Finding a Lab
There are four steps to finding a lab to work in at Johns Hopkins:
- Look on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neuroscience website.
- Find some investigators that interest you.
- Do a Pub Med search of the investigators and read some of the papers from the labs.
- Make contact.
The Johns Hopkins neuroscience department site lists many of the neuroscience-related researchers on all Hopkins campuses. Students 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.
Students should do a Pub Med search for more recent papers written by the faculty they are interested in working with. Try to find review papers, which are usually easier to understand. You will also need to 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. It is good to read a brief selection of the articles that have been published by the potential supervisors, to ensure that the nature of the research being conducted is understood and can be intelligently discussed.
It is best to contact faculty via email to discuss possible research opportunities. You should 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. Faculty members from the medical school will start looking for students around the end of April and beginning of May for the summer session, around August for the fall semester, and January for the spring semester. These are just guidelines, however, and students have found labs before or after these times.
Supervised research is initiated by an agreement between the student and the faculty member (who will be known as the lab supervisor) with whom s/he wishes to work. That agreement specifies the student’s work in terms of research including the following: the length of time the student will spend working; times when the student is expected to be present; student contribution to the lab supervisor (e.g., a certain amount of time, contributions to a paper, the results of an experiment); and lab supervisor contribution (e.g., supervision, readings, guidance in pursuing the project). No paperwork is required, as the duties are verbally agreed upon.
During the summer months and over intersession, students may also choose to do research at other universities closer to their hometowns. You will need approval from Dr. Linda Gorman in order to work in labs outside of Hopkins campuses.