Aird Lab Policies

 

Expectations

Code of Conduct

The Aird lab is dedicated to providing a safe space for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, race, or religion. We will nottolerate harassment in any form. If you are being harassed or have any other concerns, please contact me immediately. 

Research Ethics

The Aird lab is dedicated to producing robust, reproducible science.  All experiments must be independently performed at least 3 times (in triplicate if possible).  You are expected to use positive and negative controls for all experiments.  Multiple cell lines must be used for key experiments. You must use at least 2 independent shRNAs or gRNAs if doing knockdown or knockout experiments, respectively. Data manipulation of any kind will not be tolerated.  If you see someone doing this, please contact me immediately.

Lab Hours

All students and postdocs are expected to take responsibility for their project and career development.  The best way to drive your project forward is work smart.  This means being efficient with your time- prioritizing your experiments and other duties.  In general, all lab members are expected to be in the lab between 9:00am and 4:00pm on weekdays.  These “core lab hours” will help facilitate interaction between lab members and between you and myself.  Additionally, to allow for better communication, no headphones are allowed in the lab during these hours.  For better or worse, academic science usually calls for more than 40-hour weeks.  Long hours, working from home, and working on the weekend are part of the life of a scientist.  While I will not clock your hours, I will notice whether you are putting in sufficient time to accomplish all your work.  Please come talk to me if you need help being more efficient or prioritizing.

While you are in the lab, I expect you to do lab work.  This means doing homework, extensively checking social media, generally distracting yourself from the lab is not good practice.  There is always something to do- perform experiments, read a paper, discuss your science with someone, learn a new technique, clean or organize the lab...  If you need more to do, please let me know. 

 Vacation Time

Graduate students, postdocs, and technicians all have different vacation policies.  Please be aware of what your policy is and generally abide by it.  Let me know at least 4 weeks in advance if you are taking a vacation of more than 2 days. For anything longer than a week off, please consult with me 3 months in advance.  This will give us enough time to plan for experiments that may need to be done in your absence. 

 Projects/Authorship

All students and postdocs are expected to drive their own projects.  Authorship will be discussed early in project development. To be the sole first author on a paper, you must be in the lab when the paper undergoes final revisions. Co-authorship requires a substantial contribution, including conception and design of experiments and analysis and interpretation of data.  Graduate students are expected to have at least one accepted first author publication before defending.  Postdocs will need to publish regularly to renew their yearly contracts.  If you need clarification on authorship issues, please come talk to me.  

 Lab Notebook

There is nothing more important than keeping an up-to-date lab notebook. All members of the Aird lab will use Evernote as an electronic lab notebook.  Your notebook needs to be detailed enough so that someone else can perform your experiments without assistance from you.  Your lab notebook should be updated daily. Please add attachments of protocols used, raw data, analyzed data, pictures, or anything else you think is pertinent.  This includes, but is not limited to: catalog numbers (with lot numbers), dilutions factors, incubation times, etc...   All raw data should be stored in the Aird Lab folder on hersheymed.net in an organized fashion.  Indicate in your lab notebook where the raw data is stored for all experiments.  

Evaluation

All lab members will be evaluated regularly every 6 months.  Everyone is expected to be an active, positive contributor to the lab, and continuation of your position depends on this.  Graduate students and postdocs will need to fill out their rubrics and bring this document with them for the evaluation.  I take these very seriously as they are a time for us both to have an honest conversation about your scientific and professional goals.  For more information about these meetings, please read:Vincent BJ,et al.Yearly planning meetings: individualized development plans aren’t just more paperwork.Mol Cell. 2015 Jun 4;58(5):718-21.     

 Deadlines

Deadlines will be set and agreed upon by both myself and you. If a deadline cannot be made, the other party will be notified as soon as possible, and a new deadline will be negotiated. 

 Standard deadlines:

-Internal abstract/poster: >1 week in advance of deadline/meeting

-External abstract/poster: >2 weeks in advance of deadline/travel

-Talk: >2 weeks in advance

-Grant documents: >4 weeks in advance

I will do everything in my power to get drafts back to you quickly. I expect the same from you.

