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Wondering if this counts as research?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by einstein1990, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. einstein1990

    7+ Year Member

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    Would working with mouse tail tips and homogenizing them and eventually extracting and measuring the amount of DNA per sample so that they can be used to run PCR's to genotype mice count as research? I don't do the PCR's but every week I process 100-150 mouse tails and homogenize them and go through the process of extracting DNA. I don't have my own 'project' because this contributes to the entire lab's study of the disease and allows us to genotype these mice.

    I was curious where this landed on the research experience continuum. I know there have been other threads, but there seems to be a gap between washing dishes and having your own project, neither of which I fall into.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. vc7777

    vc7777 Nontrad MD/MS Resident
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    Replace your activity with "washing dishes"...I think you can make some parallels. Being involved in developing a hypothesis, study design, methods, analysis, write-up and (to a lesser extent) data gathering are what count.

    I think this falls closer to dishes than design. It may be a great opportunity to get your foot in the door, but IMHO cannot be considered research.


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  4. BiopsychStudent

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    How long have you been at the lab? They're probably not going to hand you your own project when you walk in off the street, but if you're still in the process of learning new techniques and becoming more familiar with their work it could happen once you get a better handle on things. Its a gradual process for you to be able to both demonstrate your competence to your PI and gain enough insight into the material that you can develop a real hypothesis.

    Granted, if it was agreed when you took your position that all you'd be doing is processing this tissue... that's another story.
     
  5. kami333

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    No, but we all have to start out somewhere.

    I started by doing mouse tail extractions for about 2months, then handled all the animal experiments for the lab (breeding, surgeries, necropsy, writing IACUC protocols) for about 12months, then had my own projects from start to finish (in vitro to in vivo).
     
  6. RookTookIt

    RookTookIt SDN Lifetime Donor
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    Same. Started with tails and published my own project less than two years later. OP, make sure you know what is going on in the lab that way you'll be able to jump in and help a grad student or post-doc with their project. And be able to talk about it intelligently when interview time comes.
     
  7. kami333

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    Nice, 4years later and I'm still hunting for my elusive 1st author paper. Have a boatload of 2nd and below in good journals, but can't get my project to completion. Makes me glad I'm not a grad student or I would be going nuts.
     
    #6 kami333, Aug 5, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  8. ash914

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    As far as med schools go, I recall previous topics (and a LizzyM post) where the consensus was that adcoms aren't going to care if you're second or first author.

    To the OP, I'd make sure the PI knows about your eventual goals though. It might take some time before you're doing something more meaningful, but if they're under the impression that you are just there for a short time to check it off a list, then they won't give you as much room to contribute.
     

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