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camneu

How much does where/with whom you do your research with matter?

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Hi guys,

I am now offered two opportunities for a summer position as an undergrad. One is in the UHN system and the other at CAMH. Both PIs are senior researchers, but one is an associate prof at UofT and the other is a prof. Both labs are neuroscience related, though one specializes in ophthalmology, which is what I'd like to specialize if I get into Med.

So I was wondering how much do these factors weigh both for med school and long-termly speaking. Would working at a more prestigious institute (UHN) look significantly better in CVs?

Thanks!

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20 minutes ago, camneu said:

Hi guys,

I am now offered two opportunities for a summer position as an undergrad. One is in the UHN system and the other at CAMH. Both PIs are senior researchers, but one is an associate prof at UofT and the other is a prof. Both labs are neuroscience related, though one specializes in ophthalmology, which is what I'd like to specialize if I get into Med.

So I was wondering how much do these factors weigh both for med school and long-termly speaking. Would working at a more prestigious institute (UHN) look significantly better in CVs?

Thanks!

Do the ophthalmology research, it will help if you do end up liking ophtho in med school. UHN is not any more prestigious than CAMH and I can assure you that no one cares. I used to think like you but eventually I realized I was wrong. 

If you don't believe me tell everyone that you work at the University Health Network and watch their jaws drop, its why people who work at UHN typically say they work near Queens Park because the U-bomb just blows people away. 

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I had no idea UHN was viewed as more prestigious than CAMH by the public and I've been here for 5 years...

Do the ophthal research if you want ophthal. It's one of those specialties where you're going to need it.

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If anything, CAMH may be more prestigious because its more well known.  Do the opthal research for sure...the prestigious factor will almost guaranteed not matter, but being able to say you did opthal research if you wanna match to opthal is HUGE.

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At this stage, I wouldn't worry much about the long game. Get into medical school first.

Go with whichever supervisor and project you like better. Preferably you want one where there is potential for a publication/conferences etc. 

 

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There is no prestige difference between those 2 labs.  What I would actually do is try to talk to current students in the lab (or nearby lab) and find out what the PI is like to work for.  Do they give any time to the undergrad students. Do they teach you a little or just slave-drive you for some mundane results.  Would you be an assistant to a PhD or Post-doc (likely).  Who would that be - and what are they like ?  Atleast with a summer role it is only a few months  - not like committing multiple years to a specific PI for a Masters or PhD.

Everything being equal - do what you find more interesting.

 

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first author basic research paper>first author clinical research paper>>>>>co-authored paper>>>>>>>>no paper. Doesn't matter how much more prestigious one lab is compared to the other, if you can't get a paper out, you fail (quote an ophthalmologist I spoke to a couple of years ago: "no paper, no LOR.")

 

BTW co-authored paper is all about politics. I was offered a co-authorship by proof-reading a colleague's manuscript (I felt bad so I did do some experiments for her in the end but you get the gist) because we are gossip buddies.

 

 

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12 hours ago, 命运的羽毛 said:

first author basic research paper>first author clinical research paper>>>>>co-authored paper>>>>>>>>no paper.

As a basic researcher, I disagree with the order here. On the whole, clinical research gets WAY more praise than basic research. I wouldn't say one looks any better than the other though. First author (Any field) >>> Co-author >>> no author. 

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On 3/4/2018 at 11:01 AM, ExercMed said:

As a basic researcher, I disagree with the order here. On the whole, clinical research gets WAY more praise than basic research. I wouldn't say one looks any better than the other though. First author (Any field) >>> Co-author >>> no author. 

Nah...they know bench work takes 10x more efforts and time than chart reviews. But the point is, for a undergrad/med student, basic research is not cost-effective. One basic research 1st author paper may beat one chart-review 1st author paper, but two chart-review 1st author paper will beat 1 basic research paper. Considering it's possible to pump out 6 clinical papers in a summer while the minimum amount of time to finish a basic research project is 6 months, it's not to anyone's interest to pursue a basic research project if the goal is to get a paper out.

 

Also, the chance of getting a basic research paper out is significantly lower than clinical research. I always find it amusing that some students talk about going to a lab and getting a paper out like it's set in stone. At least in the lab I just worked in, we haven't had a single undergrad/med student first author paper out, and we had tons of undergrad/med students working in our lab. People have a tendency to over-estimate their ability and their fate (for example I thought I could publish a IF=20 paper in a year when I first started).

 

Of course, unless someone is really interested in doing western and pcr and doesn't care about what he/she can get out in the end, then by all means go for it.

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In all of the basic lab research labs im familiar with, undergrad project/summer students generally receive co-authorship on papers written by graduate students or post-docs. For instance, my most recent first-author paper had my summer students as authors 3-5. As long as you're placed on a project with a productive graduate student or post-doc you're likely to get a co-author within a summer if you work hard and produce good quality (i.e. publishable) data. That co-author could be more valuable than a first author chart review paper if it goes into a prestigious enough journal.

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On 3/6/2018 at 9:22 PM, 命运的羽毛 said:

"Considering it's possible to pump out 6 clinical papers in a summer"

I'm not sure where this stat is coming from, writing 6 papers in one summer, am I reading this correctly?!! In all my years of research, I have only ever known one colleague who could come close to this and I'm not sure if he ever published 6 in 4 months....and he certainly was not a summer student (And this is at one of the top universities in the world, we were in a very productive clinical lab). It would be *possible* to get co-authorship on 6 papers in several months, but pumping out 6 of your own papers? I'm surprised to hear this and would love to know on what you are basing this assumption? Or maybe you actually don't have many years of clinical research experience and it wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

To the original poster, I agree with the people who suggest that you find out with whom you will be working and how willing they are to actually teach you! And if all is equal then choose the one that is most interesting to you! Or has colleagues that would be fun to work with. Good luck.

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On 3/12/2018 at 2:58 PM, adhominem said:

In all of the basic lab research labs im familiar with, undergrad project/summer students generally receive co-authorship on papers written by graduate students or post-docs. For instance, my most recent first-author paper had my summer students as authors 3-5. As long as you're placed on a project with a productive graduate student or post-doc you're likely to get a co-author within a summer if you work hard and produce good quality (i.e. publishable) data. That co-author could be more valuable than a first author chart review paper if it goes into a prestigious enough journal.

While I'd like this to be true, I've seen too many examples of summer students' work going unrecognized for me to be able to agree with you. All too often, summer students will end up in the acknowledgments (or will go unmentionned) rather than on the authors list. Unfortunately, many PIs simply don't remember their summer students and some grad students/post-docs view adding extra authors to a paper as diminishing their own recognition. An earlier poster indicated that you might be looking at 6 months time for a basic science paper. While this is possible, the average is more like 4 years for a full length paper in a high impact factor journal. Especially if when you take into account the whole editorial and revisions process.

Now who's going to remember that hard working summer student that got a neat initial result 4 years ago... If authorship is important for you, I'd definitely make sure to discuss the issue with your PI and the grad student/post-doc in charge of the project beforehand. If getting authorship in a timely fashion is important, then look to be integrated in a project that is near completion or, better yet, in revision.

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Pick the higher impact research lab. Take a look at which PI publishes more and how good the journals they usually publish in are. Some people publish frequently while others take ages. Go with the one you have a higher chance of publishing with. It's okay if it's not the ophthalmology one - you can do that research when you're a med student. 

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