Griffith Lab Norms and Expectations                                     

 

FOR EVERYONE

Do good science!!

 

Lab Etiquette:

1. Be friendly, kind and courteous to your lab mates. A pleasant workplace is one of the keys to productivity, and happiness in scientific research. A good lab culture supports everyone’s success.

2. Lab resources and reagents are shared. Please be neat and considerate of the common lab spaces and equipment. Reorder reagents (or tell Martha) when they are running low, i.e. before they are completely gone.

3. All research in the lab is funded by grants. Please be open to funding opportunities for yourself, and also be willing to help in grant writing for the lab including performing experiments to obtain preliminary data.

4. Everyone has a designated lab job that is vital to keep the lab running in a productive manner. Please perform your lab job in a timely and responsible manner.

5. After returning from a vacation or scientific conference, you are strongly encouraged to provide the lab with chocolate or any other delectable food item representative of the region that you visited. Show your love!

6. And most obvious: follow all the safety regulations and maintain high ethical standards.

 

Notebooks and Data Storage:

1. Lab members must keep a thorough notebook. Please keep up-to-date and detailed notes in a bound notebook (available in the stockroom) or if you use an electronic notebook, keep it backed up or printed out regularly. You must have a record of all experiments performed (including genetic crosses, buffer making, gels run, antibody aliquoting, behavior runs, etc.) and your results and conclusions. Your notebook should be detailed enough that another lab member could perform your experiment just by reading your notebook.

2.  Notebooks should not be taken home for any reason and when you leave the lab, the notebooks must stay here. You are of course welcome to copy any protocols etc. to take with you.

3. As much of the data that you collect in the lab will be digital, it is very important that you back up your primary data (such as raw images, traces). You probably also want to back up your analyzed data to save yourself time in the event of a catastrophic computer failure. Everyone's data must be organized and their Google drive folder must have a README document explaining the organization (if it is by date or by experiment type or whatever as long as it is logical and transparent). Acceptable backup means that you have your data in two places at all times:

• EVERYONE needs to have a file on the Griffith Lab Google Drive. This will be backup location #1 for your data.

• EVERYONE's second backup location should either be a Google drive affiliated with your Brandeis account, or an external hard drive purchased by the lab. Please avoid setting up any private accounts for lab data storage purposes.

4. Reagents obtained from outside the lab (e.g. a plasmid, a fly line) must be independently validated by the person receiving the reagent. In the case of a plasmid, this usually means sequencing the entire plasmid. In the case of a fly line, this means understanding, executing, and confirming a genotyping strategy (confirm genetic markers, do PCR etc.). For an antibody, this means running the appropriate controls on a Western. Confirming that you are starting your experiment with the correct reagents will save you a lot of time in the long run. When it comes to reagents, trust no one!

5. You must keep an electronic sequence file of every plasmid you create in the lab using SnapGene https://www.snapgene.com/. The lab has several licenses.

6. Lab members are strongly encouraged to keep an End Note library of their references (End Note is freely available from LTS). An End Note library will save you an enormous amount of time as you write your proposals, papers, and thesis. And, importantly, if you are writing anything with Leslie, she will require that you use End Note.

7. Images of gels should be printed and labeled with the name of the samples and MW markers identified. Please do not show Leslie unlabeled gels at weekly meetings!!!!

8. When you publish a paper, as first author you are responsible for making an “archive” of all the primary data for that paper on the lab Google drive.

9. When you give lab meeting, a copy of your ppt should be put into the collection of lab meetings on the Google drive.

 

Fly Work:

1. Maintain a clean, safe workspace in the fly room. Do not leave food out, empty/autoclave waste, do not leave CO2 taps open, etc. If tanks are running low, tell Martha! If you use the last of the food, bring some more up!

2. You must label your lines with the exact and complete genotype. We all share lines, and giving someone a vial with an incomplete description of its genotype is not good practice. Since sometimes these are long labels, reusable tape or printed labels are handy. See Elena for advice.

