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Most Productive Undergrad Research Technique

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Hi, I'm an undergraduate pursuing an H.B.Sc.. I may get a research project position in a lab. I want to do a technique that is contributive to lots of research (to increase publication chance). Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is recommended?

Thanks

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Hi, I'm an undergraduate pursuing an H.B.Sc.. I may get a research project position in a lab on neuroendocrinology. I want to do a technique that is contributive to lots of research (to increase publication chance) and that isn't likely to cause too much mistakes, complications (work), and trouble. Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is not too complex and prone to errors? I find Immunocytochemistry so nice because you can see the movements of things and its so beautiful.

 

Thanks

 

 

Do what you enjoy. That way in your med school interview when they ask about it you can say "I find it so beautiful" instead of "Well i was more likely to get published" or have to make up a lie.

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Hi, I'm an undergraduate pursuing an H.B.Sc.. I may get a research project position in a lab on neuroendocrinology. I want to do a technique that is contributive to lots of research (to increase publication chance) and that isn't likely to cause too much mistakes, complications (work), and trouble. Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is not too complex and prone to errors? I find Immunocytochemistry so nice because you can see the movements of things and its so beautiful.

 

Thanks

 

I think you need to contribute more than just running PCRs or blotting to warrant an authorship on a paper

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I think you need to contribute more than just running PCRs or blotting to warrant an authorship on a paper

 

Do you know how much work (roughly) I need to do for an average publication? Is theory needed to get published (writing theories with them)?

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Do you know how much work (roughly) I need to do for an average publication? Is theory needed to get published (writing theories with them)?

 

It's not easy to get published. I know quite a few MSc grads who haven't been published, and it's even harder for an undergrad. I can tell you're very motivated and hard-working, but getting published isn't simply about how much work you put in. There are so many factors at play that are out of your control. It depends on the project you're given, your supervisor, cooperative/helpful grad students, the impact of the research in your lab, funding available to your lab, luck with experiments (which often don't work out), etc.

 

Having results that you and your supervisor deem worthy does not guarantee that it will be published, either. Journals can be brutal. I'll share my most recent publication experience with you as an example. I completed my MSc in August of last year. My research was very thorough, combining behavioural and biochemical studies to give a complete picture. It earned me several awards and a patent, so it was high quality as well. However, I still had to submit it to 3 different journals before one would even consider it for publication. Getting to this stage is rough, but revisions can be even harder. Reviewers may either love your work, or they may gut it. There is definitely an element of luck to it. I got a tough reviewer, so it took me another 9 months of back-and-forth with the journal to make my manuscript publication-ready. Overall, it took me 27 months to see my project from startup to publication. The research was fun and I loved every minute of it, but getting published is a grueling process that takes confidence, persistence, and perseverance.

 

I don't mean to discourage you at all. In fact, I admire how determined you are to work hard and I think it's a fantastic goal to have. At the same time, you need to be realistic. You can hope to eventually get published, but it should not be an expectation. You're setting yourself up for disappointment if things don't work out. Furthermore, you shouldn't be basing your decision on what's most likely to get you published. As someone else in this thread has said, go with the project that you'll enjoy most and give it your all every day. Admissions committees are far more interested in what you learned as opposed to what you've earned. Your enthusiasm for the project will show through and they'll love that more than if you publish results from a project you weren't even interested in. Good luck to you this year, and let us know how everything goes!

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It's not easy to get published. I know quite a few MSc grads who haven't been published, and it's even harder for an undergrad. I can tell you're very motivated and hard-working, but getting published isn't simply about how much work you put in. There are so many factors at play that are out of your control. It depends on the project you're given, your supervisor, cooperative/helpful grad students, the impact of the research in your lab, funding available to your lab, luck with experiments (which often don't work out), etc.

 

Having results that you and your supervisor deem worthy does not guarantee that it will be published, either. Journals can be brutal. I'll share my most recent publication experience with you as an example. I completed my MSc in August of last year. My research was very thorough, combining behavioural and biochemical studies to give a complete picture. It earned me several awards and a patent, so it was high quality as well. However, I still had to submit it to 3 different journals before one would even consider it for publication. Getting to this stage is rough, but revisions can be even harder. Reviewers may either love your work, or they may gut it. There is definitely an element of luck to it. I got a tough reviewer, so it took me another 9 months of back-and-forth with the journal to make my manuscript publication-ready. Overall, it took me 27 months to see my project from startup to publication. The research was fun and I loved every minute of it, but getting published is a grueling process that takes confidence, persistence, and perseverance.

