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Meeting With Potential Research Professor Tomorrow.. What to Expect

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Jared.mock, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. Jared.mock

    Jared.mock Probationary Status
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    Hey everyone,

    So I'm meeting with my physiology professor tomorrow, he's a neuroscience researcher and I would love to get a position in his lab since my medical interest is neurology.

    We already talked via email about how many hours I'm willing to put in (I told him 15-20/week) and I expressed my interest in a few of his projects.

    Tomorrow I have a meeting with him and a graduate student so I'm going to drive 100 miles to campus just for this meeting. He told me that he will tell me definitively if I can work in his lab after this meeting.

    So I'm reading all of his recent publications to acquaint myself with his research more.

    Naturally I'm nervous that something would come up and he would decline giving me this position. Can anyone who has been in my position before please tell me what to expect? What not to do, etc?

    Thanks
     
  2. intangible

    intangible a tiny existentialist
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    You don't have to read all of his recent publications. They will teach you over time: this is the purpose of joining research in general.

    Just be open and honest, explain your situation and ask how they can help you achieve your academic goals. If you're lucky, your PI will serve as both your PI and science mentor. Make sure you are gauging the PI's openness and evaluating whether that relationship will work for you.

    In my experience, PIs usually do not bother with an interview if they aren't interested in recruiting that person. Assume that these people will like you, and be confident. Tell them what you find interesting, and express your desire to learn more about how science really works, away from just the theoretical concepts you learn in lectures. You may find that you might even prefer a research career.
     
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  3. musicalscientists

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    It's good that you're reading his publications. That should be the bare minimum. Become somewhat familiar with the nature of his work at the very least, but i doubt he'll expect you to kbow all of his work in detail. My full-time job is research in skin physiology, and I've had about 8 years total in research. Anyone that I've talked to has had a PowerPoint of their work, so I'd be inclined to tell you to expect that.

    If you have research experience, I'd tell him how you can utilize your current skills to progress a project in his lab.

    Ask questions.

    Dress nicely.

    I just met with someone two weeks ago because I'm thinking of transferring labs. We just kinda talked for about ten minutes, then he presented his work to me in PP fashion, then we discussed some more stuff and just had another general conversation with Q&A etc.... I dunno how your conversation will go, but that was mine. It was basically the same as the interview I had with my current PI and virtually all research positions I've interviewed for.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!!!


    I'm typing this on my phone btw so sorry for punctuation and spelling :p
     
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    #3 musicalscientists, Aug 3, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
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  4. ramifications

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    an interview with a PI is actually pretty good to have since you are able to ask questions openly. I had interviews with intermediate role players like lab managers (that were actually students themselves) and I kind of got the vibe that they were pretty biased. If the PI personally interviews then it actually makes some clarity available in terms of publication and length of time for that to occur. Additionally, for me it seems to a degree that I will get to interact with a faculty on most basis rather than paring my time with other students that are probably not going to serve as good recommenders anyways. It seems you have done your research prior and hopefully if a PI were to be like "we are going to work with animal models", you won't be completely in surprise and thus imply that you haven't been completely vested in the topic the PI focuses on. Make sure you ask questions that are genuine and just be yourself.
     
  5. On Eagle's Wings

    On Eagle's Wings To Make Man Whole
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    I had an hour-long interview with my PI before I joined her lab, and this interview was serious because she had far too many applicants for 6 spots in the lab. I am not sure if this is your case, but treat it like you would a med-school interview. My PI asked a lot of questions about classes I have enjoyed, my strengths and weaknesses, study/time management skills, etc. So just be prepared for any questions he/she may ask. Smile and make good eye contact, and remember to keep it somewhat formal. You don't need to dress in a suit, but I wouldn't go in shorts and T-shirt either.
     
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  6. Jared.mock

    Jared.mock Probationary Status
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    Thanks everyone for the advice.. I got the position!
    I was interviewed, asked about my background and goals, and then the professor explained the nature of the project he wants me to get involved with and allowed me to ask questions. Then I made a schedule and viola. I am the newest member of a neuroscientists' laboratory.
     
  7. musicalscientists

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    Congrats! Hope the research goes well! Don't get too frustrated when experiments don't work out :p
     
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  8. FutureOncologist

    FutureOncologist I support cancer... research
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    As someone who has done 4 years of research (3 years in a neuro lab), putting in from 4 to 25 hours/week at any given year (more hours as I progressed,) it's not as bad as you think. I assume you made an A in his class, so he knows already that you're mentally capable of understanding and applying research models and methods to his research. If anything, I think it's to gauge how the graduate student likes you. It's not exactly like a job interview where it is uptight and formal. It will just be a look into what his lab does specifically and what will be required for you to do. It's almost as-if you have the job and he's making sure you can learn your part in the lab. If you can, then you're in.

    My word of advice is to show up well dressed and seem eager to be an integral part of the team. Go in with a blank slate and don't expect too much to gain from the experience. He could make you do bench work and just assist the grad students who need to get a pub and poster presentation much more than you do. At worst, you gain amazing experience about the research process on publication and how studies are made--from observation to statistical/qualitative analysis of the various results that you achieve from the months to years of research.

    EDIT: Didn't see that you got in. Congratulations! I really hope you enjoy the work you will be putting in.
     
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