Welcome to the Avasthi Lab! We’re thrilled to have you! Please read through all of the below to get up to speed.
We strive to make sure you are aware of as many opportunities as possible to help you develop into a stronger and more well connected scientist. These opportunities include writing grants, writing review articles, speaking at conferences, participating in training courses, going to career development seminars, mentoring less experienced trainees etc. Please take advantage of these opportunities to give yourself the very best chance to achieve your scientific goals.
Important: Never manipulate or selectively exclude/expand data to achieve an expected or desired result. This is falsification and ignorance is not an excuse. Never use text or content from elsewhere in your writing without citing it appropriately (even if it’s something you previously wrote, which is called self-plagiarism).
Lab Notebook and Data Backup
Your lab notebook belongs to the university and everything should be stored online in Evernote. If you also have additional scratch notes, please take a picture and/or upload critical calulations to your online notebook. Please make sure your Evernote notebook is up to date by the end of every week if not sooner. Please transfer all your raw data/images to the university server at the end of every week as well so it can be backed up.
UPDATE: All meetings are virtual until further notice due to COVID
We have several types of lab meetings and the frequency and scheduling of these are based on the current needs of the lab. We don’t do all of these in any given semester. These meetings are mandatory unless we’ve discussed in advance otherwise.
- Lab Meeting: One person presents a detailed update on their work including background, data, interpretations, and future directions. These might happen for each person approximately every 3-4 months.
- Journal Club: One person presents a paper of their choice or one of outstanding interest to the entire lab. More time should be spent on critical analysis of than on simple review of the paper. Here’s a format we have used in the past.
Sometimes we don’t have a running journal club and instead do a weekly chat in the #365_papers channel on our lab Slack. Each person posts a list of major points of critique for one paper they read during the week in this channel.
- Individual Meetings: This is your protected time with Prachee to discuss data and anything else of concern. Meetings are ~30 minutes long and the frequency depends on your needs. Please check out this post to be prepared for your meeting.
- Data Meeting: These are meetings with the entire lab in which everyone brings their raw data for the group to view and analyze. Bring your laptop with raw data and all your analysis to this meeting.
- Non-regular meetings: Send a Slack message, or set up a virtual meeting at any time if you need to talk for any reason.
- Departmental Seminars: These are on Tuesday afternoons at 4pm during the fall, winter, and spring. Please make every attempt to attend them all & plan experiments around them. They are *highly* recommended for all lab members (not just students), particularly if the speaker is invited by Prachee.
Please be considerate of your fellow lab mates. Some ways to do this are:
- Keep your own stash of media, cells and supplies on your bench and don’t take media, pipettes, tips, etc from someone else without their permission.
- Keep your mess to your bench rather than leaving spare items or garbage around the lab.
- Make sure you sign up for the microscopes you’re using so that you and others can plan for their own experiments accordingly.
- Be respectful of everyone in the lab regardless of their stage of training. We all rely on each other to make the lab a success and everyone plays an important role in this process.
Everyone contributes to making the lab run and has dedicated tasks they’ve agreed to be responsible for. If you have agreed to do a lab job, please take this seriously and take care of your duties on a regular basis. It’s likely the entire lab is counting on you/waiting on you. We typically re-assign these tasks as the lab grows and shrinks.
We’re definitely in this together, but everyone is responsible for their own learning and development as well. Your first line of defense when stuck on an experiment should always be Google and the literature. Don’t ask someone else by default if you can figure it out yourself in a few extra minutes. This is a waste of others’ time and robs you of the opportunity to learn something more deeply. Also, someone else’s information may be out of date. Your peers, more experienced lab mates, and Prachee are also always available to you and happy to help if needed. If you’re stumped, tell someone. Good ideas often come from open discussion.
Please utilize your peers and even the most junior members of the lab when writing a grant/paper/abstract/presentation. If you can’t make a junior lab member understand your writing/talk, it’s probably not clear enough for a broad audience. Aim to finish all writen projects several weeks in advance of the deadline to allow enough time for feedback and revision.
Everyone has different levels of efficiency and experience. Also, each individual person goes through phases of more and less intense work based on deadlines and committments. Don’t worry about your labmates’ schedules. Productivity is much more important than hours. That said, please be around at least during core work hours (roughly 9am-5pm or shifted slightly depending on your preferences) so you can learn from each other and be present for meetings and joint discussions. Let Prachee know if you will be out of the lab for a full day or more. Lastly, hard work is required to be competitive for whatever you choose for your future career, but learn to keep a consistent balance for your health and sanity. It’s a long road.
Our general workflow for papers is to first post them as a preprint on BioRxiv when ready and allow some time for feedback from the broader community. After revisions based on helpful suggestions from our collegues, we’ll submit to a journal. If you have any concerns about this, please discuss with Prachee.
We post preprints for several reasons:
- It expands the audience that will see our papers since Biorxiv is free for everyone (including the taxpayers that paid for the research) to access.
- It allows us to get feedback from a much wider audience than the 2-3 reviewers that will review our paper at a journal.
- It establishes priority. A Biorxiv submission is given a digital object identifier that is searchable and citable so this significantly reduces the chance that you will get “scooped” during the long process that the paper is under review at the journal.
- It demonstrates productivity. Submitting a finished manuscript to Biorxiv is infinitely more meaningful (because it can be read and evaluated) than work you list as “in preparation” or “submitted” on your CV.
The Avasthi Lab members have a wide range of expertise and experience. We hope to foster an environment in which everyone can freely discuss and learn from each other. While we encourage everyone to participate in free intellectual exchange, everyone has their own individual project and own individual goals. Please do not ask others in the lab to perform tasks or any experiments on your project (nor should you agree to requests to do so) unless we have explicitly discussed a collaboration between you.
We also strongly discourage hierarchical thinking. Every person in the lab is working for themselves and their own scientific/professional goals. We have made a conscious effort to give all lab members, regardless of their experience and title, ownership of their own work. Regardless of their level of education or experience, junior members of the lab are not the employees of any other lab member and should not be asked to perform experiments on anyone else’s project.
If you have identified a potential external collaboration, fantastic! Please just discuss with Prachee first before proceeding.