3. You must keep an excel database of all your lines, with complete genotype, chromosomal location of transgenes, where you got the stock, Bloomington or VDRC reference if appropriate (see Elena’s Lab Stock list as a model). You should keep this file on the lab Google drive. Flies are a shared resource within this lab and within the scientific community at large. At any given time, any other member of the lab should be able to glance at your spreadsheet and be able to determine if they can ask you for a particular line.

4. Keep your stocks in good health. Do not let them get so old they die and attract mites. If you have so many stocks that it becomes a pain to flip them this could be a sign that you are keeping things you do not need. Culling your collection is a good thing to do, but when you decide to discard a stock check with Elena first to see if she wants it for the lab stock collection.

5. Accessing the lab stock collection requires asking Elena to retrieve flies for you- do not just take them. You should make your own copy of the stock if you plan to use it more than once.

 

Lab Meetings and Seminars:

1. All lab members will attend and participate in our regular lab meeting. If you are unable to attend, please inform Leslie and/or Martha in advance.

2. All lab members will have a biweekly meeting time on Monday with Leslie to discuss progress on their projects and to plan next steps.

3. All lab members should plan on attending Neuroscience Journal Club (for grad students, you may do MCB or Biochem J Clubs depending on your program), Biology Seminars (I recommend going regularly: the “irrelevant” ones are often the most interesting!), and Friday Pizza talks.

 

Conferences:

1. Attending scientific conferences is absolutely essential for your career development. The lab will fund your attendance at one U.S. conference per year, providing you are presenting data (e.g. a poster).

2. In addition to your professional development, part of the benefit of attending a conference is to learn about the latest research in the field and bring this information back to the lab. Therefore, upon returning from a conference, plan on giving a brief meeting summary highlighting a few talks or posters of exceptional interest at lab meeting.

 

Work Ethic:

1. One of the advantages of a career in science is a flexible schedule. However, since lab members benefit immensely by interacting with one another, people should arrange their schedule so that their workdays include (but are not limited to) times when other lab members are present.

2. The goal of the lab is to make exciting discoveries and publish good papers. Accomplishing this goal requires A LOT of time and energy on everyone’s part, both at the bench and keeping current with the scientific literature. A 40 h work week is a good metric, but it is no guarantee of success. Work as long as it takes to be productive and proud of what you are doing. Remember that the flexibility of being a scientist is a two way street: In order to succeed, you must be prepared to sometimes work hard both during the week and on weekends.

3. If anyone needs to be gone for a significant amount of time, please let Leslie and Martha know ahead of time and enter it into the lab Google Calendar.

 

Authorship:

1. Any lab member who contributes data to a figure will be an author on the manuscript.

2. Any lab member who makes an outstanding intellectual contribution to a project will be an author on the manuscript.

3. Leslie is the final arbiter of all authorship issues.

 

FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

1. Being a graduate student is not a job. You are in training. I expect you to be learning all the time: from courses, from your peers, from your lab mates, from the undergrads you will mentor.

2. As you progress, I expect you to show mastery of your topic and growing independence.

 

FOR POSTDOCS

1. This is a time when you should be emerging as an independent scientist. I expect you to contribute majorly to the design and writing up of your work.

2. I expect you to become a mentor of graduate and undergraduate students.

3. I expect you to think seriously about what you want to do next (academia, industry, teaching or other) so that we can makes sure you have the opportunities to do the things you need to realize your goal.

 

FOR STAFF

1. You are the bedrock on which the lab is built. It does not happen without you!

2. The needs of your job and the balance of mundane/exciting will always be changing and you have to roll with the punches.

 

FOR LESLIE

1. My goal is that we do excellent science and we enjoy it. A major part of my job is to make sure we have the money and resources we need. Let me know what you need to meet this goal and I will do my best to get it.

2. Communication is absolutely critical. I don’t always know everything that is happening in the lab. If you are having a problem with an experiment, a colleague, a deadline, a program requirement, tell me! I will do my best to help you resolve the issue.

3. Mentoring styles vary. What works for one person may not work for another. If you feel that you would benefit from more/less direction, more/less structure, you have to tell me. I will do my best to build a mentoring relationship that works well for you.

4. I will support your career aspirations and try to help you make the connections you need to advance to where you want to be.