Lab expectations

Lab Expectations

My job is to facilitate the training and opportunities they need to advance in their chosen careers, whether in academia, industry, teaching or other options. My goals are 1) for trainees to become independent critical thinkers and rigorous scientists; 2) for the lab to produce impactful, sound and reproducible science, 3) to foster an intellectually stimulating and fun environment conducive to generating new ideas that can be rigorously tested.

General expectations

  • Do your best and be productive

  • Communicate: indicate what you need to be happy and feel fulfilled in the lab

  • Be capable and critical thinkers

  • Be advocates for and practice the execution of ethically responsible, sound and well-communicated research

  • Have personal motivation, curiosity and enthusiasm for neuroscience

  • Keep research as a priority

  • Assist in providing a supportive and accepting environment in which accomplishments are rewarded and constructive criticisms are always welcome

  • Be personally responsible and accountable

Specific expectations

Attendance. All lab members are expected to contribute towards making the lab a fun, safe, intellectual space for scientific discovery. Please show up to lab events, group meetings and individual meetings prepared and on time. If you cannot make an event it is your responsibility to let me and other lab members know in a timely manner. I do not like to monitor the work habits of my trainees, but I do expect individuals to make sufficient progress towards project goals. While I am happy to allow you to choose the hours you work, I strongly recommend that the majority of those hours be during the times when others and I are also at work. Troubleshooting is a key component of our scientific discipline and it is much easier to troubleshoot when others are around. Absences (days off, holidays) should be approved in advance and must not interfere with project operations or other scheduled activities.

Professional development. All members should be on the look out for personal and professional development. 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. This helps the lab and it is better for your career to show that you can obtain external funding.

Lab citizenship. The lab is a shared environment. It’s up to everyone to keep it clean and tidy, to take responsibility to communicate safety issues, left dirty dishes, etc. It is important that everything is put back where it was found in the correct location. Sharing is encouraged and members should replace lab stocks when they are 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.

Additionally, please protect the research equipment you use. It is very expensive and some of it is custom built. Please be sure to clean up salt solution spills and regularly maintain your equipment. If there are and problems or issues with any of the equipment, please bring it to my attention immediately.

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. Each student is encouraged to provide mentoring to a junior lab member through aiding with research techniques, sharing his or her latest results, interpretations, obstacles, and plans. While it is important to make time to help others, do remember to protect the time you need to achieve your own goals.

Safety. Everyone is responsible for safety. Your health and safety are more important than your research. Please attend the requisite animal care training, laboratory safety and WHIMIS courses, remember to use personal protective equipment when necessary. Fill out and dispose of waste appropriately, use fume hoods when needed, read MSDS information. Keep work areas organized and clean. If you feel unsafe for some reason, bring it to my attention.

Authorship. I follow the following rationale for including authors on publications. Each researcher must meet three key criteria: they must have been involved in designing the project, collecting data or analyzing the results; they must have participated in drafting or revising the manuscript; and they must have approved the final, published paper. The first author is usually the person who has performed the central experiments of the project. Often, this individual is also the person who has helped prepared the first draft of the manuscript. The lead author is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all other authors meet the requirements for authorship as well as ensuring the integrity of the work itself.

Data. All data generated are the property of the laboratory. Please ensure that you always back up all of your data and analyses on one of the lab external hard drives. Computers often break, so please ensure you do daily back ups of your data on your analysis and acquisition computers. If you do analysis and storage of data on your personal computer, please back up all of this information to the lab external hard drives.

Expectations of Stephanie

I will read and edit drafts of your grants and manuscripts. I will do my best to expedite publishing your studies.

I will do my best to provide the resources you need to perform your research.

I will be available. A supervisor’s role is to give advice and be a person they can depend on. I strive to be compassionate, patient and empathetic. I will answer emails. I will be available for one-on-one meetings as necessary.

You can expect me to help you meet your personal milestones, whether they be preparing for talks, helping you write manuscripts, and writing reference letters to support your travel awards or scholarships. I will introduce to you to my colleagues to make them your own. I will do my best to help you achieve the career goals you set out for yourself.