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Undergraduate Research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by The Sultan, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. The Sultan

    The Sultan Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Hello everyone,
    I am currently working in a highly recognized stem cell lab. However, most of the material is way over my head, thus, leaving me with little or no chance of being published? I enjoy working there, but i am worried that not getting published might hinder my admissions. So, whats better: get published in an ok lab, or get experience working with exciting material?
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  3. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    Order of importance:

    1. Understanding enough to talk about during interviews, in an interesting way!
    2. getting published.
    3. The prestige of the lab.

    If you are excited about the stem cell research, and can talk about it with people (esp interviewers), then stay there. but if it is just over your head, then do something you enjoy. either way, most applicants don't have research, so you are already ahead.
  4. Sir William Osler

    Sir William Osler Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2001
    planet Earth
    I agree with the previous poster. i would like to add one thing:

    It is important to find a mentor in the medical field. Often, this person can be the PI of your lab and this can payoff bigtime in your getting into a top choice medical school. Having a research physician go to bat for you so to speak is a big deal.

    So I would advise someone who is interested in research to find an interesting project in a lab with a PI who is dedicated to his/her students. I would rather have a less reputable PI who will put his reputation on the line for me than a Nobel Prize winner who never enters the lab. So find a good project that interests you (that is very important obviously) in a lab with a receptive PI (VERY important). Not only will you learn the ins-and-outs of basic or clinical research, but you will gain a colleague and a friend (your PI) who will always be there for you.
  5. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    good point William, your PI is very important and will affect how much you learn throughout your experience and will be important when applying to schools.
  6. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Unfortunately, the prestige of the lab does actually matter quite a bit, especially when applying for MD/PhD or PhD programs. The other posters are correct though in stating that the most important thing is understanding and being able to explain your research. Getting published is nice, but not necessary. I wasn't published, yet got into several MD/PhD programs. However, if you do have a publication that can look really good. So I'd say if you can read up on and understand the background of your project and explain what you did and the conlcusions drawn from the experiments, you'll be fine. Just make sure to get a good letter from your PI. :D

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