Quantcast

Industrial vs. Research Labwork

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Striatum14

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
168
Reaction score
200

Members don't see this ad.
Hi!

Over the summer I interned in a molecular biology lab at a biotech company. However, this clearly doesn't count as research, and I would eventually like to get some research experience if I decide to go down the MD/PhD route. The thing is that I got invited by the mol bio lab to intern with them again next summer, and I don't exactly have any research gigs lined up for next summer. Do you think I should stick with the mol bio lab or go with research at my school if I end up finding something?

Thanks!
 

WedgeDawg

not actually a dog
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
7,690
Reaction score
12,992
Why do you think it doesn't count as research?
 

vantheman

Full Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
324
Reaction score
237
Over the past 3+ years I have been involved in both academic basic research and biotech research and development. I choose academia 10 out 10 times
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Striatum14

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
168
Reaction score
200
Protein expression, protein purification, protein quant, DNA purification, DNA quant. all summer. I got to do a lot of cool stuff, and I got paid. This seems more like work experience rather than research, since it was not really research but development/industry, but could I still list it as "research?"
 

ChrisMack390

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
3,379
Reaction score
4,614
What was the point of doing all that? I'm assuming it was developing a drug candidate? Drug discovery is research.
 

Gibbward

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2015
Messages
828
Reaction score
887
Protein expression, protein purification, protein quant, DNA purification, DNA quant. all summer. I got to do a lot of cool stuff, and I got paid. This seems more like work experience rather than research, since it was not really research but development/industry, but could I still list it as "research?"

That's like 70% of what I did in my academic research experiences! As long as you understand what those proteins/dna samples are for and articulate why you need them, it should still count.
 

typhoonegator

Neurointensivist
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
1,868
Reaction score
885
Sort of two questions here:

1. Was what I did before "research"? The answer is yes, if your activities were part of an overall project *that you understood and could explain to others*, and if your productivity furthered the goals of that project. Getting paid to do it has nothing to do with it, nor does the fact that it was furthering target development in a for-profit environment. If you were operating in a core facility (i.e. samples show up, you purify and quantify, and ship out without knowing the story behind the samples or what people are going to do with them), then that's just work that happens to pertain to mol bio. Holding a pipette and using terms you've heard in a biology class doesn't make what you're doing research, in that case. Still great exposure though.

2. Should I do that again or join an academic lab? Tough to know given what you've presented thus far. If your answer to question 1 turns out to be "yes" and you have a chance to work towards answering a particular question (doesn't have to be defined by you, and in biotech it rarely would be anyway), then I would consider it. That said, biotech doesn't have much of a mentorship focus, nor do they tend to be particularly interested in professional development outside of the company's interests. That's just the nature of it. In academia, you'd be working for people who are used to the quid pro quo of having pre-meds working in the lab, and they'd be more interested in helping you maximize your academic results, i.e. being on some posters and abstracts. While getting published isn't the end-all-be-all at this stage of your career, it is certainly helpful to have quantifiable results. Finally, if you end up doing a PhD, then having a letter from an academic PI will likely carry more weight than a letter from a senior research scientist at a biotech company (or whatever rank the company has for your boss over there).
 

wholeheartedly

Epi Geek
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
10+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2009
Messages
7,378
Reaction score
6,089
Good advice thus far. I think @typhoonegator nailed it.

the question about whether it was paid wasn't to evaluate the quality of the experience so much as get additional factors that might be important to the OP, such as having additional funds to pay rent.
 
Top