jaguar33

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Has anybody gotten involved with research during medical school without having prior experience? I want to join a research project at my school or a nearby allopathic school but am unsure how to approach the faculty without any prior experience. Has anybody had any success finding mentors at nearby schools without being a student there? What about not being a student in addition to having no experience?
 

apr27

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I'm interested in this too. How soon do people generally start? I've been worried about jumping the gun.
 

Decremaster

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I am a DO student doing research at a big nearby Allo campus. I don't think you can start looking too early. As for me I just found research I was interested in in the field I was shooting for on pubmed. I then sent cold emails to the PI and asked if I could volunteer my time. He looked and didn't find anything but I was persistent for the next few months. He finally brought me onboard solely because of my persistence. This is a competitive field by the way.

Edit - I forgot to mention that I have no previous research experience and not being a student there hasn't been much of an issue but it did make some grant funding a little tricky. We got it all sorted out in the end though.
 
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Petypet

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Sep 28, 2009
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Its never to early to start doing research, just make sure you don't sacrifice grades for bench time. Lots of people do research at nearby institutions due to multiple reasons. To get involved just cold email a bunch of profs and see what turns up.
 
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DrEnderW

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I would definitely recommend looking at nearby MD programs for PIs that are publishing frequently. Just reach out to as many people as you can. While I had a research background, a lot of my research colleagues in med school had no experience and are pumping out pubs now. Don't let that hinder you, just let your excitement and dedication come across.
 
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jaguar33

jaguar33

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Thanks a lot guys, your responses definitely answered my questions. One more thing though, did you contact the PI's early in the first year for summer research or to start ASAP? I go to a school where attendance is mandatory so unfortunately I would have to do evenings or weekends if I can start during the school year.
 
Apr 8, 2014
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I had very limited research experience and found an opportunity at the local university working with mice in a very involved project. You have to find the right mentor, which takes a lot of meeting with professors and discussion. Some projects will require training etc., so let them know you are willing to do this and start on at least this process early. You don't have to actually start any research until you feel comfortable, but it might be a good idea to begin communicating with people.

I began talking to the "research chair" early in first year, like end of october early september. I talked with a few professors after that around Christmas but the projects weren't right for me. I found luck around march and was doing the training for the summer during that second half of first year
 
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DrEnderW

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Thanks a lot guys, your responses definitely answered my questions. One more thing though, did you contact the PI's early in the first year for summer research or to start ASAP? I go to a school where attendance is mandatory so unfortunately I would have to do evenings or weekends if I can start during the school year.
Look for clinical research. It can be done completely on your own time and never requires a presence in the lab. As another bonus, it's way easier to publish. I've published a few basic and a few clinical and would never do basic science again as a med student. Contact as early as possible once you know you're comfortable getting your desired grades on class exams.
 
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Oct 13, 2014
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Lots of people do research at nearby institutions due to multiple reasons. To get involved just cold email a bunch of profs and see what turns up.thanks
 

Petypet

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Thanks a lot guys, your responses definitely answered my questions. One more thing though, did you contact the PI's early in the first year for summer research or to start ASAP? I go to a school where attendance is mandatory so unfortunately I would have to do evenings or weekends if I can start during the school year.
I would recommend not starting until 2nd semester or even your first summer. Get your bearings on the course work first since it will be a pretty big change from undergrad. If you had a strong research background I would maybe redact that statement, but if you start your first summer off, you will have ample time to learn and do research. Just like med school, there is a learning curve to doing research, writing a proposal, writing a manuscript, etc.
 
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apr27

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to what extent are publications before med school looked at favorably? I got one in between undergrad and starting med school.
 

DrEnderW

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to what extent are publications before med school looked at favorably? I got one in between undergrad and starting med school.
Publications are always solid regardless of date. They will always be a permanent part your CV. With that said, publishing while in medical school is looked at more favorably from what I've gathered. Remember, once you're a med student you can do clinical projects which take a fraction of the time as a basic science endeavor.
 

SD3321

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Just wanted to bump this up, I also have no prior research experience at all. I go to a school in another state from back home, should I just be cold emailing random doctors at the medical college back at home?
 
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AlteredScale

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Just wanted to bump this up, I also have no prior research experience at all. I go to a school in another state from back home, should I just be cold emailing random doctors at the medical college back at home?
You can also search specialty associations and in their website look for medical student research grants or fellowships. I had a DO student come to a lab at UCSD I was in through the AAG.
 
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apr27

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Look for 8 week internships too over the summer
 
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