Finding a Lab

There are four steps to finding a lab to work in at Johns Hopkins:

  1. Look on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neuroscience website.
  2. Find some investigators that interest you.
  3. Conduct a Pub Med search of the investigators and read some of the papers from the labs.
  4. Make contact.

The Johns Hopkins Neuroscience Department site lists many of the neuroscience-related researchers on all Hopkins campuses. You can also consult departmental web pages and other online information. The research interests of faculty members are usually listed, along with selected bibliographies of published works.

You should conduct a Pub Med search for more recent papers written by the faculty in which you are interested. Review papers are usually easier to understand. Also, find some primary articles, so that you can get more information about the lab. For example, a PI may be working on Alzheimer’s disease; this work can be done with patients, animal models, cell cultures, etc. Read a brief selection of articles published by your potential supervisors to ensure that you can intelligently discuss the nature of the research.

Contact faculty by email to discuss possible research opportunities. Introduce yourself as an undergraduate neuroscience major and explain your interest in working for credit in the faculty member’s laboratory.

The medical school campus is on a different schedule than the Homewood campus. Medical school faculty look for students at the end of April and beginning of May for the summer session, in August for the fall semester, and in January for the spring semester. However, students have found labs before or after these times.

During the summer and intersession, you may also choose to do research at other universities closer to your hometowns. You will need approval from Dr. Linda Gorman to work in labs outside of Hopkins.

Research Agreement

Supervised research is initiated by an agreement between you and the faculty member (known as the lab supervisor). No paperwork is required, as the duties are verbally agreed upon. However, the agreement should include:

  • The length of time you will spend working
  • Times when you are expected to be present
  • Your contribution to the lab supervisor (e.g., a certain amount of time, contributions to a paper, the results of an experiment)
  • The lab supervisor’s contribution (e.g., supervision, readings, guidance in pursuing the project)