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Good research - Bad mentor

TLalo

New Member
Feb 10, 2015
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  1. Medical Student
    Hi guys,
    I'm an MS1 looking for a research project for the summer. I met with several physicians/PhDs at my school and found a project that I am very interested in. During our interview, the PI basically said the position was mine and that I could give him an answer whenever I made a decision.

    On the evening of the interview day, I sent him an email about a random question on the study and only got a reply 10 days later (after I sent a 2nd follow up email). At this point I accepted the offer and 7 days later still no answer. I understand that physicians are very busy but I am starting to realize that this person might not be the best mentor for me. Meanwhile the deadline to apply for summer stipend is getting closer and I am still unsure of what is going on. On top of that I was informed that the study is not IRB approved yet (if the IRB is not approved by the summer, I end up with nothing).

    So I would like to withdraw myself from consideration now so that I have time to find another project for the summer. I'm not really sure how to formulate my email since I already said I wanted to work with him but didn't get a reply. How shall I proceed? Shall I send an email assuming that since he didn't reply he found someone else? I don't want to sound exasperated.

    Help please
     

    NickNaylor

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    1. Attending Physician
      Just tell him that you found another position that you're more interested in pursuing and, as mentioned above, thank him for the opportunity. This kind of thing happens all the time. Don't worry about offending people.
       
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      Mr DebtAnatomy

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        I completely agree with the previous comments. The important thing about research as a medical student is to publish publish publish. Maximizing your publishing rate often requires finding the right PI who churns out papers. You shouldn't worry about offending the physician by backing out. There will be another medical school student willing to offer up free labor who fills your spot in a heart beat. Look out for yourself, and find the right "fit" with your research mentor.
         

        TREDWISE

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        Feb 12, 2014
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        1. Medical Student (Accepted)
          I don't really think you need to send him another email if he didn't respond to your email accepting the position. I agree with the others though that if he doesn't have the time to respond to your emails he probably isn't churning out papers.
           

          phunky

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          Nov 21, 2012
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            Your mentor is much more important than the research you're doing early in your career. A bad mentor will not move your projects forward and won't understand their importance to you. I went through this before applying to medical school. I had several projects in manuscript phase that could have been a big help to my application, but my mentor decided to table them for almost a year because she wanted to start a new clinical study and made that the lab's priority.

            If I learned anything from the experience, it's that you have to be extremely clear about your goals when you accept a position. It's not rude to define what you want to get out of the experience, and you can't expect someone near the end of their career to know what you are looking for at the beginning unless you tell them.
             

            starstarie

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            Oct 22, 2009
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              I don't really think you need to send him another email if he didn't respond to your email accepting the position. I agree with the others though that if he doesn't have the time to respond to your emails he probably isn't churning out papers.

              Definitely do NOT do this!!! You most definitely need to write him an email informing him that you will not be working with him. If you don't it could come back and bite you in the butt. You never know who you will end up having to work with in the future. You need to be professional and tell him. Two people I know recently had bad experiences for doing similar things.

              At the same time, like others have said, he will not care at all, which is clear by the lack of interest in responding to you. If anything having you work with them is more work/energy for them, so they probably could care less. Esp. if there is no IRB that is a good reason no to do it.
               
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