General pre-med research questions

Discussion in 'Student Research and Publishing' started by PullingThrough, Oct 13, 2006.

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  1. PullingThrough


    Oct 13, 2006
    Hey, I got a couple questions about pre-med research:

    - Does it help to have a research position in a medical school, or is any research position good enough?

    - If you have a good position, should you try and stay in that position for a while (2-3 years) or should you keep switching labs and trying to get better positions? In other words, do med schools like seeing consistency?

    - What are the best summer research programs for pre-meds?

    - I'm also a freshman who did research over the summer and now have the opportunity to publish. I have the choice of trying to publish as a first author (I'd have to write the whole paper) or second author (I'd summarize my data maybe write some of the discussion). Since I'm still adjusting to the college life, publishing as second author would be more convenient. However, is there a really big difference between publishing as first author or second author? Does second author get any recognition? And will med schools distinguish these? (I'm trying to publish in a journal, by the way)

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  3. vtucci

    vtucci Attending in Emergency Medicine Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2003
    If you can get a research position in a medical school as a freshman in college, all the power to you.

    Publishing first or second author is extremely impressive at the pre-med level. If you are concerned about the courseload and the first v. second, make an agreement with your co-author to do another paper, in which you will be first author, letting them be first author for this one. That way, you work it in with your schedule.

    What type of research do you want to do? Clinical or basic science? Are you thinking about pursuing an MD/PhD?

    If clinical, you do not need to be in a lab but need to find a resident or attending who is busy and needs the help. If basic science and or MD/PhD, find an active lab and see how many publications they have cranked out and what the policy is with students and by-lines.
  4. PullingThrough


    Oct 13, 2006
    Ok, thanks!

    I also forgot to mention that my mentor and I will be the only people authoring the paper. I was recently told that if this is the case, first vs. second author doesn't matter all that much.
  5. streetlight

    streetlight Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 5, 2005
    Boston, MA
    how do you go about finding an attending or resident who is too busy and needs help with clinical work? i have plenty of lab experience/papers, however I'd like to get in some clinical experience, esp while i'm in a big medical hub like boston
  6. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    It's better, but if you show that you can do research, then that's what's important. If anything, a reviewer would want to know why you chose something non-medical.

    I don't think it's as much "consistency" as value to yourself. To get any good experiment from start to finish (i.e., "Let's test this hypothesis" -> "The article was accepted!") takes 2-3 years. Articles look good on the CV, and it takes years of work to get a research project (especially in the basic sciences,) to the submission stage.

    Whatever one you can get into. Don't worry about it. If you've got some wizz-bang international science program for a summer, do it. If you've got 2 years of research experience that you're going to publish in "Semiconductors Monthly" from, then that's great too.

    I'd go for the first author. You're just starting out and you will get a lot of mileage out of that paper, especially if you're first author. It'll look good for as long as you put it on your CV. Going for the easy 2nd is tempting. But I think this being your first paper, and the chances of you getting another in the near future is small, I think it'd be worth the extra effort.

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