Performing research in a lab is part of being a medical student. My school requires that all Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors participate in a full summer or two semesters of research. Medical schools also want to know about any research experience an applicant has had. It may be difficult to know how to start doing research, however there are many opportunities available for students. Many science professors are working on their own projects and are happy to have student assistants. Ask around and see if any professors at your school are looking for help. Many medical schools also have summer research programs for students. If there is a specific medical school you are already interested in, check if they have a student research program. It would be a great opportunity for you to get to know the campus, as well as the doctors who just might be teaching you one day.
There are also many summer opportunities around the country. These programs have many different areas of emphasis from microbiology, biochemistry, ecology, medical research, and more. With these programs, you also have the opportunity to travel and experience another part of the country. Summer research typically lasts for around 8 weeks and also might include a stipend for your work. I have included links to a few research programs. The application deadlines for some of these are coming up quickly, so be sure to start right away if you are interested.
Sometimes, students can even propose their own research project. While this is more difficult to initiate, you would be able to focus on a topic you are particularly interested in and want to learn more about. This semester, I am working on my own research project testing for the presence of pathogenic bacteria and viruses in ducks. It took a lot of time to figure out how I was going to fulfill this project, like researching which bacteria and viruses to test for, what methods would work best, and how would I get the materials needed for this kind of experiment. If you are wanting to propose your own project, I would suggest discussing it right away with a professor who could mentor you. This person can be a big asset in helping you figure out the specifics in executing your project. They also might have some ideas on obtaining funding for your research. By the way, I will be raising my own ducklings for my project and will be keeping a blog with updates on their growth and progress. I will be including tons of pictures, so if you want to check it out please visit www.ducksallinarow.wordpress.com.
I would love to know about any other research opportunities you might know about. Leave a comment with any thoughts or questions you might have.
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