I'm been looking for employment in pharmacology or neuroscience research at the moment and was wondering if there are any lab training programmes or courses for specific lab techniques e.g. HPLC, PCR, immunoblotting etc. While my masters degree involved lab work along these lines my degree didn't so I'd imagine most biochemistry and pharmacology undergraduates would have more experience than myself in this area. With the exception of the FAS internships there doesn't seem to be any training programmes but thought I'd check here if anyone knew of any? Thanks.
I forgot to mention I don't have my own labrador. Sorry. Will this matter?
Are you looking for a job in academia or industry?
In terms of employment I'd prefer academia but would gladly work in either. Just haven't had much luck so far with job applications as I don't think I have enough lab experience (degree was in psychology). That's why I'm looking at training programmes to improve my CV.
Undergraduates get less experience than you might think.
If you can afford to try to get unpaid experience, that may be worth a shot.
I found that if you have minimal experience with a technique but express willingness to learn quickly, you may find interviewers open to hiring you. Of course, gettting your CV to the interview stage is where the problem might lie. There are recruiters for science jobs, might be worth doing a consultation with them and see if they have any suggestions.
As regards vocational training courses for lab experience, I really dont know of any offhand.
Well i guess that the main problem you are having is the fact that your degree is in Psychology and as such would be taken that you don't have the necessary science/biology background. Since you are interested in Neuroscience you might have a better chance with labs doing behavioural studies. Also theres quite a broad range of techniques and subject areas you have mentioned so that is something you need to consider.
To be honest other than doing a taught Masters which had a decent length lab placement there is probably not alot else around. In general I would not be a fan of taught Masters in Science but with your background it may be of benefit if thats the career path you wish to go.
If you are serious about it then you could try getting experience in a lab working for free since these are actually the best places to learn lab techniques! As Tree said a willingness to learn will go a long way but will take a little bit of work to teach these techniques as well so would need to be a bit of commitment on your part.
Best of luck!
Very true, I recall only getting experience in those immunological techniques in my final degree year. Even then it was only for 3 months (had to split my time with Chemistry). OP probably received just as much, if not more in his MSc.
Willingness to learn and good understanding of the theory behind the techniques will help a lot.
Could you guys give names of potential decent science recruiters??? My experience is limited also however i've only ever gotten two science interviews!
Thanks for all the information!
Cgc5483 - The masters I just completed was actually a taught masters but involved research. When I go back to education it will hopefully be to apply for a Ph.D. I would be more than willing to work in a lab for free the only problem is I'm currently working in a 9-5 job completely unrelated to what I've studied so I'm only available at evenings and weekends. Unfortunately I can't afford to quit.
tatabubbly - The only science recruiter I've come across is Thornshaw. They're part of the CPL group. I applied for a job through their site back in November and they called me back about it and asked me questions about my experience, explained what the job involved and were generally really helpful. Haven't heard anything from them since then though. I emailed them recently asking if they offer a consultation service and they just said they had my details on file and would be in contact if something came up. Haven't come across any other science-specific recruiters though.
Do you have any specific area of interest, eg. neurodegeneration, immunology etc? What area was your Masters research project in and what techniques did you use? Do you have an idea what area or person you might apply for a PhD in/with? If so it could be worth your while emailing PIs in that area, outlining what you have done and that you want to get back into academics. Who knows, they may have or may be applying for grants. Its all about networking, networking and luck
Additionally I have found that techniques don't matter as much as drive or passion when applying for PhDs (although they do count for a lot). In your applications you should try and show that a job/phd in whatever area you are interested in isn't "the logical next step" that you would take following a BSc in science, but is a something that you are passionate about and something that you have been moving towards for a number of years through your masters and (hopefully) job.
PhDs especially are training orientated, so you don't necessarily need the skills that you are going to use. Just so long as you can show that you know how and why certain techniques are used and how that can inform your present knowledge on something or other, you will be doing alright.
I moved from BSc in psychology to a PhD in mechanisms of neurodegeneration and repair via a masters in neuroscience focusing on degeneration (thats a mouthful), so it can be done. It took a bit of work though. Chin up, keep calm and carry on and all that.