Asking my Professor

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Asking my Professor

Postby reddi.anoop » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:30 am

Hey Science Buddies,

I want to ask my professor that I am working with about doing original research work and also about having my name in a publication. I worked with the lab for 2 weeks and this is my third week. I don't want him to think bad of me or that I'm asking too much. I am kind of afraid to ask him for this reason. I asked my biology teacher and she said ask him. I am posting this because I want to double check what my teacher said. So how can I ask him? And should I ask him now?

Thanks,
Anoop
reddi.anoop
 
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Re: Asking my Professor

Postby SciB » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:52 am

Hi Anoop,

I would go slow on the name-on-the-publication bit, but you can always talk to him/her about doing original research. Of course, you have to demonstrate that you can DO experiments and get reliable data and this may take time depending on what you are doing.

Read and understand as much as you can about the lab's research focus, then try to identify aspects of the work that may need further investigation. Find some areas that particularly interest you, learn about how other researchers study them--whether they use cells in culture or animals--and then talk to your prof about your interests. Listen to what he/she says and try to gauge the interest in various areas.

Take it slow. You are (or should be) learning more every day about the theory and the practice of research, but you have a long ways to go. Your enthusiasm for the work and willingness to work hard are your best recommendations to the professor and once you demonstrate your ability, he will be receptive to letting you work on a new project.

Best wishes,

SciB
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Re: Asking my Professor

Postby reddi.anoop » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:34 am

Ok! Thank you. I will take it slow, but approximately how long. I want to enter Intel STS and other science competitions with my project, so I don't want to ask him too later. Does 2 weeks sound good?

Thanks,
Anoop Reddi
reddi.anoop
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:35 am
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: phytoremediation
Project Due Date: December 16
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Asking my Professor

Postby SciB » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:16 pm

Hi Anoop,

When you feel confident that you understand your prof's research area very well and have some concrete ideas about what new research needs to be done--then you are ready to ask him about a science fair project. Your success will depend a lot on your ability to communicate well, and that means learning the particular jargon of the scientific field your research is in. Nothing blows your credibility more quickly than using scientific terms incorrectly or mispronouncing them.

My advice would be to find a friend, preferably one with some scientific background, but not necessarily in this kind of research, and make them sit down and listen while you explain the research--and by that i mean you should have a tentative title for the project, a section in which you present background and explain why this research is important, a description of your specific aims (usually 3 major aims is sufficient) and your research design methods, where you explain the kinds of experiments you will do and what results you will expect.

Encourage your friend to stop you when something is not clear and ask questions. This will give you valuable practice in thinking clearly about the research and in communicating your plans in a logical and thoughtful way. If you can explain the science to someone unfamiliar with it and have them understand why your project is important and necessary to advance the field, then you will likely succeed with your prof.

When you have some specific ideas for a research project, post them here and i'll give you a quick critique. Your prof probably will have his/her own ideas about what you should do for a science fair project in his lab, but it is very important to make a good impression by approaching him with a plan that shows you have been reading and thinking about the research.

Good luck!

SciB
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Re: Asking my Professor

Postby reddi.anoop » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:25 am

Hey,

Thank you so much for your advice!

I was reading some science articles about optogenetics and I found a couple regarding this type of research on epilepsy..

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 0812002572

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 0812004923 (Original Research)

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 0813000646

They have listed problems that occur from doing research on epilepsy. Do you think that this is good for me to do research on an original project idea??

Thanks,
Anoop
reddi.anoop
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:35 am
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: phytoremediation
Project Due Date: December 16
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Asking my Professor

Postby SciB » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:13 pm

Hi Anoop,

I read the abstracts of the articles you posted and mTOR would seem to be a good target for optogenetic therapy of epilepsy, although i certainly am no expert in that area. The article mentions a particular strain of rat as the experimental model, so if you could do optogenetics on those animals, you should be able to get some good, publishable data. Research today needs to be goal-driven and preventing epileptic seizures would be a desirable goal. So, if you can come up with a workable proposal with a hypothesis, three specific aims and an experimental design that you can accomplish within your time frame, then you should be successful in convincing your prof to let you work in this area.

Send me more details about your plans and i will be able to critique your proposal better.

Best wishes,

SciB
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Re: Asking my Professor

Postby reddi.anoop » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:00 am

Hey,

I asked my professor about doing research and he said "yes". Specifically, he said that once we get the project that we are starting on going, it branch out to other potential projects and that I do one of those. I like that idea, but I want to my own, original research. I don't think that the project the professor is doing is original "enough". I want to do something more original. Do you think I should do this?

Thanks,
Anoop
reddi.anoop
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:35 am
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: phytoremediation
Project Due Date: December 16
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Asking my Professor

Postby SciB » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:34 am

Hi Anoop,

My advice would be to go with the project as outlined by your mentor for now. Once you get into it, you can offer some suggestions to make it more your own project. I'm sure he/she will be willing to listen to your proposal if you can back it up with some published results and a logical series of doable experiments.

My second bit of advice, which you should be doing already, is to keep a thorough and detailed lab notebook. Date every page and put in all the information. Don't trust your memory.

All the best,

SciB
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