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Research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DenaliView, May 25, 2008.

  1. DenaliView

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi ALL, I was wondering if anyone out there can tell me a little about undergrad research. What did you do, what was it like? I know a lot of Schools look very favorably on students that have completed some research but I am not sure what this looks like...sounds fun though. I can't gent my mind past people with PhD's working in a lab with other people with PhD's doing doing "mad scientist" projects but I think this is probably just my highly inaccurate paradigm. Thanks for the info in advance!
     
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  3. nevercold

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    There are really two types of undergrad research pathways:

    1) Since most faculty at an academic institution have always been engaged in some sort of scholarly research in addition to teaching, they often will have students come help them. Usually, you start out by working in the lab, learning about the field in which the group in the lab works and about the techniques used in the research. Many primary investigators (the ones who head things up) are working on multiple projects and might even have others in mind that they have not started. After you've gained experience and demonstrated acquired skills, you may be invited to actively join something ongoing or even pick up one of their ideas. If you receive a research grant from a national scholarship program, you may have the opportunity to develop your own project. Each increased level of responsibility and project ownership tend to come along in series after time in the lab.

    2) You go outside your academic community and join a private or government group. The US army does lots of research. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education is one group that sponsors students working in labs at many different military locations. The progression of responsibility and project ownership is usually quite similar, although it may occur more rapidly. Frequently these non-University positions may be paid internships. Getting paid or receiving a stipend doesn't devalue this for your application, because the main value of the experience is the hard work you'll put in and the educational content you'll receive.

    How to get either one? Start looking and start asking.
     
  4. shiftingmirage

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    What are you having trouble grasping, the concept of working with individuals with PhDs? As you start to work with one and open up, the distinction fades. I'm on a first name basis with my PI and we joke around and discuss recent events, our favorite tv shows, what we did over the weekend. So although I still have the upmost respect for my PI, she's someone I can joke around with as well.

    Are you concerned with working for someone who has so much more knowledge that you in their field? Well, they are aware of that. Any PI knows that they will need to teach their student researchers, not only lab techniques, but other general things related to their field or not.
     
  5. docolive

    docolive DOColive
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    You could work for a physician conducting research in his or her field. This way you could learn about an area that interests you, while also earning some money. I think it is a worthwhile experience, both in your exposure to research, as well as learning more about what it's like to be full-time clinician who keeps up with research.
     
  6. FuturePharm21

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    How to get either one? Start looking and start asking.[/quote]

    I don't know any program or how to get started. I have searched online and called a few places but they want people who are older and in pursuit of a PhD but yeah so I'm lost...anyone wanna help me get started even though it's a bit late........I don't mind if I dont get paid, I just want a worthwhile summer:) with some medical experience
     
  7. DenaliView

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    I did mean more along the lines of my lack of knowledge as an undergrad in comparrison to them. Depending on everyones personality I am sure it has the potential of becoming very comfortable and fun. But would I be able to keep up with them and be useful in a research enviorment. It probably all depends on what exactly you are researching. I would love to hear some of the projects other are working on if anyone is wanting to share. Thanks for the feedback shiftingmirage.
     
  8. shiftingmirage

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    I work in a geochemistry lab that isolates elemental carbon form rocks dating from impact periods in the earth's history that may have resulted in animal extinctions. Basically someone postulates that an extraterrestrial impact occurred at time X. Some one sends us rocks from time period X and we demineralize them, and oxidize orgnaics leaving elemental carbon. We then use an SEM to look at the sample looking for soot which has a unique aciniform shape. If we find soot at a bunch of geographic sites, we say that the impact caused wide spread fires that resulted in the animal extinctions.

    As for not knowing what you are doing, it's ok to ask questions. One day talking to my PI she ask's me if I knew what a supernova was. I told her no and she told me what it was. If you have a question, you can always ask your PI or the other senior members of your lab group. When I started working with my PI she gave me a stack of past publications, told me to read them over the weekend, and come in with questions on Monday. The other option is to go to the internet. Google what you are doing and get informed. Then, approach your PI and say "when it says........does that means I do......?" If you get info from the internet, always cross check with your PI! I think most PIs would agree: they'd rather you ask questions then screw up.

    My lab consists of me and my PI so if I got a question, I go straight to her. She has never had a problem with me asking questions.
     

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