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Undergraduate ophthalmology research useful?

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by HTxFrog, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. HTxFrog

    HTxFrog 2+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2008
    Houston, TX
    Alright, I know that I don't even start MSI until August and thus shouldn't be thinking this far ahead, but I have been reading that it is important to have research experience in order to match in ophthalmology, and I was wondering if my undergraduate research would be taken at all into consideration. For two summers I have been working in R&D at Alcon Labs in Fort Worth. Specifically, I work in a group that studies the pharmacokinetic properties of drugs that Alcon is developing for AMD. Basically we put drops in rabbits eyes and then see how much drug is absorbed by the different tissues. My role is basically doing dosing, euthanasia, and ocular tissue dissection/collection. I'm guessing that for research to be considered highly I need to get published or at least have some sort of presentations done, and I won't have that from Alcon since I don't really do any of the data analysis and the data is really for internal use anyway. My question is could this still be considered valuable research experience, and is it worth mentioning when the day comes (far away as it may be) to apply for residency positions. Also, I'm sure this has been asked, but would it be feasible to do ophtho research and get published in between MSI and MSII, or would I be better off coming back to Alcon next summer? I could probably work in a different group, such as toxicology, but I would still be doing the same level of work. I could also do something else if this level of research is useless anyway.
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  3. ophthal3

    ophthal3 2+ Year Member

    Nov 2, 2007
    East Coast
    Try to relax and enjoy the last free summer you will have in years. Matching into ophtho isn't so impossible that you need to start research now, plus, you may very well change your mind down the line. You won't be able to go back and backpack through Europe when you're on rotations as an M3 and M4, thousands of $$ in debt, and applying for residency.

    "Meaningful research" basically means a first author publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Presentations at national meetings are a plus too. It doesn't seem like your work at Alcon will result in either, so it probably won't be all that helpful. However, the laboratory skills you've mastered will be an asset for future research.

    It IS feasible to start on a project the summer between M1 and M2 years that would result in a publication. That will all depend on the project and how it progresses though. I would suggest conducting research at your medical school or another university ophthalmology dept - this will help you more than doing research in the private sector and you will make contacts in academia.
  4. HTxFrog

    HTxFrog 2+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2008
    Houston, TX
    Thats good to know. Thanks a lot for your input!
  5. ojos

    ojos 2+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Another option to consider is to spend part of that summer doing clinical research (patient-oriented, data you can shake hands with) and part of it following your PI around to see if you really like ophthalmology or not. It's a great field, but you can save yourself a lot of effort if you find out early that it's not your cup of tea.
  6. twintiger32

    twintiger32 Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    by starting a good project the summer between your m1 and m2 year, the soonest you'd be able to publish it is probably m3 or m4. in the meantime, you can present it at meetings/make posters at AAO, ARVO, ASCRS, etc.

    any involvement in interesting research early in your education will be helpful in the residency selection process.

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