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Undergraduate Research at UCSD

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					THE INTANGIBLES OF
UNDERGRADUATE
RESEARCH
Jason H. Haga, Ph.D.
Department of Bioengineering
Institute for Engineering in Medicine
OBJECTIVES
   Provide tips/advice on:
     Approaching principle investigators (PI)
     Applying to summer research programs



   Caveat:
       There is no single right way to do this
       Your "mileage" may vary
ABOUT ME
   Presented at multiple national and international
    conferences

   Mentored over 100 undergraduates in laboratory
    research

   Currently a mentor for AMGEN, RSRI, and
    PRIME

   Performed undergraduate research at UCSD
APPROACHING PIS
How to Network at a Conference
SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCES
 Experimental Biology (EB)
 American Heart Association (AHA)

 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  (IEEE)
 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)



   International Society of Thrombosis and
    Haemostasis (ISTH)

   UCSD Summer Research Conference
WHAT IS A CONFERENCE?
   A scientific conference is a venue where scientists
    can come together to present results and
    exchange ideas
     Attendance varies (100 to over 30,000 people)
     Usually include presentations, posters, workgroups,
      and industry exhibits
     Some type of social program
Presentation, BMES 2010
Poster Session, BMES 2010
Exhibits, BMES 2010
APPROACHING SCIENTISTS
 Assess the situation and react appropriately
  (formal, casual, party)
 The best start is often the science and all
  scientists like to talk about their work
 Address the scientist appropriately
       Dr. not Mr.
       Introduce yourself with your name, lab and where
        you work
       Speak clearly and use eye contact
       Good opening: “I really enjoyed your presentation
        on…"
       "Please explain your poster…"
THE CONVERSATION
   Pay attention and be a good listener
     Ask questions for clarification
     Some effort may be needed to get a word in

   Contribute something to the conversation
     Try to make specific comments about the work
     Do not try to show off

   Share ideas
     Use discretion
     Word any criticisms carefully
KEEPING IN TOUCH
 Follow-up after meeting people: email, phone,
  card, send info
 Strengthen relationships with people you meet -
  suggest another meeting
 Remember people you meet and the work they do

 Some connections take effort or be impossible to
  develop
 Personalities of people vary widely from nice to
  real jerks
APPLYING TO SUMMER
PROGRAMS
GENERAL APPLICATION TIPS
   When choosing a program consider:
     What type of research interests you?
     What are you prepared to do?
     What are your long term goals?
     How does your personality fit the lab/work
      atmosphere?
 Spelling
 Dr. not Mr.

 Ask professors for letter of recommendation
     Similar to approaching them at a conference
     Include resume/curriculum vitae, personal
      statement, proposal, etc.
HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH
PROPOSAL?
 Research is "investigation or experimentation
  aimed at the discovery and interpretation of
  facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the
  light of new facts, or practical application of such
  new or revised theories or laws" (Merriam-
  Webster Online, 2011).
 Research discovers something new

 It is an "organic process" that evolves with each
  finding
PROPOSAL FORMAT
   Lab report format
       Title
       Introduction (hypothesis/goal/purpose)
       Methods
       Results
       Conclusion
   Include a timeline of objectives to be accomplished
THE PROCESS
 Review relevant references
 Start writing – blank page is most difficult
       Use scientific language
           ex: "After giving the drug, we saw that blood pressure went
            down."
           vs: "After administration of the drug, it was observed that
            blood pressure decreased."
       Hypothesis generation takes practice
       Potential results/problems
       Potential conclusions i.e. what does this research
        contribute
   Send to mentor for review and suggestions
DURING THE RESEARCH
 Understand the long term goals of the project
 Ask questions
     Be sure you understand what is asked of you
     Take notes and pay attention to them

 Leave everything in the lab (lab notebooks, reagents)
 Time management
     Use “wait” time to update your records, read papers, or
      prep for another experiment
     Plan/organize your research and extracurricular activities

   Research is a team effort (respect and recognize
    others)
COMPLETING THE PROGRAM
   Summarize your work in written and oral forms
     Lab report format
     Helpful for applying to graduate schools or jobs

 Leave information and reagents in good order
 Recognize that there is no guarantee that your
  work will be published, but the learning
  experience is invaluable
EXPECTATIONS
MENTOR EXPECTATIONS
 Intellectual interest
 Prepare
     Contact your assigned mentor
     Read background material on the project

   Perform
       Strive to make each experiment the best one
       Complete the program and all requirements
       Do not accept a position if you cannot commit 100%
   Present
       Summarize your work in a short
        paper/poster/presentation
MENTEE EXPECTATIONS
 Research is difficult
 Frequent communication with your mentor and
  program director
 Extensive training and explanation
     Prevents equipment breaking
     Facilitates performance of assays

 No question is a dumb question
 Learn something
CAN I DO THIS?
   Christopher Lau
    PRIME 2009 alumni
   Visualization of
    Virtual Screening
    Results on Tiled
    Display Walls:
    ViewDock TDW
   Published in
    Bioinformatics, 2010
   Website and links at
    UCSF
   Presented at EB 2010
A BETTER QUESTION…



   What can I contribute to the body of scientific
    information that is out there?
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 Dr. Peter Arzberger
 Dr. Shu Chien



   All of my undergraduates
LINKS
   Academic Enrichment Programs, UCSD
       aep.ucsd.edu
   Undergraduate Research, UCSD
       ugresearch.ucsd.edu
   Viewdock TDW
       www.tdw-prime.webs.com
   PRIME
       prime.ucsd.edu
   Amgen
       aep.ucsd.edu/amgen

				
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