The MIRA Lab aims to ask clear questions, perform well designed experiments and contribute to scholarship within the scientific community in whatever way possible.
We welcome interested and enthusiastic candidates at all levels of the research tree, and pledge to support a diverse and supportive environment. Please read on to understand some guidelines for work, and for all lab members.
Positive attitude: Experiments fail more often than they work. A negative result is nothing to feel bad about, a negative attitude is. In a small lab, everyone’s attitude matters, and each of us feeds off the others emotionally. Spend some time and understand the lab and university atmosphere as well as expectations before you join, and only join if you feel that this is a good fit.
Academic integrity: Misrepresentation of experiments and plagiarism is not alright under any circumstances. If in doubt about whether a given instance falls in one of these categories, ask me.
Keep records: It is expected that you will keep regular and detailed records of work. If you keep clear records, we may discover something interesting even with mundane data. On the other hand, irregular or poor records can hide a really cool finding. We cannot build any story with poor data. It will only lead to a loss of time and frustration on both sides (you and me), if months of work are lost because of this.
Clean work bench habits: Most of what we do will involve getting your hands dirty in the lab. Anyone working independently is expected to do so without constant supervision. Science operates on trust, and I want to give it to every lab member. I expect that you will earn this trust. A sloppy work bench does not inspire confidence about any data you generate. Keep your workbench and stocks organised and tidy.
Work/life balance: I expect every member to work hard and will push them to achieve the best that they can both intellectually and in terms of other skills such as communication, mentoring and outreach. All lab members are expected to attend lab meetings and meet with me one-on-one on a regular basis. However, this does not mean that you work to the exclusion of everything else- I encourage lab members to cultivate people and activities outside the lab, and spend time in person or virtually outside the lab and university. Do not come in on Sundays unless the experiment demands it, but come in on Monday rejuvenated. Plan your work and finish within reasonable times. Making time for yourself and for other activities will keep you refreshed and happy. This needs some thought and planning on your part. For example, if you take multiple and extended coffee breaks, it’s a good bet that you will have to work till late every day. The same applies to poorly thought-out experiments which may need to be repeated unnecessarily, wasting time and reagents. Instead, plan your week. Take planned breaks in the year, bring back interesting stories and fresh ideas to the lab!
Mental health: Graduate (PhD) students in particular will spend a good part of their 20’s working in the lab, in my mind this makes it a second family. Once you are part of the lab in whatever capacity, I will be there for you in any way that I can. Talk to people, engage in non-lab related activities and keep rejuvenating your mental health.
Picture credits: Sashank Rao