Impulse155

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What did you guys actually do? Like are you guys actually staring at a cell trying to find the cure for Cancer? Do you just watch them do it? I cant picture a Doctor/Profsesor just letting a undergrad student do research with them. Especialy them expecting the student to find anything
 
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I'm a grad student in a stem cell research lab and my PI allows a lot of the undergrads to have their own research projects (under our supervision). Two of the undergrads restored a machine that applies strain to the cells in vitro, others help take care of mice, run gels, IHC, do cell counting, etc... We're working on a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. No luck yet, but cool findings nonetheless! :) Good luck to you!
 
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I worked in an animal behavior lab with swordtail fish. For the first two quarters it was mainly about making sure the tanks are clean and under the proper conditions and feeding. Then as my pI got to know us better we got to be more involved with the projects. I immobilized fish, then took measurements and pics of each fish which would later be used to quantify tail color and double check measurements. Then we got to independently run 5 minute trials of male aggression (you note key behaviors every 10 s).

Every lab is different, it is easy to find labs where they make their undergrads stare at the computer all day and work on data tables or something. Or kill mice all day. Make sure you find a lab that allows you to be more active in the process and don't be afraid to ask for more responsibility/involvement.

I also did a one quarter program where we got to go to Uganda and work in pairs doing our own studies; one on animal behavior and one on conservation. Then we wrote up our reports and presented them to the class. It was the best experience I had my undergrad career and you should check out if your school has something like this.
 

Impulse155

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Thank you both of you, your advice was exactly on point to what I was looking for. Where did you guys go about finding the information about getting into the research? Did you guys just ask professors or did your school hav e something lined up for you?
 

coolfez

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depending on if you go to a school that has a strong research tradition and if there is a medical school attached to the undergrad college. Then you are all set, what I did freshman year was pretty much emailed every prof in a department. Sometimes u are stuck with only 1-2 whose work you are not that excited about but if you stick it out, you will learn something and use that experience as reference and as a way of getting into a better lab in the future.
 

coolfez

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Oh and if I were you, I would talk to any prof who agree to meet with you. I specifically state that I want a hand on research not a glorified lab bitch that does only paperwork and wash the lab equipments. ( in a more subtle way that is :laugh:)
 

Impulse155

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Oh and if I were you, I would talk to any prof who agree to meet with you. I specifically state that I want a hand on research not a glorified lab bitch that does only paperwork and wash the lab equipments. ( in a more subtle way that is :laugh:)
I have no problem playing lab bitch for a few years if it gets me into a school :)
 
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Avery07

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I did lots of busy work but it was good busy work I suppose.

Two labs:

The first basically being the wheat genome project in which I inoculated, harvested, and isolated wheat germ lines.

The second lab was working in chemistry research for which I was helping a graduate student synthesize this complex molecule that was used as a catalyst for a bunch of things nobody will understand.
 

cybermech

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You don't even need to do something that special. Though if you can do a poster for your work, that'd be preferable. Dental research is nice, but know that you will have to know your stuff well because they will grill you in your interview.
 
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Thank you both of you, your advice was exactly on point to what I was looking for. Where did you guys go about finding the information about getting into the research? Did you guys just ask professors or did your school hav e something lined up for you?
My school has a website dedicated to undergrad research that gives students everything they need to know about getting started and has listings from professors actively seeking assistants. There are also info meetings on the topic every month or so. Maybe you'll luck out and your school has something like this?

Otherwise, ask your professors during office hours about their research and if they need any help. Like someone said before, you can also mass email random professors and ask if they need help. It's best to google them and read about their research, then you can personalize your emails. Write about what interests you about their specific research project. This is an extra step but will pay off in the end; they will be less likely to ignore your email and you'll get more hits back! Good luck hunting!