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Becoming involved in medical research

lily19873

UNSW MD/BMed (I)
How do I find opportunities for research as a first year med student? I'm very interested in neuroscience and plasticity.
Thank you!!
 

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chinaski

Regular Member
Unless you have significant capacity in your syllabus to become immersed in research at this point of the course, your likelihood of achieving something worthwhile is very poor. I think in general people tend to have this odd idea of what it takes to "get involved" in research. In order to make any progress, and to contribute enough to be published, you need to allow for a significant time-investment (as well as having adequate skillset and knowledge to realise that goal) - research isn't a hobby you can dabble in on the side.
 

Logic

Medical Student
Silliest Member 2018
How do I find opportunities for research as a first year med student? I'm very interested in neuroscience and plasticity.
Thank you!!
Also adding to Chinaski, keep in mind that since you're at UNSW, most of fourth year (or all of it if you get the required marks and choose to do honours) is research which will give you the opportunity at learning research skills etc etc and potentially open up more opportunities later on. There are also research holiday scholarships which you can occasionally get involved in, although they're often quite difficult to get (especially without previous experience) but a good opportunity to learn regardless.
 
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Cathay

Emeritus MSO Staff
Emeritus
Fully appreciate your enthusiasm (and good on you), but I wonder if first year might be a little early.

As chinaski pointed out, "getting involved" in research isn't like "getting involved" in sport or volunteer work, it requires significant time commitment, and in many cases significant prior knowledge and skill. Be mindful that generally speaking, if you were studying towards, let's say, a BSc, then research is generally reserved for at least the Honours year, an optional 4th year doing a year-long project leading to a dissertation. (Some uni's medicine programmes allow the opportunity to do a research year and gain an Honours degree - Otago had such an option for taking a year out to do research and gain a BMedSc(Hons) on top of the MBChB.) Beyond that, research tends to involve doing a Masters or a PhD (and now we're getting into serious postgraduate level stuff.)

At Otago, we had summer studentships (introductory-level research participation where your role was to forego summer holiday and put in time and effort all summer, and the whole thing designed around exposing medical students to research) which tended to be advertised to the 4th year (clinical) students, although not exclusively. Those projects were well-funded though so all expenses were paid for (and we even got paid to do it! best deal ever) - and even then, being just 4th year med students without much research experience/qualification, we were generally (broad sweeping generalization here) assigned to the more basic tasks which were quick to learn. I don't know if many led to publication though - mine didn't. I've heard of a couple of people continuing to put in significant time in 5th year (i.e. sacrificing weekends and evenings - those not already claimed by clinical activities) to work towards getting their work published.

Actually, frootloop from my class at med school has done a bit more on the research side of things, perhaps he could give some input?
 

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Kyle

Old Man MSO
Emeritus
How do I find opportunities for research as a first year med student? I'm very interested in neuroscience and plasticity.
Thank you!!
Have a look at the ILP supervisors, many who supervise ILPs will also be happy for earlier undergrads to be involved. As a phase one you'll be limited to doing lit reviews etc and possibly transient holiday involvement. You can make contact and see.

Why are you interested though? If you're generally interested in research give it a go but if you're just trying to CV pad probably not worth it.
 

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