New to Research at Geisel…Start Here First

The research process can be among the most rewarding aspects of your Geisel Medical School experience, and hopefully will prepare you for a lifetime of discovery and scholarship in your medical career.  However, it is important to recognize that performing research requires a very structured approach, and it is important to understand the research process at Geisel before embarking on your research career.

The questions below should help to answer many of the questions experienced by students performing research at Geisel.  If there are any questions that are unanswered, please reach out to the Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research, Tim Gardner MD (


  1. What is the first thing I need to do to start research at Geisel?

The most important thing to do first is to identify a general area of research.  Do you want to perform foundational (bench) research? Are you interested in a particular specialty that excites you? Do you have research experience in college that you would like to continue? Are you worried about doing research to match in a particular specialty?

On our website, you will see research contact information for just about each Dartmouth Health section, department and organization that provides research opportunities for Geisel students. Please reach out to the point of contact via email and express your interest in performing research to the contact.  You should hear back from these contacts shortly.  If not, please contact the Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research ( who can help facilitate the contact.


  1. What if I don’t know what type of research I want to perform?

This is a common question faced by many students at all different training levels.  One of the roles of the Student Affairs office is to help students identify areas of research and scholarly interest so if you find yourself in this situation, please reach out.  We can help to identify the resources available to perform research at Geisel. Please contact the Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research ( to set up a meeting to discuss your research interests.


  1. I’ve identified a research mentor and a project, can I get started on doing research?

For just about all research, there is a process that students are required to follow to begin research at Geisel, DH or other locations.  The process is important to complete prior to getting started on any research study.  This process is called the research “on-boarding” process and the steps to take for this process can be found on our website.  For some students this process can be intimidating so please contact the Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research ( who can help with any questions related to the on-boarding process.


4. I am feeling overwhelmed by the thought of performing research. Is it something I have to do in medical school?
No!  Performing research at Geisel should only be undertaken if it is something you enjoy or are anticipating enjoying. Research is very rewarding, but can sometimes be time-consuming and somewhat intimidating.  It is also important to recognize that research is only one aspect of overall scholarship and performance in medical school.  Multiple different avenues are available to pursue scholarship at Geisel including the various scholars programs, advocacy and volunteer opportunities.


  1. What do I do if I am completely lost or have any questions at any step in the research process?

The office of Medical Student Affairs is here to help and assist!  Please contact the Assistant Dean for Medical Student Research ( who can help with any issues related to the research process.  We are here to help!