 

I don't mean to discourage you at all. In fact, I admire how determined you are to work hard and I think it's a fantastic goal to have. At the same time, you need to be realistic. You can hope to eventually get published, but it should not be an expectation. You're setting yourself up for disappointment if things don't work out. Furthermore, you shouldn't be basing your decision on what's most likely to get you published. As someone else in this thread has said, go with the project that you'll enjoy most and give it your all every day. Admissions committees are far more interested in what you learned as opposed to what you've earned. Your enthusiasm for the project will show through and they'll love that more than if you publish results from a project you weren't even interested in. Good luck to you this year, and let us know how everything goes!

 

As an undergraduate, I published 3 times. Mind you not first author, but I did complete a significant amount of work on that project to get 2nd author and third author on a couple. You have to go into research with the mindset that you aren't going to publish, because it is rare to in basic science research (way more for clinical journals, however)! After my first year researching I was able to get my first publication (actually it was 7 months). I was so surprised about that but happy that all my work paid off. You have to just put your head down and go with it.... and then maybe if your lucky you'll get it!

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Do you know how much work (roughly) I need to do for an average publication? Is theory needed to get published (writing theories with them)?

 

So many different variables to consider. Firstly - you need results and good results. This in of itself can take a long time.

 

I have just finished a paper that I sent to get published. It is a lot of hard work. Theory is important and should be included in the intro to your paper. For example, my publication has to do with finding an improved equation to fit complex data curves. I spent almost four months just developing the equation and testing it in various senerios. That was before I even got data results. I suspect by the time I am finished it would have taken almost a year. The work in the lab is only a small portion compared to writing, that is the hardest part.

 

In the end it is worth it, I have a paper that is ready for publication as 1st author, and I am 3rd author on at least one other publication.

 

Regards,

 

ABS

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So many different variables to consider. Firstly - you need results and good results. This in of itself can take a long time.

 

I have just finished a paper that I sent to get published. It is a lot of hard work. Theory is important and should be included in the intro to your paper. For example' date=' my publication has to do with finding an improved equation to fit complex data curves. I spent almost four months just developing the equation and testing it in various senerios. That was before I even got data results. I suspect by the time I am finished it would have taken almost a year. The work in the lab is only a small portion compared to writing, that is the hardest part.

 

In the end it is worth it, I have a paper that is ready for publication as 1st author, and I am 3rd author on at least one other publication.

 

Regards,

 

ABS[/quote']

 

ah yes, I found writing to be the hardest part too

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Publishing in UG depends on a lot of factors. But most of those factors relates back to your prof. If you have a good one, you can actually crank out papers just blotting. Although to me that's pretty lame. It also depends on the field. Psych pumps out publications monthly with N of 20 and stuff.

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Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is not too complex and prone to errors?

 

Lol. Wrong approach.

All of those are prone to different types of errors. Don't look for the easiest route - search for the most fulfilling one.

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I tried all 3 in my lab and got inconclusive results. The western blots took the longest because of tedious-to-collect samples, and the results from them would serve to decided which sample sets would be used for the other 2 (they are more expensive and my lab was semi-broke). I would discuss methods with my professor if I were you - but as I see it, the question is more like "which method should I perform first?" - the other methods are good to back up any results you find.

 

Regards,

Comeon

 

Edit: Final outcome: No publication. Spent anywhere between 5 and 100 hours/week in lab (came in on weekends). PhD supervisor was keen on using some of my work for her defense/thesis but decided not to. My work now sits in a file in my professor's office.

 

Hi, I'm an undergraduate pursuing an H.B.Sc.. I may get a research project position in a lab on neuroendocrinology. I want to do a technique that is contributive to lots of research (to increase publication chance) and that isn't likely to cause too much mistakes, complications (work), and trouble. Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is not too complex and prone to errors? I find Immunocytochemistry so nice because you can see the movements of things and its so beautiful.

