Research--When and How?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by chypes, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. chypes

    chypes Caffine Addict
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    When is it appropriate to begin trying to find positions working in professor's labs in undergrad? How do i go about looking for a position like this? My school claims to have one of the highest percentages of undergrads doing research. Has anyone done work in someones lab during their freshman/sophmore year (even just simple manual work), or is this too early?

    Thanx,

    I just really like this sort of thing....wanna get involved....
     
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  3. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member
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    Few of my friends started summer after frosh year and/or during sophomore year. But I'm sure I knew some people who did frosh year. I wouldn't say it's "too early." You'll probably start out with the dirty work though. ;)

    -RA
     
  4. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    This depends on your interest in research.

    I worked in the same lab from freshman year to the day I graduated from undergrad.

    It's best to find a lab and mentor that you like. In this setting, you're more likely to develop a meaningful academic relationship that will lead to good projects and enhance your knowledge of scientific research.

    I recommend that you start as early as you can, and try to stick with one lab.
     
  5. WISC-ite

    WISC-ite Senior Member
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    I agree. I think it is best to pick a good lab and learn everything while you are there. However, on the flip-side, if you want to explore other areas of research or want to try a different organism, then do it.

    In terms of how to approach a lab.....that is a hard one. What I did was, I went door to door to labs that I thought I wanted to work with (all genetic or biochem - different projects) and asked if I could help. I specifically asked what they would let me do. That is something many people forget to ask.

    If you say you just want to help, or work, or whatever, you WILL be washing dishes. This is not horrible and few labs will let you do any real research until you do.

    Just ask, and tell them you want to be trained. If you have different plans, then move on and try another.


    Cheers
     
  6. Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

    Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003] Platinum Member
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    in my school ... I am the only person doing research
     
  7. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Another good resource is other students and faculty. Talk to others about which labs have been good for students in the past. I find that the mentors that work well with students usually work well with future students.

    Good luck! :)
     
  8. Thundrstorm

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    At my school, research or an internship is a graduation requirement, so the faculty are very good about letting students work with them. I'm a sophomore and I just started doing physics research. My physics prof actually had a meeting for all students interested and there are a bunch of freshman and sophomores working with her. We are involved in all stages of actual research, although due to my schedule, I'm just doing computer measurements. I'm a BioChem major and plan to work in a different lab next year. But I look at it this way, I can either do physics research now and get some experience, or I could do no research this year. I'm in a pretty good setting to find research jobs b/c of my location. My roommate is a junior and she's conducting her own research at Harvard Med, which is right down the street from me. I suggest talking to your professors and if that fails, just going around and bugging other science profs and seeing what's available. What others said is true: even washing slides can get your foot in the door.
     
  9. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    I recommend starting research as soon as possible. I made a form email that I sent to each professor in our neurobiology dept. basically asking if they had any research positions available for students. I got several replies and ultimately chose a lab that investigates the effects of ethanol on the neuroimmune system.

    After participating in research I've realized that I hate it. :D
    Well....the actual data analysis part sux and I hate that. Eh...well I guess that data analysis is ok...I guess I should say that compiling the data to be analyzed sux. However, I've stayed with my lab because I got to operate often. I am a surgeon and anesthesiologist in one. Ah yes...nothing like the sound of a dremel tool drilling through cranium...

    I've done ventricular implants in the brain, ovarectomies, orchidectomies, peritoneal implants, skull excisions, brain probe implants, hormone implants. I've lost 3 patients out of a couple thousand in my career.

    Oh yea....We use a rat model.
    ;) :D
     
  10. chypes

    chypes Caffine Addict
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    You guys are great!

    I'm gonna talk to a couple of profs soon here. Thanks Again!
     
  11. chypes

    chypes Caffine Addict
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    btw........UCLAMAN........what area do you work in? (if you dont mind saying).......that sounds really interesting.....and very diverse....??? (so many different procedures?)
     
  12. UCLAMAN

    UCLAMAN Air Jordan Collector
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    I'm under the neurobiology dept.

