Welcome to our group! Several of your more senior coworkers have
suggested that it is high time for me to put together a document
that outlines what you should expect in a variety of different situations
– what you should expect from us (or even from me!) and at
the same time what your responsibilities will be as a member of
the group. As much as I shy away from such declarations, here goes!
Lab citizenship: What is it, and why it is
soooooooooo important to our joie de vivre.
- Always leave equipment in a state that is at least as good as
the state in which you found it. Never leave equipment broken:
If you cannot fix it, report it to the appropriate lab member.
- Always maintain stocks of group materials and reagents. If you
use the last Spin column, order more!
- Back up your computer files often.
- Keep common areas as clean as you keep your home (if not cleaner!).
- Be especially careful and considerate in your use of radiochemicals.
- Please maintain a legible, complete, up-to-date notebook. Just
think of how frustrated you will be (and how much precious time
you could lose) when you try to use your own notebook to repeat
an experiment, but fail because you did not write down all the
- Please attend at least one seminar per week. You will be amazed
by what you learn!
What to expect from mini-meeting
- For me, having mini-meeting is more important than having it
in exactly the same time slot each week. So, expect that mini-meetings
will be held every other week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will try to rearrange the
schedule to accommodate being gone for a day, or to accommodate
scheduling conflicts over which I have no control (like Faculty
meetings). Michelle will send weekly email reminders to keep you informed of any changes, etc.
- Bring your data, your enthusiasm, and your concerns. We will
always begin with where we left off last time we met and continue
from there. We will always end with a discussion of what our priorities
should be for the two weeks ahead.
- Bring your notebook, which should be legible, complete, and
- Don’t even think about letting me answer the phone.
What to expect when you travel to a meeting
Scientific meetings are a great opportunity to learn about unpublished
work in our field, meet your peers at other institutions, meet the
faculty leading other labs, and talk about your work with people
who listen with a perspective honed somewhere other than at Yale.
At the very least, you can expect to be sent (courtesy of the lab)
to at least one major meeting (ACS, Gordon Conference) towards the
end of your time in the lab (like the summer after your third or
fourth year). The exact time is dictated in large part by your
ability to present a poster – in general, people go as soon
as they have results and conclusions that translate into a high-quality
poster. Be aware that I like to take a look at the posters (for
a variety of reasons – patent issues, authorship, collaborations,
to name a few) before you go. Since it is important to communicate
what you learned at the meeting with the rest of the group, also
expect to lead a literature meeting upon your return in which you
tell us, as best you can, everything you learned while you were
Who writes the papers?
Learning to effectively communicate your experimental design, results
and conclusion in a clear, concise, scholarly way is one of the
most important (and hardest) things you learn in graduate school.
So the answer to the question above is: We do, when it is clear
that there exist sufficient results and conclusions to justify publication.
In general, you will write the first draft of a paper (including
the figures) and accumulate an accurate and up-to-date reference
list. The draft will shuttle between us for as long as it takes
to generate a document of which we are both proud. The final hurdle
is a group “red pen session” in which we analyze every
last word, every figure, and every reference.