In addition to original scientific production, running a successful lab for me means creating a culture in which members can realize their maximum potential as scientists and as human beings while enjoying the ride. Here are a few things that I value very highly: creativity, hard work, a good sense of humor, kindness, perseverance, curiosity, generosity and having passion.
Every student is different in their strengths, needs and goals. My role is to tailor and implement a mentorship that will help individual students to realize their maximum potential and help steer each one toward greater fulfillment, confidence, and independence.
I expect the graduate students in my lab to eventually work on a project that aligns with their talent, passion, and scientific objectives of the lab. And while it is tempting to go for the “low-hanging fruit”, my mentoring philosophy is to have the big picture perspective and pick an important question accordingly.
As for the postdocs in the lab, my role is to help them gain the appropriate experience in order to advance their scientific abilities and to pursue a satisfying professional career. I encourage postdocs to explore new ideas and to propose future directions. In this regard my role is to help with rigorous experimental design, careful analysis and critical interpretation of the data. Moreover, I will help my postdocs toward an understanding of the political, ethical, economic, and social dynamics within the academic community.
Expectations of all the lab members:
Our lab should be an intellectually open and rankless place, where ideas and ability, not hierarchy, are first and foremost. Communication is a key! I ask everyone to openly communicate their needs to be happy and fulfilled. I expect everyone to respect the work of others. Be open to criticism and when you must be critical, aim at the problem, not the person. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We are not infallible and making mistakes is part of doing science. So when we make a mistake, we own it, we do our best to make things right, and we learn from the experience.
Finally, I expect everyone to participate in the scientific and non-scientific lab events and meetings and contribute to the lab dynamics.
- Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. -Rilke
- And always there are traces, and always somebody else was there, and always somebody climbed even higher than you ever could, much higher. That must not discourage you. Climb, ascend, ascend. But there is no peak. And there is no virgin snow. - Kurt Tucholsky
- Being a scientist requires having faith in uncertainty, finding pleasure in mystery, and learning to cultivate doubt. There is no surer way to screw up an experiment than to be certain of its outcome. –Stuart Firestein
- Skate to where the puck is going to be not where it's been! -Wayne Gretzky
- Our job is not to discover the 'secret' of the red rose,
Our job is, perhaps,
To float in the enchantment of the rose. - Sohrab Sepehri