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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 10+ Year Member

    May 22, 2005
    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! 10+ Year Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    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? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    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 10+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2003
    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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