How Do I Find a Research Mentor?
Summer research may be carried out anywhere on Penn's campus. With over 500 biomedical research laboratories from which to choose, you will have many opportunities, but with so many choices finding a research mentor can be a daunting task. A number of participating faculty are committed to the Program. You are not restricted to working with these faculty. All faculty at Penn are eligible. A general procedure for finding faculty with whom to work is provided below:
- Decide on the general area of research that interests you (ie., microbiology, genetics, neurosciences, virology, gene regulation, molecular biology, cell biology, etc.).
- Consult the Biomedical Graduate Studies website for graduate groups that encompass those disciplines. The BGS groups are listed below:
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (62 faculty)
Cell and Molecular Biology
Cell Biology and Physiology (51 faculty)
Cancer Biology (46 faculty)
Developmental, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (35 faculty)
Gene Therapy and Vaccines (25 faculty)
Genetics and Gene Regulation (53 faculty)
Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology (61 faculty)
Epidemiology and Biostastics (60 faculty)
Genomics and Computational Biology (50 faculty)
Immunology (81 faculty)
Neuroscience (89 faculty)
Pharmacology (67 faculty)
Biology (31 faculty)
Bioengineering (52 faculty)
- At the appropriate group website, read about faculty interests.
- Contact the faculty that most interest you, at least a few months in advance of our application deadline, and set up a time to meet with them. At that meeting, learn about the type of work they do and about possible summer projects. Some other questions to ask include:
What is the scope of your potential project?
What do you hope to achieve over the summer?
What is expected of you in the lab?
What is your role on the project?
Will your mentor be available to you during the summer months?
Will you be directed by another member of the laboratory?
Will there be opportunity to continue your research beyond the Program end date?
Does you mentor have sufficient funds to support your research supply needs?
Can you arrange vacation time (10-14 days) during your project?
Another way to find appropriate faculty is to look through departmental web pages at the Vet School. The four Vet School departments are:
Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center
Clinical Studies, Philadelphia
If you need additional help or advice in finding a suitable mentor, the NIH/Merial Veterinary Research Scholars Program Advisory Committee is made up of faculty who have many years collective service as mentors and advisors. They are an excellent resource in your search for an appopriate research mentor. The Committee members are:
Dr. Michael Atchison, Animal Biology
Dr. Kurt Hankenson, Animal Biology
Dr. Mark Haskins, Pathobiology
Dr. Cindy Otto, Clinical Studies, Philadelphia
Feel free to contact them for advice at any time.
Of the more than 500 potential faculty mentors at Penn, 134 have previously hosted Program students. Mentors form the past 14 years are listed and hotlinked, along with the titles of their students' research projects, under Funded Projects. Once you have identified a faculty mentor you are ready to prepare your application. Make a draft of your research proposal and give it to your mentor for advice and approval no later than 4 weeks before the deadline. Provide other information requested on the online submission site. Remember to submit your application no later than February 1, 2013. Good luck!