    Our lab mainly focuses on the effects of ethanol on the neuroimmune system(so all of our experimental rats are drunk). From there experimental rats and control rats are subjected to different experiments. Our lab does a lot of stuff, from monitoring how cytokines in the brain are affected by ethanol to what changes occur in the hypothalamic thermal setpoint when ethanol is present.

    The ventricular implants are done if the experiment calls for brain temperature probes.

    The cranial extractions are done in experiments designed to mimic a traumatic brain injury. A section of the skull is removed and a piston is used to impact the brain directly. Done to mimic the severity of a big car accident. The rats are then observed afterwards.

    The orchidectomies/ovarectomies are usually done in experiments where the lab wants to make sure that testosterone/estrogen doesn't affect the results of a particular experiment.

    Peritoneal implants are done to insert temperature probes into the rat. (the measured temp isn't directly in the brain but it is much less invasive).

    So depending on the experiment most of our rats have some type of surgery. At the very least they all receive transmitter/temperature implants so we can monitor their temps.

    Our lab also does a lot of biochemical assays(not my area of expertise) on the blood from our experimental rats.

    anyhow...so a lot of things go on in our lab...some of the post docs run the rats through "Morris Water Mazes" to test their cognitive ability. Eveyr lab is different though. But Perhaps you can find a neurobiology lab if you are interested in this stuff.
     
  13. Woots32

    Woots32 kinda funky, kinda fine
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    I don't know if this has been brought up, or is a possibility where you go to school - I did my undergrad research through a summer program. We have a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that sponsors undergrad research fellowships (the HURF program). I got to choose what lab I worked, got free board and 5 meals a week, 5 hours of credit (no tuition) and a stipend (tax-free). It was a great program, and an awesome summer! (This was where I learned how much bio people could drink!) You might check w/ your bio or life sciences advising office to see if they know of any other similar programs. I don't think our program accepts students from other schools anymore due to budget cuts, but here is their website for anyone who is interested:

    http://www.life.uiuc.edu/hughes/index.html
     
  14. Poetess232

    Poetess232 Junior Member
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    Has anyone participated in the McNair/SROP research program?

    The only info I can find about it is from the sponsors, or the official program reps. I was just curious as to what type of research was done, and how much participation students have.

    Thank you,
    ~Keshe
     
  15. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I want to bring to attention that there are grants available for students. There are many private sponspored grants, e.g. AFAR, and they will provide money to you and your mentor if you can come up with an interesting project. Labs will be more than happy to accomodate students with grants! :) This will demonstrate initiative to your mentor and will be nice on your CV when you decide to move on. In addition, if you're a minority, then the NIH has a grant supplemental program for R-01s (grant money that is awarded to principle investigators). The lab can request money for your supplies and salary. This is an awesome and under utilized source of grant money.

    While in High School, College, and Medical School, I found support through many avenues. These experiences have opened numerous doors for me.

    I hope this helps.
     
  16. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member
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    if u're from cali/nev/utah, u can apply for an american heart association western affiliates summer research grant. they had 45 slots my year for undergrad. u have to be a sophomore or junior when you're applying (freshman and current seniors couldn't apply for my year). if you're accepted, they'll give u a list of about 50 or so faculty members for u to choose from, each w/ a mini project description. u then fill out your top 3 labs or something and they'll assign you to a lab based on those choices. i had a great time doing research w/ aha. they'll also give u a pretty generous stipend. check out www.heartsource.org.
     
  17. randomlogik

    randomlogik Senior Member
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    This is a wonderful link that I have found that lists summer research internships all over the country. There are literally hunderds of them. I was able to do a summer internship at hopkins for two summers based upon the information I found here. Definately check it out. There are plenty of opportunities out there. research interships link :)
     
  18. randomlogik

    randomlogik Senior Member
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    bump....dont want to loose the link. its a really good site.
     
  19. link doesn't work!
     
  20. randomlogik

    randomlogik Senior Member
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    hmmm....the site seems to be down. Never familiar with websites ever going down. ;) but hopefully it is a temp thing :rolleyes:
     

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