Are you a highly motivated student who is willing to commit 12 to 15 hours per week to research? Consider applying for a research position!
As a biochemistry student, you can do research with any professor in the biology or chemistry departments.
Students who obtain positions in a professor’s lab typically work there until graduation, although many professors are understanding if you can no longer continue. Some professors also allow may students to volunteer in their lab without earning academic credit, which carries less of a commitment.
Picking an advisor
If you are interested in a professor’s lab, we recommend that you begin the conversation in the semester before you would like to start working — or even earlier, if possible.
Taking a class with a professor with a lab that interests you? Get to know them by attending their office hours, and come prepared with questions. Before you broach the subject of joining their lab, read about their research so that you can demonstrate genuine interest. Don't try to feign interest! It’s essential for overcoming the challenges and frustrations that research presents.
Be sure to mention if you can be in Binghamton for winter or summer sessions. Labs are less likely to be full during those times and, if you don't have other commitments, you will be able to be in the lab 40 to 50 hours or more per week.
Some professors have specific course requirements for students to enter their lab. Please refer to the biology research and chemistry research for more information. Please note that if you are intending on completing an honor’s thesis, your research needs to be related to biochemistry in some way.
We recommend registering for BCHM 497: Independent Study in Biochemistry, because this can count as your Math/Science elective; BIOL 497 and CHEM 497 cannot.
Once you have been accepted into a lab, please complete the Application for Independent study in biochemistry form and email it to Professor Bane. Register for BCHM 497 through your research advisor using the Independent study form.
Research positions are very competitive, and you may find that a given lab is simply full. This means that the lab's graduate students are already mentoring as many students as they can handle. Don't give up! Try another professor, and another.
Some professors are looking for sophomores who can work in their lab for three years, but others are looking for upper-classmen because they have more knowledge.
Keep in mind that students usually graduate in May, so more spots open up in fall than spring. This means March is the best time to apply to labs. The biochemistry program will run an information session on obtaining a research position in February; keep an eye on the biochem listserv for an announcement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to be added to the listserv.
If you are accepted into a lab, take the time commitment set by your advisor seriously. Choose your classes so that you have chunks of several hours available to work in the lab. Your advisor might not push you to do experiments; in many labs, you will have to be self-motivated.
We hope that you find your research experience rewarding and insightful.