Keeping up with the Literature

“Young scientists sometimes tend to neglect the literature. They look at a number of related papers when they start working on their project, but then they fail to keep looking for more papers as their research—and the work of other researchers—progresses.” “Remember that we walk on the shoulders of giants.” “At the early stages of your research career, it’s especially important that you take the time each day to get up to speed with the literature. I would recommend trying the different tools available and experimenting with your reading routine until you find what works for you.”

I pulled this intro from this recent article published by Science. Check out tips and tools from scientists by reading the article!

Seeking comfort in the discomfort: How to approach your first year

Today I will be starting a blog post series on the challenges and rewards of starting a new PhD program. I hope to write every couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for the links below to become active!

As a primer, Science just published and advice column with thoughts from upper-level graduate students. It is a great start to these important topics!

Why study that, Jim Patton?

What is better than hearing why a scientist is studying what she or he is studying? To me, this personal aspect of science is my favorite. Because our faculty are indeed people, I am adding a new feature to my blog where I ask a faculty member each month: “Why?”. I ask them to describe their work in the context of their interests. We’ll start with our IGP director, Jim Patton. What does he find most interesting about his work?
Continue reading “Why study that, Jim Patton?”

The basics of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Admission into most biomedical PhD programs come with tuition coverage and a stipend. However, as a young scientist, you have the opportunity to fund yourself by obtaining your own competitive fellowship. Writing for your own funding at this stage is a great training opportunity, and receiving a fellowship can make you a more attractive candidate for graduate program admission or for postdoctoral positions. Read on for an introduction to the most broad fellowship for prospective and early graduate students, the NSF GRFP.

Continue reading “The basics of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program”

How to Have Your Voice Heard in the Lab

Today, we have a guest writer by a member of the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy, Vandy’s summer undergrad research program. Mary Barber is an undergraduate Chemistry major and English Literature minor at Belmont University. She currently works in a cardiovascular research lab at Vandy and studies ways to model cancer therapy-induced cardiotoxicity in human heart cells. When she’s not doing research, she loves writing her own blog and hopes to one day be a physician scientist. Check out her excellent advice on a very important topic.
Continue reading “How to Have Your Voice Heard in the Lab”

Excel at an undergrad research experience

For many of you undergraduates, a summer research experience may be your first time in a biomedical lab at a research-intensive institution. For most it is likely your first time in a new lab. Getting started in a new environment and only being there for 8-10 weeks means learning and accomplishing a lot in a short period of time. Here, I outline tips for how to have a successful summer.
Continue reading “Excel at an undergrad research experience”

Tips to communicate science to non-scientists

Today, research and scientific data are severely undervalued. Thus, it is increasingly important that the scientific community be able to communicate the value of our work broadly. You may be familiar with the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT), which has the goal of cultivating just that! The 3MT is a competition among PhD scientists around the world to communicate their theses to a lay audience in only 3 minutes. We’ve got a pro in house: Archana Krishnamoorthy, an IGP student, recently won first place in the Vandy 3MT competition! Because scientific communication is a pillar of training, I’ve asked Archana for her tips. Keep reading to check out her insightful rules!
Continue reading “Tips to communicate science to non-scientists”

Final questions to ask before selecting a program

Congratulations! You have almost completed the graduate application season! You have your offers in hand and now all of the remaining decisions are yours. Exciting! You learned a lot about your options during your interview but now you may have some remaining questions. Here, I outline the final things you should ask before making the choice of where to go to graduate school. I have highlighted some of these considerations in previous posts, but I want to emphasize their importance.
Continue reading “Final questions to ask before selecting a program”