Collaborative or Cutthroat Culture in Biological Sciences?

How would you characterize the academic culture in the life sciences for undergrads at Brandeis? My daughter is interested in pursuing a research career - not a pre-med track (although I suspect the two tracks share common courses, especially general requirements like organic chemistry). Also, what are the realistic prospects for meaningful undergrad research? D is currently interning at college lab where collaboration is the norm.

I’m a current undergrad at Brandeis, and interested in the same things as your daughter. The majority of Bio majors are pre-med, as they don’t have a separate track, but in terms of research students, I’ve always been friendly with the people in my classes and we help each other. I’m going into my sophomore year, and have a lab lined up for the fall, which is pretty typical. Most freshmen don’t do research, to allow them to get adjusted. The professors are friendly and as long as you show interest in the work they are doing you have a good chance of finding someone. Especially with her having already had research experience, she’ll be an ideal candidate. Most students in labs will do at least one summer in their lab, in order to increase the amount of work done. If she decides to go, I’d recommend she join Galaxy, a mentoring program for freshmen science students. The advisor there helped me contact professors and was a great resource in finding a lab.