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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Stumpyman, Jul 26, 2011.
And what year/semester is reccomended to start?
Be weary my friend of starting to many threads too often and not using the search bar
But I started this year (rising Junior) but earlier is better. Many even start freshman year on here, esp if they want to go to a top tier school.
sophmore. some in my lab started the 2nd semester of their freshman year. even tho starting soon mean that you will probably not understand a thing about the project at first but if you show interest, most profs will take time and explain things to ya. also, starting soon mean you got the flexibility to change to a different project if you rly hate your current one. (this because you need to spend time with a project long enough to gain any feasible data)
Only start if you are truly interested. If you are, start as early as possible. Bio and chem are recommended to have taken before going into most types of research positions.
This as well.
Don't go into research because you think you HAVE to. It is by no means a necessity. But it does help your application. Find something you are interested in... but MOST importantly... find a PI to work with that you can tolerate for extended periods of time. When I was scouting research jobs, I had 6 different interviews... the guy who I thought I wanted to work with... I HATED after I met with him. The guy who I ranked last on my list... is the guy I ended up liking the most. I ended up with a naturebiotech pub out of that lab. You can do great things anywhere, just make sure you love what you're doing.
I started my second week of freshmen year, mostly because I had some great exposure from a biology teacher in high school. This exposure led to me contacting my PI in January of my senior year of high school after searching for quite a while. We kept in contact, and I really liked what I saw and heard when I met with her in August of my freshmen year. This is definitely not the norm, and quite gunnerish of me, but the earlier the better is solid advice.
Here is what I usually tell incoming freshmen when talking about research.
1. Look at more than one lab. How can you compare how a lab looks and feels without visiting 3-5? What you thought was stellar may not look so hot after seeing a little variety.
2. Do not commit to anything before you meet with and speak to the PI in person. Many of my friends could have avoided some scary situations by doing this.
3. Taking 350 credits of science courses this semester? Maybe not the best time to start research. You want to begin when you have the time to commit, and your GPA won't suffer because of it.
4. In most labs, there is a learning curve to the techniques and procedures that are being used. It will take time to get comfortable working on your own, so pray there is a nice graduate student around to help out. The learning curve is another reason not to hip hop unnecessarily between labs.
5. If you are helpful, interested, and willing to put in enough hours to benefit the lab/get some real experiments done, you will get a solid LOR and a great experience for your time and effort.
It's important for us pre-med students to see where many of the advances in medicine and science are coming from. Check out the methotrexate/leucovorin rescue. Physicians would never have had the chance to use that treatment option if our peers in the biochemistry department hadn't elucidated those biochemical pathways and enzyme functions!
Good luck in your search for a good lab and PI.
The summer after my freshman year.
I did not expect anyone wanting to take me but one of the professors I e-mailed forwarded my e-mail to another professor who forwarded that e-mail to another professor and now I work full time in the lab and will continue to work throughout the semesters and subsequent summers.
Really you can start as early as you want although finding the right lab at an early time is all about luck luck luck. I am incredibly grateful for my PI who is an amazing mentor.
What's exactly expected of you in a traditional research setting? Do the people picking you out expect you to know something about the material you're researching or just for you to dedicate your time and do whatever they tell you to do?
You are expected to work as much as possible. This means between classes, over your classwork, and on many weekends. Your PI became a PI only because he did this himself. This is an hourly figure approaching and exceeding 30+/week. If it is in the summer, then this number should obviously increase (this is independent of any summer classes). You are expected to do this for free. If you are in lab less than 15 hours/week or something of the sort, you are likely a significant hindrance to those trying to work around you as they are obliged to explain what they are doing to you, and you clearly have not demonstrated that you are prepared to sacrifice things in your life in order to learn. Expect senior lab members to talk badly about you. Expect to be very bad at everything you do. Expect to initially be very confused, then be slightly less confused but still terribly confused. You are not expected to know anything about the subject when you start, but you had damn well better start reading as many research articles as humanly possible in between running gels, etc. In addition to this, you are expected to learn the biology/physiology behind it on your downtime using Guyton or other introductory texts. You are definitely expected to be acutely familiar with every research paper your PI has published, as this is the most basic knowledge in the lab and helps show where your lab came from and where it is going. For instance, if nf-kB was shown to be upregulated by something at one point years ago by your PI, you'd better be able to answer these basic questions: 1) What lab members showed this 2) what was going on biologically 3) definitely why you cared about probing for nf-kB 4) when was this shown and how did it advance the field 4) how was this determined (westerns, etc). Finally, you are not expected to get a publication out of your own project, probably won't even get a second author mention in an abstract, but you can probably expect a LOR at the end if you did a good job.
Do you guys get paid or is this volunteer?
I got paid and I didn't work 30 hours a week ... definitely not during the school week. I don't think I would've worked for free for all of college.. I guess it varies
There may be some minor differences but I get the point. Thank you for the thorough response Medicine4Bruhs.
If money is not a large concern for you, take credit. It will add up on your BCPM quickly, and resume-wise there is not much of a distinction between for-pay and volunteer, if at all.
ok thanks all.- much appreciated
That's what I was curious about, would having a paid position be seen more appealing because it shows you actually have responsibility.
Whether you get paid or not depends on funding at your school or your PI's funding, and whether they can pay you. Usually, if you work for credit during the semester, its somewhere around 20 hours a week for four credits. If your PI wants you to work 30 hours a week for credits, then you would have to, but be warned that your PI probably has very high expectations and may be a crappy boss.
It is actually the reverse: research is more appealing to adcoms in this order 1) no credit 2) class credit 3) paid research.
The idea here is that adcoms like to see an ability for independent thinking from their students. Research-heavy schools also definitely want to see a personal onus regarding research as well. This is best demonstrated by performing research for no credit and definitely for no monetary pay. This shows that you are likely completing an independent project that you have taken upon yourself to complete, and is why 1) is preferred over 2). Paid research, unless its at an NIH lab in DC or in some legitimate summer program, probably involves you working more as a scut monkey doing whatever work your PI is telling you to finish that day. This means that you probably put in the least amount of thought into why you are doing your experiments in the first place than other students who have to design their experiments more independently, and is why 3) is the least preferred of those options listed.