I have often told you that it is a good idea to have some research experience when applying to BS/MD programs. But what I haven’t discussed are the two types of research that are possible.
Lab based research vs. Clinical research.
First some basic definitions. Lab based research occurs in, you guessed it, a lab. This might be a chemistry lab, a biology lab, at a college or at a medical school. But it involves research with something other than actual humans working on stainless steel lab tables.
Clinical research on the other hand is research that involves human beings. This could involve many things but as an example, testing different treatment methods or different medications for a particular illness.
BS/MD programs like to see both types of research. I have had students accepted into the most selective BS/MD programs with both types of research. While some students will have both lab research and clinical research, they tend to have one but not the other. There is no preference for the type of research you have.
Lab research tends to be more common because it is typically done by professors at colleges where research is encouraged. On the other hand, most physicians don’t engage in clinical research. I see it occur most often with physicians that have some type of academic position such as a professor of medicine at a local medical school.
You can get either type of research in the same way. Either you know someone who is doing the research or you start contacting possible professors and physicians in academic settings. This can be a challenge because it requires you to assert yourself with these professionals, but, if you can get such a position, the rewards can be great.