Skip to main content

Finding a Research Mentor

Research experience will help you prepare for graduate school or for a career in research. Research experience is also a plus on applications for medical school. 

When applying for a research opportunity, it's important to have some general ideas of the research areas that intrigue you and to identify one or more investigators whose work interests you.

For SURF Applicants

On the SURF application you will be required to list at least one faculty member as a potential mentor. If you are accepted into SURF, we will try to match you with one of the faculty members on your list or, if they are not available, we will search for people doing similar work.

We recommend that you start by identifying investigators whose work interests you. You might prepare for a discussion with one of our investigators by reading some of his or her recently published work, which you can often find from his or her webpage. Then contact one or a few researchers by email, expressing interest in their work and describing your previous classroom and lab experience.

If you're in the local area, ask if you might meet with them to discuss research opportunities or, if this is not possible, carry on the "conversation" by email or phone. If the conversations are positive on both sides, ask if they would allow you to work on a project in their lab as a SURF fellow. Then submit your application, particularly noting your conversations with the investigator.

Your list will give us a good idea of the kind of researcher with whom you would like to work. If you take the initiative to contact faculty members personally, you will learn more about the research going on in their labs. Additionally, by giving them an opportunity to get to know you, you will increase your potential for being placed with them.

For Undergraduate Students at UC

In addition to the SURF Program, if you are an undergrad at UC, you might perform research in labs at UC COM and Cincinnati Children's Hospital as a co-op rotation, as a paid position, or for academic credit. Student positions for co-op, student worker, and work study in COM Departments are posted on the UC Job Opportunities website, but students are encouraged to contact faculty directly to initiate discussion of potential research positions.

Where to Find UC COM and CCHMC Researchers

Any investigator at UC COM or CCHMC is a potential mentor and can be listed on your SURF application. Here are some online places where you can find investigators:

  • College of Medicine Doctoral Programs and Master Programs: Each program has a list of faculty with individuals' contact information and a description of their research.
  • COM Department list. See main navigation menu above. (CCHMC faculty are listed under the COM Department  of Pediatrics.)
  • Faculty member’s name via the UC Directory.
  • NIH Reporter search engine helps you identify faculty with projects funded by the NIH.  Include the term “Cincinnati” in the box labeled “Organization” to find investigators at UC COM and CCHMC.
  • Search Google, Bing, etc. (include “Cincinnati” among your search terms)

Contact Us

Office of
Graduate Education

Medical Sciences Building
Suite 1055
231 Albert Sabin Way
PO Box 670548
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0548

Mail Location: 0548
Phone: 513-558-5626