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URMC / Labs / Lawrence Lab / Expectations



What you should expect from the Principal Investigator

  • To be treated with respect.
  • A professional work environment that is inclusive, supportive, safe, and free of harassment.
  • A commitment to your education, training, and career development through one-on-one meetings, weekly lab meetings, and being available to you on an as-needed basis.
  • Questions from me about the project you are working on, and about broader scientific topics. You can also expect me to ask for your feedback on the lab environment, your academic/research experiences, data interpretation, your career goals and interests, and on my mentorship. 
  • To have your concerns be listened to, and for me to do my best to work with you to resolve issues.
  • Honest, candid, and constructive feedback about research progress, and that I will share concerns if and when they arise. You can also expect me to give feedback on communications, such as talks, posters and manuscripts.
  • Appropriate scholarly credit for your contributions.
  • Support for your career decisions, and willingness to work with you as you take steps towards your future goals.
  • Support to attend and present research at conferences. The decision to present at a national or international meeting will be mutual. I do reserve the right to make the final decision as to whether there are sufficient funds, and whether the timing is appropriate to share new or incomplete research findings.
  • Support that does not end when you leave the lab. I will always be available to you for letters of recommendation, questions about career planning/career decision making, technical advice, or just a chat.

Expectations of Lab Members

  • Be Safe: Stay up to date on all required safety trainings, adhere to all safety guidelines, rules, and regulations, and be familiar with the Lawrence Lab Safety Manual and Basic Rules and Guidelines for working in the lab. If you have any questions or concerns regarding laboratory safety, please ask. This expectation extends beyond lab procedural safety; ask for help and support when you feel worried, confused, lonely, uncertain, upset, etc.
  • Be a life-long learner. Dive in and engage in research as a full-time commitment. Commit to learning and being straightforward about what you do and do not know. Strive to think and work independently, with recognition of knowledge gaps. Ask lots of questions and take responsibility for keeping track of answers (e.g., take notes). When learning a new method, procedure, or piece of equipment, ask someone to show you how to do it/use it. Follow lab protocols, and help the lab update protocols when the way we do things changes. Read the scientific literature that relates to your research project, and integrate this as you evolve the project and interpret results.
  • Be professional and act with integrity: Follow through the commitments that you make. Be an active lab contributor, which includes participating in lab meetings, collaborating with lab mates, helping lab mates with their experiments, completing assigned lab chores in a timely manner, giving constructive feedback to others, and being respectful of others person, personal beliefs, time, and resources. Be on time and communicate in advance. Carry out experiments and data analysis with honesty. Contribute to a lab environment that is inclusive, supportive, safe, and free of harassment. Give scholarly credit where it is due, and recognize the contributions of your colleagues.
  • Be accountable. Mistakes are an unavoidable part of learning. You are expected to be honest and promptly share that you made a mistake, learn from your mistake, and take steps to avoid making the same mistake repeatedly. This is an achievable goal, particularly if we are comfortable asking questions. There are no stupid questions. If you feel that someone is reluctant to answer questions, or is dismissive of your concerns, please let Paige know so we can resolve the situation as quickly as possible. If you feel that I am dismissive, then please know that I want you to give me honest feedback. If you are uncomfortable speaking with about me about this, or any other matters, then there are many others here with whom you can discuss concerns and seek advice:
  • Be intentional about career development: Seek out mentors that have a variety of different experiences and perspectives. Take initiative in setting up meetings with your mentor(s) and come to those meetings prepared. Make thoughtful decisions about how you invest your time to develop your career based on your interests, goals, and priorities. In addition to being scientifically productive, take advantage of career resources here at the University and Medical Center, as well as professional and career development opportunities through scientific societies.  Consider joining at least one professional society (costs of membership are born by you, not by the lab. This is also the case for the PI).
  • Be an active participant. You are expected to know and follow the requirements and deadlines for your educational program and/or of UR human resources, and to submit documents in a timely manner. You are expected to submit abstracts and present research findings at local, regional, national, and if opportunity arises, international conferences and meetings. You are expected to apply for fellowships, travel awards, and other funding opportunities that arise and are appropriate to your position, and assist in the preparation of extramural grants and progress reports, as requested.
  • Be a writer. Writing is essential for almost all career paths in science. You are expected to dedicate time and effort to writing, share drafts in a timely manner, and revise based on feedback. With regard to authorship on publications, you can expect that if you have had significant involvement in a research project (e.g., collecting data, analyzing data, and/or writing a portion of the manuscript) to be included as an author. Usually, the first author has played the lead role in project execution, takes the lead in writing the manuscript, and continues these responsibilities during revision process. I expect all authors to read and provide comments. It is expected that the first author will continue to take primary responsibility even after they have left the lab. If this responsibility shifts to a co-author, then the order of authorship may change as the paper undergoes revision.
  • Be a mentor and teacher for others: Part of being a scientist is sharing knowledge with others. All laboratory personnel mentor and teach others. This is a great opportunity to gain skills that will be useful in almost any career path you choose. Sometimes this is informal, yet sometimes it is a formal arrangement, such as serving as a bench mentor. It is also expected that mentoring and teaching in our lab is non-hierarchical. That is, as your knowledge grows, you will likely help others, regardless of their prior experience.

Expectations related to conflict management

  • Disagreements, misunderstandings, and conflicts within a group sometimes happen. Early and authentic communication are key to resolving issues and minimizing conflicts. If you have concerns about your interaction with me or with anyone else, please don’t hesitate to come talk with me.
  • If you wish a conversation to remain confidential, please be sure to indicate that at the start of the conversation. I will endeavor to respect this request, and if I am unable to do so I will let you know.
  • If you are uncomfortable speaking to me, there are many others with whom you can discuss issues, seek advice and guidance, including: