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Marisa.UVA

Fall Rotation Fell Through

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So due to a series of rather unfortunate events, my fall rotation for my neuroscience Ph.D. program fell through this past week.

 

Due to extraneous circumstances, I am unlikely to be able to join the lab I am currently rotating in, although I absolutely love the work (which is on stem cell transplants for CNS repair). 

 

My fall rotation is supposed to begin this coming Monday, August 25, and I am scrambling to find a lab that A) has the funds to support me were I to eventually join, B) has the room for a rotation this fall, and C) has research in a field I am interested enough in to believe I could have a chance of working there permanently. I have found two labs, of which I have to decide between by Tuesday.

 

Let me lay out the options, because essentially I am having a very hard time choosing which route to take.

 

Peripheral Nerve Crush Lab

Pros: Broadly applicable techniques I would be exposed to, including electrophysiology, nerve injection, transgenic mouse models, and PCR. Is already listed as neuroscience training lab, so setting up a rotation would be easy. 

Cons: The research is on a topic which I am vaguely interested in (PNS regeneration and repair), but does not excite me in the least due to the approach they are taking (looking at gene expression over natural repair timecourse). I find the PI a little dull for my taste, though he is very smart and well-known. I do not believe I would be excited enough about the type of research they are doing to eventually join this lab, but I do know I would learn a lot that would be applicable in other labs.

 

Biomaterials Lab

Pros: Highly funded, very cutting edge research that I find fascinating. There are projects that have been going on in the lab which involve creating scaffolds for prolonged release of growth factors and/or transplantation of stem cells into both the CNS and PNS, which I find extremely exciting. I could potentially love this work, although I have had no experience in bioengineering and therefore cannot be sure I'd like it. The PI is very nice and I really enjoyed meeting him, and our conversation was already exciting me to the point where I was thinking about where I could take his research.

Cons: It is NOT a neuroscience lab, which means I would have to get special permission to rotate there. Because of this same fact, I would be largely independent to the point of "working like a post-doc;" i.e. I would have help creating a basic project and the materials I wanted to use, but I would be on my own in terms of application to the nervous system. If I rotate here and love it, awesome. But if I rotate here and do not, the techniques would be less broadly applicable than those I'd learn in the other lab.

 

My main issue is that I do not want to waste a rotation. Because I am fairly certain I will not end up in my current lab, I am afraid to enter a lab I am sure I will not like, because that means my third and final rotation has to be THE lab (if you will). 

 

Any thoughts on this issue? Thanks so much, guys!

 

 

 

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If it was me, I would go with lab 2. The first one sounds like you're not so interested in it and I personally think that the independent nature of lab 2 would be awesome. But, you're not me, so you have to decide what sort of risk you are willing to take and how narrowly focused your research goals and interests are.

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I would go with lab number two. Biomaterials will open more doors for you in the future ( personal belief). 

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