Wet or Dry Lab Research?

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acha9349

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Hello! I’m currently in the 2024 application cycle and wanted to do a research while waiting for interview dates and in case for reapplying.

I have an opportunity to either work in a dry lab or a wet lab. For the dry lab, I would be completely using coding like python for biomedical dataset analysis. I started learning coding a few months ago and thought the research was interesting as it analyzes datasets of cancer and other diseases of real patients.

The wet lab is a neurophotonics lab where they study ‘structural and functional dynamics of myelin’ and ‘correlative structural and functional recording of neuroglial network’. I would be using microscopies on tissues and cells and tissue expansion techniques.

Both sounds interesting, but I already have an experience of a wet lab where I performed an animal (rodent) experiment studying Alexander’s disease for little more than a year in undergrad. So I wanted to give it a try for a dry lab also and thought learning coding along the way would be helpful somehow in the future. Are wet lab experiences more valid than dry lab? Or does it really matter?

I would appreciate any personal opinions too :)

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I truly don't think it matters. I've never done any research in a wet lab, only dry labs, and I never heard anything about that being an issue.

Also, the dry lab (where you're actively participating in data analysis) sounds like higher-level work that would be more likely to yield authorship, if that matters. Coding is useful for the future, as it's much easier (imo) to learn another programming language once you're familiar with a first, and you can continue to use those skills in data analysis on other projects afterward.
 
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Thank you so much!!! Good to hear that coding would be useful for the future :)
 
My personal belief is that wet labs are more beneficial for you as a student than a dry lab.

Wet labs have a much higher "do" aspect, and students usually need that part of research to accomplish anything.

I did thousands of hours of organic chemistry lab research, and graduate school.
 
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My personal belief is that wet labs are more beneficial for you as a student than a dry lab.

Wet labs have a much higher "do" aspect, and students usually need that part of research to accomplish anything.

I did thousands of hours of organic chemistry lab research, and graduate school.
I see. That's honestly why I was considering between the two when I wanted to do the dry lab more. I guess I'll look more into both of the labs and decide what I can accomplish from them. Thank you so much for your help!
 
I'm very biased as a computational researcher but I think comp bio skills are in high demand and can open more doors than wet labs skills. Realistically as an undergrad you won't learn any wet lab skills that would make you in high demand as a medical student. But professors are always looking for dry lab researchers just because they don't really have a familiarity with it.

Now, if the wet lab will teach you a skill like mouse echocardiogram, or other rare skills that you could bring to a future lab that would sway me in that direction.

Also, (again I'm very biased) coding is applicable to so many domains of not only science but life. Never in my life have I been grateful to know how to use a pipette, but many times I have used my coding skills to do all sorts of interesting things.

Not sure what a "do aspect" is tbh, but in a dry lab you'll be working just as hard as in a wet lab. It takes time to become a good coder, just like it takes time to become a good wet lab biologist.
 
It was interesting to me to see so many medical students presenting summer research from dry labs, much more so than wet labs, this year at my school. I think that respect for that skill set is growing and can certainly be important as you move on to medical school.
 
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It was interesting to me to see so many medical students presenting summer research from dry labs, much more so than wet labs, this year at my school. I think that respect for that skill set is growing and can certainly be important as you move on to medical school.
There should be. Alternatively, we're still not out of the effects of COVID-19 sequestration on their education (lacking the opportunities to gain wet lab training). It's also less of a hassle than wet lab research (I find).
 
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