 Communication 

General

Communication is one of the important things in the lab.  Talk to me.  Talk to other lab members and other students/postdocs/faculty members.  This is the best way to learn and grow your network. The best advice I can give you is don’t be shy!

If you need to contact me, the best thing to do is come to my office.  I leave my office door open unless I cannot talk (on the phone, etc…), so please knock with confidence and come on in!  If I am not in my office, please call, text, or email me.  I will get back to you as quickly as I can.  I expect the same from you.   

One-on-One Meetings

All lab members will have a weekly one-on-one meeting with me to troubleshoot, discuss projects, experimental design, and data analysis, and have an open discussion about any other topics that are pertinent.  Please bring all raw and analyzed data (your laptop is fine) along with an updated project word document.  This will help make sure we are both on the same page about priorities for the coming week.

While one-on-ones are an excellent and protected time for us to speak, my door is always open, and I do expect you to come to me with problems when they arise.  Please do not wait to until your one-on-one meeting time to speak with me about pressing issues.

Lab Meeting

The Aird lab will have lab meeting weekly.  It is currently on Wednesdays at 1pm (check the schedule for room numbers).  All members of the lab are expected to attend and participate.  If you feel that you do not have enough new data to present, you may present a journal article instead.  Please check with me at least a week in advance if this is the case.  If we do a journal club, all members of the lab are expected to read the paper and participate in the discussion.

Slack

 We will use a lab Slack for the following:

 ·     Monday virtual scrums

Before 10am on each Monday, post to the lab Slack (#mondayscrum):

-      Experimental goals for the week

-      Deadlines

-      Writing goals for the week

·     Figure Friday

 Before 5pm on each Friday, post to the lab Slack (#figurefriday):

At least 1 figure you have generated that week (must be in Illustrator)

 ·     Interesting papers

Before 5pm on each Friday, post to the lab Slack (#interesting_papers):

At least 1 paper you have read that week, including a brief description/summary

Career Development

It is my sincere desire for everyone in my lab to reach their career goals.  To develop as a scientist it is important to be involved in the scientific community, present your research, and learn how to write grants.  

Research Seminars

The Cellular & Molecular Physiology department has a seminar every Tuesday at noon.  You are not expected to attend every week, but I will encourage you to attend those that may be of particular interest to your project.  Students and postdocs are strongly encouraged to attend lunch with the seminar speaker directly after the talk. 

All students and postdocs are required to present yearly at the Physiology seminar series.  Don’t grimace!  Presenting your work is part of your training.  We will schedule a practice talk at least 1 week before your seminar to make sure you are confident and ready to go when the day comes.  

Other meetings you are strongly encouraged to attend include: Metabolism Interest Group Meeting (1st Tuesday of each month at 1pm), Genome Stability Group Meeting (most Tuesdays at 10am), Nucleic Acids Metabolism Meeting (3rd Thursday of each month at 11:30am).  Our lab will present regularly in these meetings, and the people who attend these meetings make a great built-in network. 

Other departments also have regular weekly seminars, and you may choose to attend any and all of these.  Remember that it is important to have both a broad and deep understanding your project.  Therefore, attending seminars is never a bad idea.  However, if you are in the middle of an experiment, that takes precedent.  I will let you know if there are upcoming seminars that I think may be of particular interest to you and your project.            

Internal and External Conferences

All lab members may attend and/or present at any relevant internal conferences either in Hershey or State College.  If you plan to submit an abstract, please let me know at least a month in advance.   

If you have sufficient data to present, students and postdocs may attend up to one national conference each year.  You must present either a poster or talk to be eligible to travel on lab funds.  I expect you to look into any and all travel awards that you may be eligible for to help pay towards your registration or travel costs.  If you are interested in a conference, please let me know at least two months before the abstract deadline.  

Grants

All students and postdocs are expected to write a grant during their tenure in the Aird lab.  I will help you through all steps during this process, but this will be your original work.  Don’t worry- your position in my lab does not require the grant to be funded!  However, I believe grantsmanship is one of the most important things to learn early on in your training. 

