Undergraduate Research Assistant
What am I looking for in an undergraduate research assistant?
What courses would you recommend for students to have taken prior to working in your laboratory?
Ideally, students working in my lab will have finished general chemistry and maybe taken a microbiology lab course. However, I take students at all levels, from freshman onward. Students should be interested in infectious disease, medical devices & coatings, and antibiotic development.
How many hours per week do you expect a student to spend in the laboratory per research credit and does the time have to be a set schedule?
I generally expect a minimum of 6 hours per week per research credit. Largely this is because students will not learn a sufficient amount of techniques or gain enough hands-on practice to have a positive impact on experiments in the lab without spending at least 6 hours per week in the lab. The time is not on a set schedule, per se, but is adaptable to the student’s class schedule. New students will not work in the lab during evening and weekend hours until they have sufficient experience to be independent and safe (generally not their first semester).
Ideally, for what length of time would a student research in your laboratory to achieve a meaningful research experience?
I do not take students who are only interested in a one semester experience. The minimum is usually a year, and I prefer students to try and join the lab 2 years (or more) before they graduate. The added time is paid off in improved summer internships, publications, conferences, and more meaningful letters of recommendation for employment and applications for professional schools.