• SDN Site Updates

    Hey everyone! The site will be down for approximately 2 hours on Thursday, August 5th for site updates.

Marquis_Phoenix

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
May 6, 2006
95
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Post Doc
I'm just trying to get a sense of how critical it is to have a first author publication, or any publication for that matter for MD/PhD programs applying straight out of undergraduate.

It seems virtually impossible to get a first-author publication out of my current lab (HHMI Investigator). It is a large, distinguished laboratory with 5+ postdoctoral fellows that produces 20+ publications annually in almost solely in high impact factor journals (5+ journals: Nature, Science, etc.). The past track-record suggests that at best, if I did remain in this laboratory for 2-3 years, I would be looking at third to sixth author paper as an undergraduate.

Will I be punished for remaining in the same laboratory for 2-3 years without having a first author publication? Would it be advisable to switch to smaller laboratory that has fewer people working in it to increase the chance of getting authorship at all? Or can a strong recommendation letter from such a distinguished researcher (despite the lack of a publication in time for application, let alone first author) make up for the lack of a publication?

Moreover, suppose that one moved around from lab to lab, from internship to internship, during the summers to try different areas within a field or gain new experience at a different lab. Would that be unfavorable to get a breadth of experience that doesn't necessarily result in first-author publications?
 

Dr.Watson

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
236
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Most people on the interview trail didn't have any publications. Some definitely had their name on one or two. I don't think I met anyone with a first author publication. It's rare to do enough work as an undergrad to merit a first author publication. Any with a first author probably took a year or two off. Really, you'll do plenty of publishing once you're in the program. They just want to see you've done enough meaningful research to know what you're getting yourself into.

Also, I don't think breadth will hurt you as long as you have meaningful experiences. Personally, I did quite a few labs (staying from 3 months to 2 years) and found it to be great. (Ironically, my 3 month summer lab produced the publications with my name on it =). I definitely have a good idea of what I'm looking for in a PI and how very different every lab is. One lab for 4 yrs wouldn't have given me that perspective.
 
About the Ads

ThatOne

New Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2006
90
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'll second Dr. Watson on the breadth issue. Depth is important too, for sure, but a lot of my interviewers commented favorably that I had both breadth and depth in my laboratory experiences.
 

Auraraptor

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 16, 2007
147
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
You don't need any publications to get in, but it definately helps.
 

Jorje286

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2004
637
75
Status (Visible)
I don't think getting publications (and what author you are) matters that much. For example, a sixth author on a publication wouldn't necessarily have an advantage over someone who was really involved in his work and got the chance to develop his research skills. What the admissions want to see is evidence that you know what research is all about, and that you're good at it. Someone with a great letter of recommendation and seemingly knows what he talks about when he describes his research experience would have an advantage over an other who just got his name on a publication from a minor involvement. So my point is, as long as you feel that you are having the chance to develop your research skills in the lab and to show that development to your mentor, you're fine.
 

chirurgino

A pound of flesh
10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2006
67
0
The dark side of the moon
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Having a publication absolutely is NOT required. Obviously if you were Jim Watson or something it would be a bonus, but I certainly hope if that were the case you wouldn't be throwing away your Nobel-prize-winning career by applying to an MD-PhD program.

You're already doing great, working for a high-profile HHMI lab. Just make sure that you're going all-out in the lab--you are learning far, far, far more about science there than you are in your science classes, believe me--and make sure that you clean house with that strong letter.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 14 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.