Conducting Undergraduate Research at Wake Forest School of Medicine

Step 1. Contact the professor of the lab that you are most interested in. This page lists faculty at the medical school and a brief description of their research. In your email to the professor, let them know what interested you in their lab and propose to set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of conducting undergraduate research for credit in their lab sometime in the future. Please reach out to them ahead of time, NOT during the semester that you hope to start doing research. Onboarding (drug testing, background check, IACUC modules, getting access to the building) at the medical school can sometimes take up to 6 weeks so you will need to plan earlier than normal to make sure you can start in the lab at the beginning of the semester in which you are starting research. If you are onboarding for the first 4 weeks of the semester, you cannot get credit for research.

Step 2. If the professor has availability in their lab, meet with them to discuss the logistics of doing research with them. Find out: what semester(s) can you participate in undergraduate research with them?, what possible projects could you work on with them?, and what days/times of the week do you forsee being available to work on your research project? At the end of this conversation, you aim to come away with an agreement with a professor for a particular semester in which you can join their lab.

Step 3. Notify your Biology Department advisor and ask for their assistance in getting you registered for their section of Bio391 (Independent Research). Most students sign up for Bio391 when they first start research and when they intend to learn a skill and at some point work independently on the research. Bio390 (Mentored Research, less commonly used) is for course-based research experiences in which a group of students is all working jointly on one research project at the same time. You will need permission from your advisor to sign up for their section of Bio391. Your advisor may request a short write-up about the work that you plan to conduct in the medical school lab and will ask for the name and contact information for the medical school professor. Your advisor will then coordinate with the medical school professor throughout the semester to learn how your work is progressing, and to assign you a grade at the mid-term and end of semester. Your advisor will either give you a POI number or will ask you for your Wake ID number so that they can manually sign you up for their section of Bio391. Importantly, you cannot pre-register for Bio391. You will need to work this out with both the medical school professor and your advisor outside of the pre-registration process.

Step 4. Confirm that you are registered for the correct section of Bio391 (make sure it lists your Biology Advisor as instructor)

Step 5. Reach out to the medical school professor at the start of the semester to be sure that you have set meeting times and plans for when you are able to work on your research project.