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Finding the right research mentor/connections

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by hardworker101, May 12, 2008.

  1. hardworker101

    hardworker101 Member
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    I have been told many times that finding the right research lab is important for very competitive programs, mainly because the well known researchers also know a lot of influential people in residency programs. Therefore, a well-known research mentor will not only write you a letter of recommendation that will help in your residency applications, but he/she will make phone calls on your behalf to his/her friends.

    So, my question is: How would I know which researchers are well-known and which ones are not? I will be attending medical school far from my undergrand school so I have no idea about the reputation of the researchers there.

    Any advice is appreciated as I try to find the right lab, obviously my interest in the lab plays a big factor too.

    Thank you
     
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  3. da me ka don

    da me ka don Not in your P.I.'s lab!
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    I might not know much, but you could start by using the internet.;)
    For whatever specialty/research topic you are interested in, find the best peer reviewed journal on that subject. Say e.g. for neuroscience- Neuron, and for cell biologists, its Cell. Versus other general journals like Nature or Science. Look for the professor that does a LOT of work that gets published in big time journals. Although, it might also mean it will be harder to get a position.
    Well known mentors are also usually featured on the front pages of the department's website, or frequently appear in the internal newspaper of the hospital or school. Just do a lot of readings on your subject of interest, and the person who keeps coming up in pubmed searches, and is in your school might just be quite popular. Usually because a lot of collaboration is needed in research. So they will also know a lot of other influential people.


    My lil' $0.02.
     
  4. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor?
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    Read my research FAQ for how to find a research mentor in med school.

    Between a "no-name" lab where I'd get published + experience + training vs. a "big name" lab, I'll go for no-name 100% of the time. The value in doing research is building a skill set and generating a track record of good work (i.e. pubs). A "big name" will mean different things to different people in different fields, meaning you can't change your mind on which residency you choose. A big name won't guarantee you learning anything, or a pub, or that you'll actually work with the big name (i.e., post-docs). Focus on finding a productive place with a mentor that can teach you.
     
  5. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    Agreed. If you pick someone based on their fame you'll most likely hardly ever see the guy (or gal), and you most likely won't ever make it past 4th author on his/her publications. Pick someone who will spend time and mentor you on the in and outs of research.
     

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