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Suggestions For Finding Clinical Research Internships (Ug)?

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#1 lulu95


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Posted 09 February 2017 - 09:58 PM

Hi everyone,


I come from a molecular background, in neuroscience and pharmacology, and used to work with human participants before for a cognitive neuroscience project, but I'm now interested in trying some clinical research this summer, and was wondering how best to find and approach researchers. 


So far, I've been able to find a few at U of T through their search, but I'm not sure how to find ones who don't also teach at a university. I was also wondering about practicing physicians who also do research, what is their process like, and have you ever met any who are open to taking on someone who isn't a medical student or resident?


Also, any thoughts about how I could get something outside my major? In addition to neuroscience research, I'm also interested in oncology and transplant (although I'm pretty receptive to any field at this point, just want experience with the format of clinical research), but not sure how to tie my background into the latter two. Should I emphasize the pharmacology side, maybe? And for those who've done clinical research, what are some qualities that would suit this medium?


Thanks in advance!


EDIT: I'm not limiting my search to Toronto, pretty much anywhere in southern-ish Ontario or around Montreal would work.

Schulich Class of 2021

#2 bellk


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Posted 18 February 2017 - 11:54 PM

Hi! I didn't do an Ug research internship so take this with a grain of salt.. I recently completed an MSc with my supervisor who is a clinician and I have learned/noticed a few things that you may find helpful in terms of finding supervisors to work with.


In general, more research opportunities exist where funding exists unfortunately. At my university, the profs/clinicians with active research funding are more likely to take on students of all levels. I'm not sure how easily this information can be obtained but often news reports of new grants pick up some of these researchers, so if a grant on something that interests you pops up in the news or has been in the news recently that could be a good start.. also look to their internet pages for active grants that are listed. 


I believe some Ug internships are run through standardized programs that can be applied for. I believe there are a few of these in Toronto for example (here's one I found at sick kids with a quick google search). These would be a good place to start too. The researchers in these places will also be more familiar with what Ugs can be expected of in a 4 month time frame). I also remember NSERC when I was in undergrad but I think that was limited to basic science (I stand to be corrected on this)


Do some research on your own and find some clinicians or clinical researchers doing work that interests you. Feel free to send emails and you might get lucky, but meeting people in person is much much better or even having a phone conversation. I have heard of researchers simply ignoring emails - you have to get their attention or impress them in a way by showing effort. What comes to my mind is asking for a coffee date or attending research days/conferences/presentations to connect with clinicians/researchers on work that you are interested in doing. Once you have these opportunities, you can explain your background, what you're interested in doing next and then hearing more about the work that they do. 


I hope this helps. Good luck!

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#3 hkboi888



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Posted 18 March 2017 - 03:13 AM

Hey there, 


***Based on my own experience---take with only-Grain of salt as well. Feel free to object, belittle, etc.


Clinical research at Toronto hospitals usually require a loonnngg term commitment because you never actually know when there might be patients/HC coming in. Some people on my floor that run clinical studies are are usually there for a long time 6months +. 


Also, I found my PI not through a uoft website, but rather the hospital research website because they are mostly practicing physicians and not teaching but they are still affiliated with uoft as assistant profs. (Now thinking about it, none of the physician scientists + assistant profs actually teach).  Funny thing is, I was a healthy control and then I asked the PI if I could join and now im running it! hahahha


^Referring to belk above, the sick kids program is not very well organized. Usually, those 4 months internships are students that just follow a post-doc around and do some testing/ non-clinical research stuff (some post-docs are great, varys like crazy). As said before, those clinical studies are run by people who are there on a long term basis or people who have taken a year off after ug so that's something you might want to consider.


****also feel free to DM so we can discuss in private as Im not a med student or a resident (actually far from it)

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