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Research Opportunities

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Introduction to Research

Learn more about faculty research across the disciplines in more than 50 UC Davis-affiliated centers, institutes, and programs. View the diverse areas of research that is currently being conducted in the four undergraduate colleges and the six professional and graduate schools UC Davis has to offer.

Egghead is a blog about research by, with or related to UC Davis. View the latest research questions, methods, and discoveries at UC Davis. UC Davis Medical School: Biology Academic Success Center. Finding a Research Mentor The best way to get to find a research mentor is by attending office hours on a regular basis. Begin by identifying potential research mentors: Determine what interests you the most in your discipline. Find a research area that you want to dedicate time and energy to learning more about.

For example, molecular biology, plant conservation, or perhaps something that is interdisciplinary like wildlife health. Use the CBS faculty directory to identify facultywithin the college working in your area of interest.

Talk to friends who are already doing research to get their advice about potential mentors. If you are not sure what research area interests you, then start by doing a general review of faculty research in the academic department in which you are majoring.

But also think broadly! View the links below to view research across the disciplines in more than 50 UC Davis-affiliated centers and programs, the six professional schools and four undergraduate colleges.

Generate a ranked list of potential mentors based on your searches. Write down your own research questions; do not be embarrassed if your questions seem basic or vague — everyone starts this way! Contact potential research mentors Email is a good way to make initial contact with potential mentors. When you are writing your email s , consider the following: Research mentors are busy people, so keep your email short and to the point approximately 1 paragraph.

Your mentor is expecting you to be new to science, but will want to see that you can articulate clearly the specific areas of science that you are interested in pursuing. Be clear that you are looking for a research experience.

Clearly define your main goal e. Highlight what you have to offer: Show enthusiasm for learning how to do research there is no expectation you will do it perfectly at this point, but you should be eager to learn!

You may wish to attach the following to your email: Do not write one email and send it to all research mentors regardless of how they differ in their research interests. Form emails are easy to spot and easy to delete.

Make sure each email is short, personal, and captivating. Do not expect an answer immediately. Give your potential research mentor days to respond. Do follow-up if your email goes un-answered. Researchers are busy people who get numerous inquiries about their research daily. Be polite, but persistent and re-send your email if you have not heard back in 5 days. Identify a faculty mentor. Ask your college adviser, preceptor or members of the department that interests you if they know of any faculty currently performing research in your area of interest.

You may be able to join in an existing research project or start your own project under the supervision of your mentor. Ideally this person will have experience in conducting and publishing research as well as expertise in your area of interest. Develop a research question and plan. Work with your mentor to narrow down your research question into something manageable. Decide what kind of project you will conduct. Write your research proposal and apply for funding.

A list of funding resources related to Global Health research at UC Davis is located in the column to the left. If your research includes human subjects, obtain IRB approval.

All research involving human subjects must be approved by an ethics review committee called the Institutional Review Board. The application must be completed meticulously. It is helpful to have a faculty mentor who knows someone on the IRB committee who might be able to usher your project along. Either way it can take several months to gain IRB approval. The IRB will often request revisions, which take several weeks to be approved.

There are different levels of IRB approval depending on the level of risk involved in your project. Low risk projects with non-vulnerable populations, such as a series of interviews with physicians, can be submitted as "expedited" or even "exempt" which means that they can be approved by one IRB member instead of the entire board.

Projects that involve risk to subjects or vulnerable populations are considered "full" approval applications, which require the entire IRB committee to meet and discuss the project before giving approval. Obtain ethics review committee approval in the country where you will be conducting research. You should contact a medical school in the country where you will be conducting research to determine if you can apply for ethics committee approval.

Ideally you should plan to include local students or faculty in your project. Allow several months for this process!


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Undergrad opportunities. Put “research” on your résumé by attending UC Davis, where you get hands-on experience and the skills valued by employers.

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The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) encourages and facilitates research opportunities for UC Davis undergraduates in all majors and class levels. We offer awards and activities to support undergraduate research across the university.

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The Center provides many opportunities to graduate students, from mentoring on research and career objectives, courses, conferences, our annual graduate student retreat, as well as opportunities in our visiting graduate student scholar program. UC Davis School of Medicine students have a number of options for structuring a research experience within the context of your medical studies. It can take the form of brief independent study, a summer experience, a longitudinal experience throughout medical school, or a second degree program.

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The program culminates with a research symposium involving the combined UC Davis UC-HBCU programs where the scholars will present the findings of their summer research project. Note: UC Davis undergraduates are not eligible for this program. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at UC Davis (Note: This program focuses on non-UCD students, but Davis undergraduates are welcome to participate as well.) Many other institutions have summer research programs for undergraduates sponsored by the National Science Foundation.