To be the best lab we can be, members of the DeAngelis lab agree that we are expected to:
- Strive to be critical thinkers. Ask questions and seek diverse resources to find answers.
- Be advocates for and practice the execution of ethically responsible, sound, and well-communicated research.
- Take responsibility for our own research, and that of our lab peers by providing a supportive and accepting environment in which accomplishments are rewarded, and constructive criticisms are always welcome.
Our lab has agreed on these general expectations for everyone in the lab, in no particular order, as well as specific expectations for different types of roles of the lab.
Collaborative research. Our lab group is collaborative, and your PI is a coinvestigator on all projects. We share viewing access to all protocols, data, research and results internally through OSF, Overleaf, and/or Google docs. When you begin your work in the lab, we will have a shared online document where we can share research plans, data, shared papers, and writing. You should expect to have a dedicated folder for your project where you share results, plans and progress here. A shared meeting notes document for both agenda items to discuss, and benchmarks for short-term and long-term goals. People working on projects funded by public funds are obligated to share data and scripts at the time of publication, and this shared repository will also act as a place to draft these open source final documents.
Attendance. All lab members are expected to contribute towards making the lab a fun, safe, intellectual place for scientific discovery. With the freedom to pursue what interests you comes the responsibility of being a committed lab member; this means you show up to lab events, group meetings, and individual meetings prepared and on time. These meetings are mandatory for all lab members except for undergraduate students; if you cannot make an event, it is your responsibility to let me and other lab members know in a timely manner.
Professional development. All members should be on the lookout for opportunities for personal and professional development. It is your responsibility to know where your funding comes from, both for your stipend as well as your research and travel supplies. While I am committed to supporting you while you are in the lab, it is your responsibility to earnestly try to supplement that with outside funding. It is ultimately better for your career as well as for the lab.
Lab citizenship. The lab is a shared environment. It is up to everyone to keep it clean and tidy, to take responsibility for and to communicate safety issues, left dirty dishes etc. Sharing is encouraged, and members should replace lab stocks when they finish or nearly finish them, or let someone know about dwindling resources. Everyone is also responsible for communicating about material needs as far in advance as possible – this degree of organization will make you a better scientist.
Mentoring. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and the lab should be an environment where we can talk freely about and work on our weaknesses, and showcase our strengths. While more senior members will take on most of the mentoring responsibility, the goal is to help each other cultivate our inner scientists. Make time to help others, but don’t forget to protect the time you need to reach your own goals. If you are struggling with meeting expectations for yourself, consider doing a self-assessment (link pdf), which you can do on your own, with me, or a small group.
Safety. Everyone is responsible for safety; there is no hierarchy of who can tell whom to be safe. So, get personal protective equipment (PPE) that you like and use it. Follow the safety rules and use common sense: fill out and dispose of waste appropriately, avoid incompatible chemical reactions, use secondary containment, use fume hoods, be attentive, don’t eat in lab areas, and keep work areas organized and clean. If you feel unsafe for some reason, you have the right to stop work and please bring it to my attention. Because remember…you can’t be a good scientist if phenol:chloroform has corroded your brain.
Email etiquette. Everyone who uses email should do so conscientiously and sparingly. Here are some general rules that should be followed, though this is not an exhaustive list. Click through for more information…
The following are specific expectations for different members of the lab. However, everyone’s goals and specific situations are unique, and my expectations from each of you are also unique to your situation. If you have a question about what is expected of you, please ask, but remember that you are here because I think you are capable of making a significant contribution to our science, and I would not ask you do anything I didn’t think you weren’t able to do.
Expectations of Graduate Students
The primary job of the graduate student is to learn. Graduate students are expected to work towards completion of their dissertation projects in all endeavors, knowing that this can be defined quite broadly and individually in consultation with me. Graduate students are expected to serve as mentors for undergraduates, leading by example and helping mentees become capable, thinking scientists. Since graduate students are working towards becoming intellectual peers to their professors, it is important that they read widely and help complement the knowledge of their committees. Graduate students should do everything in their power to meet deadlines, and to communicate if/when those deadlines are not going to be met.
Expectations of Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate students are expected to show up to the lab, ready to learn, at the agreed times, and commit to the lab work during those blocks. Graduate students do their best to provide activities which are interesting and provide good learning experiences, but it is the role of undergraduates to inform them when something isn’t going as expected, or really isn’t stimulating them. Like graduate students, undergraduates must come ready and prepared with results and questions for weekly meetings, and meet deadlines, and communicate ahead of time when those won’t be met. Typically, undergraduate students commit to a project that lasts for one semester, with clear benchmarks to meet throughout the semester. Independent study students will submit a brief final written report and presentation to be delivered at the end of the semester.
Grading information for independent study:
- A: Excellent performance in most areas. Shows potential to become a first-rate, independent, highly motivated and highly productive researcher. Likely to overcome any weaknesses.
- A-: Good performance in most areas. Shows potential to perform capable, effective, independent research.
- B: Adequate, but not much beyond adequate performance in most areas. Potential to become a solid but perhaps not fully independent researcher. Some weaknesses in ability or motivation.
- B-: Serious weaknesses in important areas. Advisor has reservations about whether candidate has potential to become an independent researcher.
- C: Serious inadequacies in important areas. Advisor believes candidate lacks potential to become an independent researcher.
Expectations of Technicians
Technicians are expected to take a deep interest in the technical aspects of their job, developing a broad portfolio of troubleshooting skills for both procedures and equipment. The technician should be the first place a student goes to when they are having issues with an experiment and their troubleshooting ideas have failed. The lab technician should then work with the student to brainstorm and troubleshoot, forming hypotheses about what caused the problem, and methods to test possible solutions. It is crucial to have a collaborative response to problems, rather than the technician simply providing answers to issues. Technicians are a resource that our PI can deploy for students when they need an extra pair of hands, and to keep the lab running smoothly. Technicians must have a high degree of self-initiative, and able to structure and fill their time optimally in order to maximize their positive impact on the lab.
Expectations of Post-Docs
Post-Docs should be interested in mentoring all levels of students, and able to do this while doing the most brilliant science imaginable. They are expected to be collaborators in the grant writing and reviewing process, and submitting grants of their own. Despite the high level of collaboration, the post-doc should be independent and able to work alone. I will commit to helping postdocs realize a vision of your own science, and assist with any material needs or otherwise that will achieve that goal. I expect postdocs to help me to improve myself as a PI. Some postdocs might want to begin to develop a project that they will take with them when they leave. We should talk about this as early as possible, to make clear what time, materials and resources are available to you. I am also happy to help or advise in grant writing for independent projects.
Expectations of Kristen
My goal is to improve our understanding of the world through our science, and to do it in the most personally and professionally sustainable way possible. I expect you to do as I do, which is to work hard but also honor the things that make you happy and productive, and include them in your life also. You can expect me to facilitate your training as a scientist by helping you to choose a project and research direction that will be fulfilling on a day-to-day as well as broad basis. I will do my best to provide, with your help, all the things you need to perform your research. I will read drafts of your grants and applications. I will introduce you to my colleagues and help you to make them your own. I will work with you to get you into the research career path that you set out for yourself. I will commit to this as long as you meet your own expectations, and you can expect me to be honest and supportive of you along the way.