New Member
Feb 23, 2018
  1. Pre-Medical
    I'm currently fielding a few internship offers, as a Junior and Computational Biology Major. Despite talking to a few advisors and reps from each program, I am still extremely stressed in deciding which to accept. I want to pursue MDPhD programs after taking a gap year for some sort of biomedical or clinical research.

    Option 1: Broad Institute (of MIT and Harvard) Summer Research Program:
    No certainty as to who will be my PI, or whether I'll leave the 9 week program with publishable data or what specific lab I'll be working with. Most PI's will be PhD's and not MD's, and will not include patient contact. Very little contact with mentors until start of program.

    Pros: Likely very competitive. High pay, awesome area, awesome PI's, which will make the PhD part of MD/PhD more competitive for me. Recommendation from MIT or Harvard faculty. I am very much interested in the subjects that past interns have had, and would participate in a poster showing at MIT or the Broad.

    Cons: Could easily not yield data that I could use for a senior thesis (I need to generate this data to apply for a thesis in the Fall). Only 9 weeks. Matches with a mentor are made in May, so I won't have time to prepare for the scope of the research (learn specific/new applications of things I already know, etc).

    Option 2: University of Cincinatti SURF GE:
    I already have interviewed with a mentor for this program who is excited to have me, is an MD/PhD, and wants to use my computational biology experience. They would set me up to design and work with a software suite oriented towards EEG, to spend my 10 weeks actually at UCinn collecting data with patients in the NeuroICU, and would set me up to continue data collection afterward in my absence. The PI is also emphasizing that this will have a high enough data yield for a potential graduate thesis, and will orient toward a likely publication.

    Pros: I've never had a 1st author paper or abstract, so this would be a super cool chance for me. Making my experience last more than just 9-10 weeks seems wonderful, and clinical experience is always helpful (although I can gain more clinical experience during my gap year as well). Mentor is well regarded and is an adjunct at Johns Hopkins (and is super nice). Will almost certainly yield a large data pool, and give me a path toward enhancing my medical school and grad school applications. Allows me time to orient to the scope of the research, to make the most of my time in Cincinatti.

    Cons: Much less financial compensation, less competitive program, and I'm already really busy this semester and next fall, so spending ~10 hours per week for the rest of this semester and through senior year will be difficult.

    I'm having a really hard time balancing these. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be accepted to a Harvard/MIT/MassGen affiliated program, and I am definitely interested in genomics research and interdisciplinary and translational biomedicine. However, as a rising senior, I really want to find the best path to having publishable data, if not the best path toward graduate school/medical school.

    If any one of you has insight about either program, or wants to knock some sense into me, please do! I feel very fortunate to have the chance to choose, but choosing not to do either one is so very difficult for me.
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