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Getting involved with research without graduate degree?

  1. Feb 17, 2015 #1

    I am studying mathematics and biology as an undergrad. I have always want to do a PhD, but due to having a B- average, I need to set up a realistic plan, (i.e, not going to grad school and try to find a job) although I have not given up hope entirely.

    I am seriously interested in aging. Recent results from Harvard and Stanford seem to show that the fountain of youth is not entirely fictional and I wish to get involved with research in aging. But obviously I can't get into Harvard or Stanford, I will be more than happy if I can get involved anywhere though.

    So I thought of doing my undergrad in bioinformatics, (similar to what I have done so far, I can just stay for one extra year) getting a job as a bioinformatics developer. I will keep on studying on my own, get to know the people who do research and maybe share my own thought over a cup of coffee.

    If my research interests were in pure mathematics or theoretical physics, I would not even have posted this. I can just read new papers on ArXiv. But for biology, I will need access to all the expensive lab materials. So my question is, how much can I get involved, with just a bachelor's degree, specifically in aging research with a bachelor's degree?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2015 #2
    The quick answer is internships :)
    @Ryan_m_b might have more advice
  4. Feb 17, 2015 #3


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    My wife conducts public health research studies (not aging specifically but similar type stuff) at a major university. She has a team of BS-level research associates whose job it is to implement the research. For example they recruit patients, take measurements, run stats, maintain databases, and collaborate on the paper writing. A lot of "large scale" research, and by that I mean the group is bigger than can be filled with grad students, is done by people with BS degrees. Often people do it a few years before going to graduate school.
  5. Feb 18, 2015 #4
    Isn't a BSc in bioinformatics fine to get a job supporting PhD researchers at some lab or institution? Or at least at a company involved with bioinformatics/genomic data? Yeah, you won't be a true scientist but depending on how good your ideas are, the more influence you will have.

    I'd say that as a biologist/bioinformatist it would be easier to get involved with research with just a BSc than with physics or math because there you would rather want a CS or engineering BSc as a supporting techician.

    You can actually set up a mol. bio lab yourself and do a few experiments yourself. It is not that expensive. But of course it wouldn't be a way to generate the data you are looking for, but you can do a lot of stuff. Could be more of a hobby thing. I mean, compare that to a physics lab where almost everything is super expensive.
  6. Feb 19, 2015 #5
    I have two bachelors degree and my job at a national lab is essentially a research position. It's supporting the experiments proposed by the PhD's but I'm still doing research that can be published.
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