Generally my philosophy is that happy lab members will do good work, and anyone in my lab who has been motivated and taken their project into their own hands has done very well. Here are some expectations for both, my role as PI and the role of students in the lab.
My role as PI is to create an environment that is conducive to learning and to conducting first-class science. I provide a general research direction and resources that create opportunities for professional growth, and actively promote my mentees in the wider scientific community. I also provide guidance on how best to move each project forward, inform my students about conference and funding opportunities, I help trouble shooting problems that come up, and I generally help out with projects wherever I am needed. I also take a very active role in guiding students through the process of getting our work published, and for most papers in my lab students are lead authors.
The role of my students is to first get acquainted with the research that is taking place in my laboratory and the related research field. For the first few weeks I encourage new students to shadow and assist current students, which allows them to get introduced to the research field while learning important techniques. During that process students also get acquainted with important related open questions that need to be answered. Current projects and open question are also discussed during our weekly, snack-fueled lab meeting. Altogether, this type of exposure allows new lab members to grow interest and excitement for an aspect of research that relates to our general research direction, and is particularly interesting to them. So there is quite a bit of room for anyone to chose their own most interesting direction. Students are then expected to take ownership of their projects (under my guidance), and they become fully in charge of it. My advising style is therefore relatively hands-off and I do not micromanage time or execution of specific activities. However I do oversee projects to make sure that they are executed with appropriate scientific rigor, I try to be available and helpful when and wherever needed, and I regularly communicate with my students through lab meetings, and through a shared written online lab notebook. My philosophy here is that if student are in charge of their own work, they will be engaged, productive and satisfied with the nature of their activities.
If you are interested in the type of research that we pursue, and if you are motivated, creative and driven, and ready to take on a project into your own hands, my lab may be a good match for you! Please feel free to contact past or current lab members to find out more about how it is to work in my lab.