 

Thanks

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I've done them all and you'll be fine with any one of them if you practice. I've specialized in electron microscopy now...because it's rare for an undergrad (or grad) to get their hands on this machine :) Scary though, it's tedious and very technical working with very expensive equipment all on my own.

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Just as another view:

- Worked with rats first. Started with them 1 summer, did about 3 days a week. then we did more tests in the fall... and then did the same thing on mice during the winter (the next year). eventually submitted for publication 1.5 years later after the start. finally published 2 years after the start.

 

- worked on old set of data my prof had from about 7 years ago. interesting stuff, just no other research on it - well in the 7 years, there was a lot more research on it. so I reviewed all the literature, re-wrote the entire paper with his help (the only thing that I left was the results, which still had to be re-worked by the prof). Took about 6 months to re-write, submitted for pub. got rejected. re-submitted elsewhere, got rejected. their revisions were too demanding as we had no access to certain things at this place. we revised it a final time and submitted to a different journal. finally got accepted. took 6 months for it to finally appear in print (no online full text though) - in september, it will finally have full-text linking. this entire process that I described, took almost 2 years.

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deeman's right, social/cultural psych stuff is quick and easy, and the stats are messy enough that you can find any conclussion, for real... honestly though, listen to leon, i'd rather have one publication in something i was really passionate about, than 5 pieces of crap i could care less about. besides, people generally know how long it takes to publish in different fields, there's a reason clinical research in med goes way faster than neuroendocrinology (and believe me, i worked across the hall from a lab that did very similar stuff to what you're describing, it's technical, difficult work)

 

Hi, I'm an undergraduate pursuing an H.B.Sc.. I may get a research project position in a lab on neuroendocrinology. I want to do a technique that is contributive to lots of research (to increase publication chance) and that isn't likely to cause too much mistakes, complications (work), and trouble. Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is not too complex and prone to errors? I find Immunocytochemistry so nice because you can see the movements of things and its so beautiful.

 

Thanks

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Hi, I'm an undergraduate pursuing an H.B.Sc.. I may get a research project position in a lab on neuroendocrinology. I want to do a technique that is contributive to lots of research (to increase publication chance) and that isn't likely to cause too much mistakes, complications (work), and trouble. Which of: immunocytochemistry, western blotting, and PCR is not too complex and prone to errors? I find Immunocytochemistry so nice because you can see the movements of things and its so beautiful.

 

Thanks

 

This is a very strange question without providing any details regarding the questions to wish to answer.

 

The proper way to conduct science is first to ask the question, and then to find the best means to answer the question. If you do it in that order, you will realize it's bonkers to ask "which is best" between a number of techniques. Are you interested in gene expression at the level of RNA? Then use PCR. Are you concerned with protein expression? Then W.B. is a great way to go. Immunocytochemistry is not nice because you can see how beautiful things are, they are nice because you can learn things about the morphology of cells under different conditions, whether a protein of interest is expressed at different stages, where these are being tracked inside the cell, how many cells per given treatment, etc.

 

What I hope you get out of this is: your OP is a silly question and a backwards way of doing proper science. Ask your question, think hard about the best way to answer that question, and learn that technique.

 

P.S. if you're looking for a way to get publications without doing much work (as your OP suggests), you will have a hard time succeeding

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Publishing in UG depends on a lot of factors. But most of those factors relates back to your prof. If you have a good one, you can actually crank out papers just blotting. Although to me that's pretty lame. It also depends on the field. Psych pumps out publications monthly with N of 20 and stuff.

 

one girl in my class published a paper on chicken eggs and their oxygen consumption.....

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This is a very strange question without providing any details regarding the questions to wish to answer.

 

The proper way to conduct science is first to ask the question, and then to find the best means to answer the question. If you do it in that order, you will realize it's bonkers to ask "which is best" between a number of techniques. Are you interested in gene expression at the level of RNA? Then use PCR. Are you concerned with protein expression? Then W.B. is a great way to go. Immunocytochemistry is not nice because you can see how beautiful things are, they are nice because you can learn things about the morphology of cells under different conditions, whether a protein of interest is expressed at different stages, where these are being tracked inside the cell, how many cells per given treatment, etc.

