Expectations and responsibilities

Adapted from DRG lab, Avasthi Lab, Aly Lab and McClean Lab.


Science is hard. But it's also fun. It's those aha moments -- be it finding an unexpected pattern, or observing your organism under the microscope doing amazing things -- that lured me, and hopefully you, into this place. To do good science requires a lot of qualities. Here are some of them:

On doing science

Lab rules

Lab Citizenship

Time commitment

Graduate students

I expect you to drive the project.

In the beginning I will help you to find a scientific project that suits your strength and passion, and which fits into the lab objective. I'll teach you the necessary skills, and guide you through the literature. Soon after however, I expect you to own the project and be on the driver's seat. This means you should be the one who comes to me and ask "how can I do this? / here is a paper that suggest we are wrong". If I find myself constantly asking you about your progress, we need to talk seriously.

My own experience and observation is that good science takes time: this includes time to think, to experiment and fail and to communicate (write/present). I respect everyone's different working style and schedule. But if you will stop your experiment/analysis/thinking because it's 5pm or it's Friday, it's just hard for me to see how you can make enough progress in your project. On the flip side, one of the advantages of academia is its flexibility in work time. If you don't feel well or just don't feel productive, take time off to relax, to do things that get the stress off of you. I believe that a healthy personal and social life ensures your physical and mental well-being, which come before your work.

Undergraduate researchers

Let me first say that I have been extremely lucky to have had many highly motivated undergraduate students here at U of Iowa. Many of you are bright, dedicated, and good team players. I do understand that unlike graduate students, research is just one of the items on your plate. I realize that each of you come in with different goals: some of you put research at a very high priority, while others may be seeking a research experience to enrich their undergraduate education. I'm happy to advise both types of students. It's just important that you communicate your goal with me upfront. One thing that I ask of you, regardless of your goal, is this: take your responsibility seriously. If we have discussed and agreed to do something, I expect you to finish it on time, and, importantly, be pro-active in discussing the results and plans with me. If you expect to be absent from the lab for a week or more, please let me know in advance.

Principal Investigator

Here are some of the things you can expect of me: