- We invent the best technologies to observe and control cellular physiology.
- We apply these technologies to discover fundamental principles of life.
- We mentor and train the next generation of scientist.
What you can expect from me
You can expect me to be approachable, available, and straightforward. You can be sure that I respect you as a person and fellow researcher, give you room to grow, and care about you succeeding.
Together we will develop a well-balanced research plan, I will ensure lab funding so you can implement it, and help you communicate your findings and discoveries. I will introduce you to people that can be resources, and you can expect me to be your advocate during all stages of your career development (award & fellowship nominations, job talks, conference travel, etc.)
What I expect from everyone working with me
I expect everyone in my lab to conduct themselves professionally, with integrity and adhere to highest ethical standards. We will work great together if you are passionate about your research, you have a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and take pride in carrying out experiments with great care and efficiency. I expect that you attend all lab and one-on-one meetings, and that you are an active participant in discussion.
We all make mistakes sometimes, but by owning up to them is how we grow as a person. I do not tolerate lab members that take inappropriate shortcuts, act before thinking things through, do sloppy work, or adopt negative attitudes that harm themselves, other lab members, or the morale and reputation of our group.
I expect you to care for fellow lab members and to help creating a positive and productive work environment. Nobody is an island; it is on us to lend support and to encourage each other to do the best possible science.
I had the good fortune to receive excellent mentorship from my previous advisors; I will follow my mentors' example. The most important lesson I learned was that science is not so much about finding answers to every question. It is about exploring the questions that are worth asking in the first place. Leadership then is to decide what those questions are for a group of people. It requires the capability of independent thought, so we can look at the world from a new angle.
I consider it part of my mentoring responsibility to impress certain aspects of character and mind – especially leadership qualities – that will allow members of my lab to succeed in any profession they choose.
There are numerous source for personal funding available, and I expect members of my lab to pursue these opportunities. This is applies to postdoc in particular and I will work with you to maximize your chances of success. Personal grants will not only allow me to free up funds for other research materials and to send people to more conferences, but they also benefit your career. You will have shown that you are able to attract independent funding, you gain intellectual freedom and access to networks of peers that last a lifetime. Preparing a well-honed research proposal is part of the learning curve for every scientist, and – by being forced to write about it – has the added benefit of focusing your research.
Collaboration and Competition
Generally projects in our group are lead by one graduate student or postdoc and there will always be clear communication about contribution and authorship. I expect everybody to contribute to an honest, open and trusting work environment.
No scientific question or problem space is ever so small and defined that there is only room for one project. There are always different angles and approaches to consider, which can create good-natured competition, but naturally lend themselves to collaborations, which I highly encourage. Working collaboratively is an important skill to develop: It can lessen the workload through synergies so you get more things done faster. It can also be a way to get everybody on more papers. Most importantly however, you get early feedback, your assumptions are challenged, and you learn from your collaborators perspectives.
Conduct yourself professionally, that means no abusive language, disrespectful behavior, or untempered anger. Learn to get your point across in more diplomatic fashion. It can happen that when we are frustrated and angry, our emotions get the better of us. If you say something stupid and hurtful, apologize. If problems persist and you are are unsure how to deal with another person in the lab, please ask me.
Take the time to get to know each other; we all come from different backgrounds and have different world views. Use this diversity to expand your own view of the world.
Things like vacation time etc. are not strictly enforced in my lab, and I do not necessarily expect you to work during the weekend and holidays. I do however, expect you to work hard and to be self-motivated to achieve great things. Scientist that truly enjoy their work tend to work long hours naturally and are keenly aware about the pace they are moving forward. With time you will know how to balance effort and productivity in a way that works best for you. Do send me advance notice when you are of town so I can plan meetings and other lab events accordingly.
What’s more, we work better as a team; to have productive interactions with your co-workers and me, I expect all members of my group to be in lab during core work hours (i.e. daytime). For some this can be difficult, especially during the school term, and there are people, who are productive at night. But realize that the times of lone researchers in their study are over; a big part of being a scientist is about communicating your research (to me, to your fellow lab members, to the world) and to have your ideas challenged on a regular basis. How many scenarios can you think of in which you are a successful researcher, executive, or teacher that only works at night and never talks to anyone?
Finally, working long hours doesn’t equate with progress. There is a difference between productive work that moves your career forward and just plodding along. The former is fulfilling and is what keeps you going in the long term, the latter is soul crushing. The worst thing you can happen is that you are coming to lab, fully expecting that your experiments that day are not going to produce anything useful. It is my job to not to let this happen by working with you to design an well design research plan. I need you to be dedicated to executing it. Talk to me and people in the lab when things don’t work. Always look for ways to improve and simplify experiments. Don’t bury yourself in busy work; take time to ponder your next move.
I trust that you know your own limits and realize when it is time to take a break and recharge. This includes eating well and making time for physical exercise, family, hobbies, and also sleep.