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When is it suitable to plan, implement and conduct research when entering medical school?

I am asking this question because most students planning on attending medical school find it difficult as to what is the right time to engage in a suitable research project without any form of hindrances. #medicine #pre-med


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Michael’s Answer

There is no absolute right answer to this question. Medical school for the most part is not focused on learning how to do research. It is focused on the learning to diagnose and treat illness. Still research is important to medical progress and many physicians do this for part of even most of their career. It is that the engagement with research tends to come later after med school. For the most part during medical school there is not a great deal of time set aside to do research. There are some exceptions however. Some individuals who are extremely motivated can seek a combined MD-PHD degree with the PHD in a biomedical science, this will allow blocks of time associated with obtaining the PHD to pursue a research project. At some medical schools there may be elective periods when a short period of research is possible. I personally do not think this has great value since to do research well requires time to ask an appropriate question and understand how best to answer it. For research that involves human beings ( clinical research) projects can literally take a year or two to complete. Still in some cases a short time limited project might be possible. When most physicians actually pursue serious research is during residency and fellowship training. That is those physicians after graduating from medical school choose to pursue a specialty often will have opportunities to do research as part of the residency and more likely fellowship training. ( A fellowship is something you do that involves further training in a specialty. For example a doctor may decide to become a surgeon and then do a fellowship in heart surgery, they may do research in this specialty as a fellow.


Thank You very much. I am very grateful for this. SENNAM T.

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William’s Answer

As early as possible.


If you have an area of interest, such as the neurological sciences, I would start doing my homework as to what college or university excels in the neurological sciences. I would most especially identify the researches in the neurological sciences at those colleges and universities and their reputation as mentors for students. Some researchers are great at research, however, as far as serving as mentors, as teachers, they have a poor reputation. You want to go somewhere, where they love to teach, are encouraging, and most of all help you evolve not only as a researcher but as also as a person.


Most of all, always visit the institutions you believe you might have an interest in attending. Go where you have a feeling "I could spend 4 years here and enjoy it."


Hope this helps.


Bill Cox


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Estelle’s Answer

Medical schools are encouraging research so much more now than in the past. This means that they are opening research opportunities to their students early in the medical school experience. Start looking around your first year. Even if the project you work on does not fall exactly into the field you decide to pursue, that does not diminish the research experience in general. My son was involved in a heart failure research project, and he is going into general surgery instead of internal medicine. Residencies want to see that you know a thing or two about research regardless of the specific field.

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Rachel’s Answer

I would start your first year. Research takes time and is almost impossible to squeeze in at the last minute. My husband participated in a program prior to med school to start research, and those projects led to his only publications prior to applying for an orthopedics residency.

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Richard’s Answer

Start early! There are many summer programs available after Freshman year. Just search the internet for one that appeals to you. Some even pay undergraduates.

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