I am a student in chemistry at the UW. I am very interested in the MSTP programs. My current research is on inorganic synthesis, would the fact that I am doing inorganic research hurt me? Anyone with advice?!
Fields such as cancer research relay on many inorganic compounds, so I don't think research in inorganic will harm you. My younger sibling did some inorganic research for a time in NO capturing molecules, which is very important for lots of intracellular signalling. The very fact that you have research is good. What you could try is to broaden your research experience with some organic or biochemistry research over a summer or additional biological courses.
I hope I help. Good Luck!
Thanks guys. I really appreciate your responses. Yes, my research experience has been primarily inorganic synthesis, but in sophomore year I did carbon nanotube stuff (my Grad student left so I had to go too), but now I am working on synthesizing nanowires and spheres. I plan on staying with my group that I am with now, (I have been with them for 1 year already), but good progress is being made, and the professor really likes my work, but I was worried that doing Non biological research would ultimately kick me out of the MSTP applications. Keep the others coming!
My research is all organic synthesis...as long as you do good work, pretty much any research field will probably be fine. The only people who may get on your case are the biology purists, but most people tend to understand the value of any scientific investigation.
Welcome my friend. My brief but continuous research has been mainly in analytical/computational chemistry. Of course there are potential applications to quantitative medicine, but that is still far away. Please stay where you are except you find something more exciting.
And the time an adcom asks me (if I ever get an interviewer this upcoming cycle) why I didn't do research in biochem or other traditional fields, I would ask him/her when medicine is going to abandon X-rays or MRI.
edit: And inorganic chemistry is tough. The time I took it I almost spilled my brains on the floor, especially with those "useless" transition metals. The only thing I remember from that class now is the macrocyclic effect, group theory and molecular symmetry.
For the ppl who have not yet applied... just keep in mind that there are some tough questions that people could ask about the relevance to your research field to MSTP.
For example, I do fMRI studies of language deficits in autism. And I've had a few interviewers point out to me that this may not exactly fit the mold of "translational research"... i.e., the findings of my research cannot be taken into a wet-lab and used to design a new drug to cure autism. I've even had a few people telling me that my research is a waste of time and that it's meaningless in the world of medicine. "What do I care where you see blobs or don't see blobs? That's not going to help me cure/treat anyone!"
So be prepared for the variety of questions you can get. A lot of these interviewers will be posing these questions - not because they really believe fMRI is useless... but because they want to see how you react and what type of answers you have to larger questions regarding the relevance and the use of your research. Show them that you've thought about these things, and that the joint MD/PhD (as opposed to just PhD) is right for you.
Personally, I think research falls into two categories: applications-based and academic. (I am rather narrow with this pigeonholing mentality.) I believe there are people who do research just for the fun of it (I fall into one of those), but again, I perceive research with no potential applications is possibly not the best thing do.
But with adcoms asking the applications of your research in medicine . . . it is simply unwelcome, but then they would be directing such questions to specific kinds of research. The said applicant shoud, however, know how to handle matters of such nature.