Lab practices

Expectations for Lab Members

Scientific integrity

We are in the business of truth seeking. This means we do not manipulate data to achieve a result. We follow the image handling guidelines set out in:

Never copy text from somewhere else and present it as your own. Also be aware of self-plagiarizing which is when you re-use text you’ve written that has been published.

Lab culture

Science can only be done in an environment free of harassment. A place where learning can happen and people feel safe. So, I expect that every member of the lab treats every other member of the lab with respect. A good lab is one where a good idea can come from anyone and everyone feels entitled to speak up, state an opinion, and/or ask a question.

Lab notebooks and repositories

Please use the lab’s Evernote or Trello for your lab notebook and keep it updated on a weekly basis. It is important to keep a detailed record of your work (i.e. more than just “I started cells today”). If you also keep a hard copy notebook for calculations or working out something, refer back to the Evernote or Trello notebook and vice versa (better yet, take a picture and put it into Evernote or Trello). Good documentation is our only defense against claims of misconduct, and is the only way to ensure reproducibility.

Also, remember that at the end of your time here, both your physical lab notebook and your Evernote or Trello boards will stay in my possession, and is owned by Yale. However, keeping electronic notes in Evernote/Trello will make it easy for you to take a version with you.

Please keep an up-to-date and detailed strain list on the Google drive. You will forget the genotype in a year (trust me), so be specific with what you made and how you made it.

We keep a repository of protocols, biosafety guidelines, and other assorted things on a Google drive account. We also have a shared Google Calendar for lab-related business (meetings, holidays, instrument sign-up, etc). In the Google drive you will find a Bootcamp document used for on-boarding new members This document includes how we make media, prepare plates, and other various things good for new lab members to know. If you deviate from these standard practices for some reason please keep a detailed account of what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Project ownership

I expect you to guide and develop your own project. Of course, I will help. Especially in the beginning, I may give you some thoughts or preliminary data on something I think would make a good thesis project. But then it is yours, and you will need to do your own reading and your own thinking about what the best experiments and directions may be. We will meet regularly to discuss the project, but I expect that you, not me, will quickly become the expert in the lab on your project.

Lab and one-on-one Meetings

We have weekly lab meetings and semi-regular 1-1 or 2-1 meetings. It may not seem like it, but this is your time, and you will get the most out of each meeting if you come with a goal or question. This is especially true at lab meetings. Use this time to gain the wisdom of the group. Are you struggling with a particular assay or analysis? Would you like extra eyes on a manuscript or grant you are working on? Walk us through it. We will try to help. Similarly, I expect that every member of the lab participates in lab meeting. If you are confused, ask a question. Be brave!

For one-one meetings, please bring your lab notebook so that we can get into the nitty gritty of what you are doing.

If you have a cool result, don’t wait to show me! There is nothing better than an email about a cool result.

If you want to meet outside these times, just shoot me an email!

Lab Citizenship and Lab Jobs

Working in a lab is an intimate environment. Please respect other people and their projects by keeping your space tidy and contained. Don’t take over multiple benches/desks, even if nobody is using them. No one person’s project or time is more important than any others. Use shared equipment with the intention that other people will use it after you. If something breaks communicate that to the lab and to Hesper. Always sign up for the microscopes on the Google Calendar (even if it’s just for 15 minutes!) and document your usage in the notebook.  When you use the last of some reagent or nearly the last, put it on the order list. Be a good lab citizen by doing your Lab Job in a timely manner. If someone is not doing their lab job, don’t do it for them, but instead ask them to do it. If that doesn’t work, talk to me.

Communication with Hesper and each other

I try to stay on top of email. If I don’t respond, try again. I promise, I won’t be offended.

If you are stuck with something, first look it up. Either on the Google drive or on the internet. Don’t waste other people’s time by asking something easily researchable. But also don’t struggle in silence. If you are really confused or want to walk through an experiment, ask someone, including me.

On the flip side, we are team and we need to help each other. This means that more experienced members may need to help more junior members on a regular basis. Please remember that you were a new scientist at some point, and people helped you. You will also need the help of others again. I am a big believer in science karma, and you can’t make a withdrawal from the bank if you have insufficient funds!

Lab Holidays + Schedules

I will never enforce working hours, but I do expect that work gets done. I expect that you will take care of your physical and mental health. This means establishing good routines and maintaining a healthy life/work balance. I do not expect, and actively discourage, trying to work 60-80 hours a week. I think this breeds unhappiness and I’m unconvinced that people can be maximally productive with these types of schedules. You can get your PhD/Postdoc done with more reasonable hours – trust me, I did it! That being said, there are no shortcuts to making a scientific discovery. Doing science takes time at the bench. It takes time thinking about your project when you are home or on a hike. It also takes talking about your science with your peers and mentors.

If something is preventing you from getting work done, then you must tell me. If I notice that work productivity is lagging, we will need to discuss what is going on, and how to move forward.

I think you will find that you will be most efficient if your schedule overlaps with other people in the lab, though I do understand that some people are more productive in the morning or the evening, and may choose a more asynchronous schedule.

If you will be away from lab, please put it the Google calendar. It’s not necessary to inform me of every day or hour you will be away, but please let me know if it will be more than a few days.

Expectations for Hesper

TBD by current members of the lab