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Is it better to select an established PI rather than an up and coming PI for my PhD in the US? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?

#PhD #gradschool # #science-phd #research #biochemistry

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Ashok’s Answer

Srishti,

It's important that you choose an advisor that is working in an area that is interesting to you and is a person that you'd like to work with during your Ph.D. I'd suggest reading a few papers and meeting some of the advisor's grad students if possible to learn about their work.

An established PI may have strong connections and also funding available to help support your research. That person may also have a good network of other researchers which may be very valuable when you graduate. Less established PIs may have a very strong commitment to building their research portfolio and lab.

I'd suggest that you look at each on a case by case basis and choose what is best for you.
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Xin’s Answer

Personally, I prefer an established PI. An established PI usually has enough founding for you. Most likely you can work as a research assistant and focus most of your time on research only. Usually, you don't need to be distracted by working as something else, such as a teaching assistant. However, you may have to work more harder and make good progress on your research, since you receive direct financial support from the PI.

I also saw some young/smart up-and-coming PI quickly became an established PI within several years of his/her career. It's not a bad idea to work with such type of PI as well. It's actually cool that you grow up with the PI and together build up reputation in academia.

Common research interest is the most important criteria in selecting your advisor. Read the professor's publications and you can quickly tell that.
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