 

What I hope you get out of this is: your OP is a silly question and a backwards way of doing proper science. Ask your question, think hard about the best way to answer that question, and learn that technique.

 

P.S. if you're looking for a way to get publications without doing much work (as your OP suggests), you will have a hard time succeeding

 

I agree. As an undergrad, you shouldn't try to go into a research position with the sole purpose of getting a publication. Of course, it would certainly be a bonus if you do, but I think the experience and what you learn is more important.

And based on what the OP asked, even if you do end up getting an authorship on a paper, it doesn't help if you don't know what the whole project was about if all you did was PCR, blotting, IHC etc.

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Prof will probably assign me to one repetitive task only, which is why I have to choose between them. Since I am not a graduate student, I also have to balance my time with a full courseload to get 3.8+ at the University of Toronto. Thus, I also need to consider how time-consuming the methods I would be assigned to would be. It's called planning and real life.

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I agree. As an undergrad, you shouldn't try to go into a research position with the sole purpose of getting a publication. Of course, it would certainly be a bonus if you do, but I think the experience and what you learn is more important.

And based on what the OP asked, even if you do end up getting an authorship on a paper, it doesn't help if you don't know what the whole project was about if all you did was PCR, blotting, IHC etc.

 

I second that. But to answer part of your question, western blot is quite time consuming and is very error-prone. It's basically like a 3 day full-time procedure where every little detail is important. One small error in loading and you might as well scrap the entire data.

 

Experience is definitely the most important thing you should think about right now as an undergraduate. It's something that you can talk about during your med school interviews and to other students that you mentor in your lab. Getting a publication is secondary, but definitely a plus if you can get it. But just remember even if you get a publication but you can't say a thing about it, then it's still worthless. ;)

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I have friends in grad school saying that it is quite easy & less time consuming to publish in Ecology compare to Cell & Molecular

 

But does publishing in Ecology help with med school admission, compared with Molecular? Also, in case I don't get into Med in the first try, I'd much rather do an MSc in Cell and Molecular instead during the gap years, so I'm not sure how ecology research would help... Although if it does help to have some general kind of research (no matter where) for grad school admission, then I might consider doing Ecology just for managing time in undergrad.

 

What methods would a research student do in ecology anyway?

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why bother even doing research then.... sounds boring to me if you're not going to get a chance to eventually be hands on or do the stats/design etc.?

 

Prof will probably assign me to one repetitive task only, which is why I have to choose between them. Since I am not a graduate student, I also have to balance my time with a full courseload to get 3.8+ at the University of Toronto. Thus, I also need to consider how time-consuming the methods I would be assigned to would be. It's called planning and real life.

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But does publishing in Ecology help with med school admission, compared with Molecular? Also, in case I don't get into Med in the first try, I'd much rather do an MSc in Cell and Molecular instead during the gap years, so I'm not sure how ecology research would help... Although if it does help to have some general kind of research (no matter where) for grad school admission, then I might consider doing Ecology just for managing time in undergrad.

 

What methods would a research student do in ecology anyway?

 

I've never done any work in ecology, but one of my friend did get a publication from his udergrad summer research. He went on a field trip, observed some species' populations, and wrote about intra-population interactions. I dunno if it was a paid position or not, but the plane ticket was covered.

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Prof will probably assign me to one repetitive task only, which is why I have to choose between them. Since I am not a graduate student, I also have to balance my time with a full courseload to get 3.8+ at the University of Toronto. Thus, I also need to consider how time-consuming the methods I would be assigned to would be. It's called planning and real life.

 

Thanks for reminding me. I was living in lala-land for so long that I completely forgot that it's different from real life. -__-

 

If your goal is to get published, maybe you should spend next summer doing research full-time instead. Doing a "repetitive task" will at most get you an acknowledgement, not an authorship. That's called being realistic.

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Thanks for reminding me. I was living in lala-land for so long that I completely forgot that it's different from real life. -__-

 

If your goal is to get published, maybe you should spend next summer doing research full-time instead. Doing a "repetitive task" will at most get you an acknowledgement, not an authorship. That's called being realistic.

 

I had MCAT to study for during my 3rd year summer (can't risk it).

I would have graduated by next summer.

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