remember, publishing is the only thing that matters...
 

misconception?

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TheThroat said:
I did two months of basic science work on outer hair cells (it was interesting stuff), got a letter out of it, was able to talk about it in my interviews, and then matched.
What department was the research in?

TheThroat said:
My project later fell through, never got published, and never got presented.
At what point in medical school did you do the project? I could see how a MS4 research elective doesn't need get published/presented (since you will match before it could even be published) but what about research from earlier in school?

My main question: Is it a good idea to get involved in some basic science research during MS1 for a couple hours a week? Or would it be better to focus on academics and having a social life?
 

neutropeniaboy

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misconception? said:
My main question: Is it a good idea to get involved in some basic science research during MS1 for a couple hours a week? Or would it be better to focus on academics and having a social life?
This really is an unanswerable question.

Really the two aren't mutually exclusive. It's of a greater concern, however, for you to do well on Step I than to have research. So, if you have to study until you go to bed and all weekend long to do well, then skip the research until your 4th year.

I know some people will hammer me for this, but your social life really should be subordinate to all other considerations at this point in your life. For all intents and purposes, you've got basically one shot at this, and you don't want to screw it up. Have fun after the match. Forget the social life now. If you have extra time, pour it into research.

You don't have to have a publication to match into ENT. You don't have to have a presentation at a major meeting to match into ENT. However, I really do think that you need to have demonstrated interest in research and more importantly that you can talk intelligently about the research that you did.

There were many applicants who had several publications -- some of them even first authors -- who really couldn't discuss their research or extrapolate beyond. Your ability to talk about what you did and propose some applications or future directions is what really sets you apart.
 

TheThroat

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I did the project in the summer before my MS4 year.

I disagree that publishing is all that counts in doing a project. I agree with neutrapeniaboy in that being able to discuss the research that you did in a coherent manner during interviews is vital.

As far as social life in MS1 year goes vs doing research, I would argue that staying sane in the first year is of utmost importance. Study when you have to, but you've got to have a healthy social life to maintain focus. I would have been burned out if all I did was focus on my career. Life's too short for that. As far as research goes in MS1 year, I would focus more on grades than trying to put in hours towards research. I would encourage students who knew that they wanted to go Oto, although its difficult to make a decision in the MS1 year, to contact some of their faculty and see if you can get into a small clinical project (case report, retrospective review, etc). This will open doors to get into other projects during your MS3 and 4 years.