Manuscripts

All students and postdocs are expected to assemble rough drafts of figures and texts during manuscript preparation.  All figures will be made using PRISM and Adobe Illustrator software.  Figures must be perfect, so starting early and showing me progress is key.  We will work together to make sure your manuscripts are ready for submission. 

All students and postdocs will be expected to write a review on their project topic within the first 6 months in the lab. This is a fantastic opportunity to make sure you know the literature and to get a paper.  I will guide you through the process and help with edits, but my hope is that you take the lead.  

Infrastructure 

Calendar

We use a shared Google Calendar for all lab functions. I will enter university-wide seminars that I think might be pertinent to the lab.  This will also be where we enter days off or vacation days.

Protocols

If you develop a new protocol, please write it up as detailed as possible and put it in the Aird Lab protocols folder on hersheymed.net. Include a materials section with catalog numbers and a methods section with tips or tricks.  If you tweak an existing protocol, please save it using a new file name so that we have both the original and new versions.  This is invaluable information to all current and future members of the lab, and I thank you in advance for doing this!

Quartzy

All new reagents, chemicals, equipment, plasmids, etc… should be entered into Quartzy with as much data as possible.  This includes catalog numbers, lot number, location, and any technical information that could be helpful.  All cell line stocks in the liquid nitrogen tank need to be entered into Quartzy.  If you use an existing reagent for a new experiment, please enter those details on Quartzy as well (dilution, knockdown efficiency, etc…).

Ordering

Currently, Raquel and Erika do the majority of the ordering. Please put your orders into Quartzy. I will review orders as soon as I can to approve them.  If you notice we are running low on something, please order it.  Do not wait until it is an emergency to order something! Before ordering a new antibody or reagent for pilot experiments, please check with other labs to see if they would be willing to spare a small amount.  That being said, if someone comes to you to ask for a reagent, please be kind and share some.  

Lab Citizenship

I expect everyone to treat all lab members with respect.  This includes being nice to each other, helping each other out, cleaning up after yourself, and performing lab jobs. Here are some more specifics: 

Work space

Individual Benches/Shelves

You will be assigned a bench, desk, and room in the -80, -20, deli, and cell culture refrigerator.  As we grow, your bench may have shared equipment on it. You are responsible for any shared resources on your bench.  Otherwise, your bench is yours!  

Shared Benches/Space

Please be courteous and neat when using equipment and reagents on shared benches and in freezers and refrigerators.  Clean up after yourself and restock accordingly. If buffers are low, please let the person in charge know.

Microscope

We will use a sign-up system for the microscope. Please remember to sign up and clean up after you are finished.  Always ask your fellow lab mates if they plan to use the microscope before you turn it off. This will help to extend the life of the lamp.  An important note for the microscope: leave the lamp on for at least 1h after turning it on.

RT-PCR Machine

We will use a sign-up system for the RT-PCR machine. Please remember to sign up!

Cell Culture Room

The cell culture room is a shared space that tends to be an issue in all labs.  We will have sign-up sheets for the hoods.  I have found that this helps organize your day and helps develop time management skills.  Please do your best to stick to this.  If you finish early and someone else is signed up after you, please let them know. Conversely, if you will need a couple extra minutes, please alert the person signed up after you.  If their experiment is time-sensitive, they have precedent to use the hood even if you are not finished.  

After you are finished, always wipe down the hood and remember to restock!  We go through cell culture plastic very quickly.  If you notice we are low on something, add it to Quartzy.

My commitment to Aird lab members

My commitment to you is to make the Aird lab a great place to do research.  I will do everything I can to make sure the lab environment is conducive to do great science, including handling any issues that may arise. I will help to facilitate clear communication and happy working relationships between all members of the lab.

I commit to doing everything within my power to help each and every lab member meet their goals, both short- and long-term. I will help you become a better scientist, reach your career goals, and move on to bigger and better things.  

Always remember that the success of the lab as a whole is in part due to your success.  I promise to try and accommodate everyone’s best interest.  If you have any questions or concerns, I am available to talk.

Please note that this is an evolving document and can be changed at any time.  If you have concerns over the contents of this document, please come see me.