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Choosing Undergraduate Research Lab

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  1. Sep 23, 2014 #1
    Dear all,

    I am a sophomore at one of respected public hresearch university; my major is a microbiology (and I am also considering double major in the chemistry). My future goal is to go to the graduate programs in medical microbiology/virology or chemical biology with focus on the virology; my academic goal is to study the signaling molecules and pathways between the viruses and host cells. During my freshman year, I did a research in the bacteriology lab that studies the mechanisms of bacterial/fungal bio-fuel production, but I realized that I am more into the medical microbiology and applications of chemistry to biological principles (hence the name chemical biology). So I had resigned from that lab after the end of this summer and got into two research labs that are focused on different fields.

    The first lab is a virology lab that studies the genetic sequence and molecular evolution of viruses. The second lab is a chemical biology/bio-analytical chemistry lab that studies the cell signaling molecules involved in central dogma of biology (specifically the RNA) and development of methodology and instrumentation to study such signaling molecules. Both labs promised me that they will provide the independent research to me, and I believe the chemical biology lab has more independent researches (with various topics like bacterial genome, carbohydrate signals, etc.) that I can carry out after this semester. Since my goal is to become a virologist, it seems that the virology lab is right one for me. However, I am also immensely interested in the chemical biology lab since I am also interested in the cell signaling and I want to study the cell signaling systems in viruses (in future). Could you help me on deciding which research lab should I start my journey with? I do not know if the fame of PI and different undergraduate research (different from graduate programs; i.e. undergraduate research in chemistry for the graduate schools in microbiology) have impact when applying to the graduate schools. The virology lab is relatively new and the PI is an associate professor (relatively young). PI for the chemical biology lab is very famous and he is a full professor which some names in front of professor status.

    I sincerely apologize for this very long post, and I am also sorry about the grammatical errors!
    I look forward to your advice and suggestions!

    Sincerely,


    MSK
     
  2. jcsd
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