- Sep 27, 2017
A common question for pre-med students: Is research required for medical school, and if so, how do I get into it?
Conducting research is not a requirement, but it is a very good way to show that you can apply what you learn in the classroom to the real world. It is very common for pre-med students to have research experiences because they are interested in it. Let me tell you a little about my favorite research experience.
I actually did research during the semester and during the summer. In my opinion, I think summer research is the way to go; at least for your first time around. Doing research in the summer lets dive into it much more deeply than you would be able to during the semester because you don’t have any classes to worry about. Also, summer research programs may include a biweekly stipend and free room and board! The summer research program that I did included all of these things. I did a questionnaire and was paired with a principal investigator that aligned with my interest.
My research lab was focused on Tuberculosis (TB). I loved it because I learned about TB in my Microbiology course, so I had an idea of its mechanisms. I came up with my own research question which was entirely my own project for the next 12 weeks. The title of my project was "Characterizing the mechanisms of action of novel chemical inhibitors of Mycobacterium smegmatis growth". Basically, I tested chemical compounds on M. smegmatis, which served as a model for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to see if the chemical compounds would stop the M. smegmatis from growing. If these chemical compounds would have worked, in the long run, I could have contributed to decreasing the amount of time it takes to treat TB, which is currently 6-9 months. However, in the end, my chemical compounds did not work, but it was a super fun project!
During this summer, I met some great people from universities all over the USA, including the Virgin Islands! My program also paid for us to have a big barbeque at the beach a few times and go to Michigan Adventures. After doing research, I wanted to share what I learned with the world, so I applied to present my findings at research conferences. I attended 5 conferences total, 3 at MSU, 1 at Ohio State University, and 1 in Tampa, Florida! Both conducting research and presenting research were really great experiences and opportunities. I would recommend research for anyone who is interested or might be interested. It taught me some valuable skills and made my summer really fun.
To get started with research, check out the MSU Undergraduate Research Office's Fall 2017 Workshops!
By A'Jah Chandler