Welcome to the BEAT Lab at the University of California, Irvine! Finding a lab with the right environment for you as a unique individual may be even more important than the type of science that is being conducted in it. To help you decide if this is the right lab for you, this page outlines our philosophy and expectations of each other. It is a living document and will evolve to reflect our growth as a lab and as individuals. It is meant to be a guide, not a rigid set of rules, and is shaped by conversations with mentors and mentees, my own experiences, and guides from other labs.
Thank you for your interest in our lab, I hope we talk soon.
Our lab philosophy
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
The best science is being conducted by happy people. Therefore, our lab should be a space where everyone feels welcomed, safe, and supported. We work together as a team–we support each other rather than compete with one another. We are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our lab. We value and welcome all individuals regardless of where we come from, how we look, who we love, how we live. Discrimination, hate, or harassment of any form will not be tolerated. For it is not only right, but also incredibly valuable to have people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to solve the complex problems that we face every day.
My mentorship goal is to help you develop into an independent researcher. You are in charge of your own career path, and I will do my best to provide you with the skills, tools, and training needed to follow your chosen career path, whichever that may be. I also believe that no single mentorship style works for every member of the lab and the amount of mentoring you need may change over time.
I will ensure a good lab environment
My number one job is to make the lab a happy, safe, and productive place for all members. This means I am listening to (and trying to help you with) your needs and concerns. This means I am actively searching for funding to help support your research. This also means I am aiming at the very least to fulfill the promises outlined below. If there is something you think is missing from this list please let me know.
I will be a mentor and advocate
Mentorship goes further than your time in the lab; as you move on in your life and career I will always be available for advice and advocacy. My greatest hope is that soon I will be the one asking you for advice.
I will work with you to help shape your dissertation projects
This includes providing you with the expertise needed to be successful or connecting you with researchers who have that expertise. This also includes finding topics, projects, and collaborations that are exciting and relevant to your research interests and career goals.
I am here to help you
Ask me questions, I may even have an answer! We will have weekly individual meetings to discuss your questions, progress, and future directions. If you have urgent questions, feel free to come by my office unannounced if my door is open, or use Slack or e-mail; please allow me some time to respond if you send me a question after hours.
I will give feedback on your products
This includes papers, proposals, presentations, posters, code, etc. I strive to provide feedback within 1 week. Feedback is often really hard to ask for and sometimes challenging to receive. In no way shape or form is the feedback I provide you a comment on your self-worth. My goal is to help you become a better writer and presenter.
I will recognize your work
When you contribute to a project in the lab this means that you will be a co-author on the publication. Moreover, when I present work from our lab, I will highlight your role in the ongoing research. My goal is to promote you and the work you do.
I expect you to make mistakes
I will not judge you for not knowing something, making mistakes, or breaking something in the lab–just be honest about it. You are here to learn (as am I)–it is unlikely that you will make a mistake that I haven’t made myself yet.
I expect you to take of yourself
Your well-being is the single most important thing to me. If you are not feeling well, either physically or mentally, take the time off you need to seek out help and take care of yourself. No questions asked. If you are wondering “Is it okay to go see a counselor instead of setting up that experiment?” the answer is always and unequivocally “Yes. Get the help that you need.”.
I expect you to communicate
Would the Beatles still be together if they would have communicated better? I expect you to honestly communicate with me and/or the group on important matters including your well-being, positive and negative outcomes of your experiments, and any major accidents in the lab. The earlier we communicate about a problem, the easier it is to solve it. Or: the earlier you tell us about your latest achievement, the earlier we can celebrate it!
I expect you to share your work
My goal is to facilitate open science and collaboration within and outside the group. To this end, I expect you to deposit your data into data repositories, share your code on GitHub, create electronic lab notebooks (ENL), publish papers, and present your work at scientific meetings. Let me know if there is a particular conference you want to present your work at, and represent us with pride.
I expect you to be creative
The beauty of scientific research is that no one knows the answers to the questions we are asking (yet). I expect that you will try to find answers on your own at first and then ask for help when you need it. This will help you become an independent problem solver.
I expect you to take care of others
We work together as a team–we support each other rather than compete with one another. Even though I hope you will learn from me, you will likely learn as much if not more from your fellow lab members–and they from you. Do not hesitate to ask for advice, help, or resources from your teammates, and be generous with providing the same to them. Take time to get to know one another, interact, etc. We will have regular lab outings to help build our lab culture.
I expect you to be present
Be present in lab, at lab meetings, and respond to discussions in person and on Slack. It is your responsibility (and one of the biggest perks of working in academia) to manage your own time – I do not mandate core hours in the lab. That being said, I do expect you to try to be present as much as possible during normal working hours (weekdays 9-5) so that you may engage with others in the group.
I expect you to be organized
Organize and manage your research practices so that they are reproducible by those within and outside our group. Even though this may seem to all slow you down in your work, this will prevent making mistakes and save you time in the long run.
Finally, I expect you to take some time off.
I expect you to be hard-working and ambitious in your work. However, more time spent performing a task does not always equate to higher productivity. More importantly, we live in this beautiful world: take time to recharge, enjoy the great outdoors, go to visit friends and family, enjoy life. So will I.