Advice for Scientists Starting a Lab

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 29, 2014 9:43:00 AM

In the blink of an eye, the long days in the lab as a graduate student and postdoc come to an end and your next professional adventure begins. While many career pathways exist for scientists and engineers, a few brave scientists will choose to start their own academic research laboratory.

How does one even go about starting a lab? Obviously, funding and support are crucial parameters, and familiarity with equipment always helps. But how does one build a strong collaborative research team motivated by similar visions and goals? We continue our conversation with three PIs who have successfully built their own labs.

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature, Career Readiness

Advice for Choosing a Research Project

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 17, 2014 10:45:00 AM

After joining a lab, the focus shifts to choosing an unexplored and impactful research topic that aligns with your interests. We've outlined some important factors to consider and summarize helpful advice from the successful PIs who were previously featured in "9 Tips to Achieve Success in Academia".

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature

Finding and Joining Your Dream Lab

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 8, 2014 10:50:00 AM

Choosing a lab can be a major decision. A science trainee will spend 4-7 years working for one person and with a group who all strive for a common big-picture goal. It is worth doing some some serious pre-work to find a lab that will be a good fit for you and your career ambitions. First, how does one stand out amongst a pool of successful applicants and get chosen to work in his or her lab of choice? Is the group micromanaged or does it thrive in an off hands environment? Does the group expect each other to be physically present at certain times during the day?

We asked three lab heads how they go about selecting new hires. This is followed by some perhaps surprising, yet important, factors to consider when seeking your dream lab.

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature, Career Readiness

9 Tips to Achieve Success in Academia

Posted by Margo R. Monroe on Apr 1, 2014 1:33:00 PM

This blog post is the first in a series that will feature advice for students, postdocs, and young Principal Investigators (PIs). We've interviewed Addgene depositors who are at various stages in their careers to get advice on choosing a lab, picking your research topic, starting a lab, and more. Before we start, we'd like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Tom Ellis (Imperial College London), Dr. Connie Cepko (Harvard Medical School), and Dr. George Church (Harvard Medical School) who took the time to answer our questions.

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Topics: Career, Interview, Investigator Feature, Career Readiness

Interview: Ed Boyden on Optogenetics, Neuroscience, and the Future of Neuroengineering

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Mar 4, 2014 11:49:07 AM

As MIT's Ed Boyden explains it, his goal is "to understand the brain at a level of abstraction that enables the engineering of its function." Once scientists can do that, they will not only understand how the brain works, but also how to fix it when things go awry. To reach that goal, his group develops tools to tinker with brain circuits using the power of light.

In a recent article published in Nature Methods, Boyden and his team describe the discovery of a light-sensitive opsin from algae that is sensitive to red light instead of blue, which will allow researchers to independently control the activity of two populations of neurons at once.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Interview, Investigator Feature, Optogenetics

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