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Current MS Student with research/career-related questions


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I am currently starting my second year of a masters program in Biology. I am planning to seek employment in a research lab (Gov't, Biopharma, etc.) upon graduation. I am on the brink of getting deeply involved in research toward my Masters Thesis, but am torn between two lab opportunities. The two lab environments very different in two major ways:

1) 'Lab 1' ---

                    Culture: has 14 lab members plus the PI (I emphasize 'now' because 3 weeks ago, when I first met its members, there was 11!). The PI is a well-recognized Scholar in the field (Genomics-based analysis of pathogen infectivity) Although I met with the PI, who seemed enthusiastic about my joining the lab, she has relogated me to work directly with a Post-doc. Granted, there are many members in the lab; nonetheless, I feel slighted for having paid so much to attend this school, and feel that I could've easily worked with a Post-doc at a public school. (On a related note, I also don't feel that I'm getting full access to the lab equipment that the school has to offer (e.g., I will be doing 16s ribosomal RNA sequencing vs. Whole-genome shotgun Sequencing).

                    Research: the goal is to sequence the respiratory Microbiome of a model organism (Ferrets) to identify any biomarkers (gene, protein, miRNA, etc.) that may indicate the severity of Influenza co-infection (i.e., detect bacterial co-infection). It involves DNA extraction, PCR, Library Preparation, 16s rRNA Illumina Sequencing, and finally computational and alignment analysis (the lab focus is Genomics & Systems Biology).

2) 'Lab 2'  ---

                     Culture: Very simple....it will be the PI and myself. The PI is an Assistant Professor. Apparently, her mentor, a Professor with the University, is now working at a different location. She informed me that I would get a lot of experience and so forth

                    Research:  The focus is on evaluating the mechanisms and consequences of immune activation and immune exhaustion during HIV infection in children by examining biomarkers along with T Cells. According to her, I would learn Flow Cytometry, FACS, and Cell Culturing. What's more, she said I may be able to spearhead a project looking at immune activation in the mucosa induced by bacterial translocation....in other words, I will may be doing actual biomedical research. Most important, the samples are from humans (n=242).

Thanks for reading this much...now for my questions: 1) clearly Lab 1 is more established, with a PI who has published extensively in the field, and whose name may 'carry some weight' when it comes time to ask for a reference/recommmendation. However, I may actually get more experience, albeit different methods/techiques, from 'Lab 2'. Holding whether I want to work in a group environment or work independently constant, which Lab should I choose? 2) Based on the lab techniques mentioned in 'Research' section above, which are more marketable in todays laboratory workplace? 

Thanks again for getting through this lengthy inquiry. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

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