The mission of this lab is to apply rigorous scientific approaches to better understand how inflammatory cells and peripheral sensory and autonomic nerves influence each other under physiological conditions, and how alterations in their interactions leads to disease, with the ultimate goal to make a lasting impact on neurobiology and chronic inflammatory disease, especially asthma. To achieve this, we design, conduct and analyze experiments to make novel discoveries, and communicate these publicly. We are also mentoring trainees to become some of the best scientists and communicators of their generation.
Expectations of all Lab Members
We expect scientific integrity and rigor, passionate interest, hard work, smart work, common sense, careful execution, maximum efficiency, steady motivation, good scholarship, great vision, open and honest communication, and most importantly, a positive mental attitude. All lab members are expected to stick to protocols, follow lab safety regulations and maintain the highest ethical standards.
We anticipate there will be failures, technical problems and mistakes, but we do not expect these to upset progress or harm the morale or reputation of the lab. At all times, we expect lab members to support and encourage each other. All of us are expected to work both individually and as part of a team. As a group, we collaborate and freely share knowledge, data, reagents and experience. We do not expect lab members to compete with each other.
Open communication is expected from all members. If there are breakdowns in communication, please speak with any of the lab leadership team. With over 30 years committed to this lab, we care deeply about its members and will do everything possible to help. But we are not good at reading minds and cannot fix what we don’t know about. We are not perfect, but we each need to do our best to take care of each other.
We meet as a group each Tuesday from 9:15-10:30am. Assume we have a lab meeting every week unless it is announced otherwise. Come to lab meetings with an open mind ready to engage in discussions on data, ideas and exciting papers. Lab meetings are a safe place to puzzle over data, critique each other, compliment each other and give voice to wild ideas.
Our team members’ productivity and happiness at work are a top priority. These goals require a balanced personal life outside of the lab. We expect you to recognize what you need to maintain personal wellness and balance and take care of yourself. Let us know how we can help.
We do not keep track of hours spent in the lab. However, productivity requires not only thoughtful planning and design but hours of time to conduct, analyze, and communicate data. The work of science ebbs and flows so there will be longer days and shorter days, plus occasional evenings and weekends. We trust you to use good judgement in scheduling your time and your time off. We won’t tell you how much vacation to take, but we do expect you to notify us of vacations well ahead of time to ensure that experiments are not interrupted.
Data Ownership and Authorship Credit
All data ultimately belong to the lab. Scientific contributions to a project will be recognized by authorship on papers that include your work. Examples of significant contributions include generating figures, analyzing data and writing the paper. Scientific contributions to a paper that are not sufficient for authorship will be recognized by an acknowledgement.
The first author will be the person judged to have done the majority of the work plus write the paper.
The senior author will usually be a faculty leader in the lab since we are responsible for all science developed here. In return for senior authorship, we will discuss the data as it is generated, read every line that is written, help edit the figures and text, help write cover letters, provide funding and advice and scientific oversight of the whole project.
Middle authors are generally listed in the order of contributions to the paper. The senior author will make that decision after consultation with all authors.
It is important to attend scientific conferences to share your data, make scientific contacts and learn new ideas. Therefore, we will make every effort to bring as many lab members to conferences as possible. All lab members are encouraged to find independent funding to offset costs of attendance. Without external funding, conference attendance is not guaranteed, therefore we expect trainees and staff to have approval from lab faculty leaders before submitting an abstract or registering for a conference.
To be invited to attend a conference we expect that:
- The lab member must be first or senior author of an abstract (see data ownership and authorship credit above) and be invited to present a poster or give a talk.
- The conference should be important to intellectual, scientific and or career progress (for example to build or maintain scientific relationships and lab reputation, establish scientific expertise, share extraordinary data, learn a new area, find a postdoc).
Expectations of Graduate Students
Excellence and mastery do not come without dedication. We expect you to bring your enthusiasm and curiosity to the lab. We expect you to read the literature widely. When planning an experiment, we expect you to consider multiple strategies and choose one. If you design experiments well, there is something to learn regardless of outcome. We expect you to persist despite frustration and failure, but we also expect you to know we will catch you when you run out of ideas. We expect you to share your successes and to speak up about your problems, insecurities and frustrations so we can help you enjoy all phases of your graduate training. Ask your mentors for advice. Listen to advice. Discuss with the lab. Analyze and graph your data then re-analyze and re-graph it until you find a story to tell. Practice your talks in front of an audience. Think out loud. Use your colleagues and mentors as resources. Write a lot.
Expectations of Post-Docs/Fellows
We expect you to bring new knowledge and skills to our lab and share these freely. We expect you to further develop skills that will help your career goals, including mentoring, writing grants, giving talks, publishing papers and leading projects to fruition. We expect you to learn new skills, set up new methods, work smart on safe projects while also attempting others that are more risky. We are colleagues and we expect you to become a leader in the lab. However, we still expect you to ask for advice. Share your vision of your future so we can help you achieve it. Discuss with the lab. Think out loud. Use your colleagues and mentors as resources. Write a lot.
Expectations of Staff
You are the real heroes of the lab. We rely on you to keep us on schedule, on budget and in compliance (with IACUC, integrity, IRB, vaccinations and equipment checks!). We appreciate that you are there for all of us, especially for new students learning their way around the lab and undertaking new techniques. We expect that you will not only manage equipment, order supplies and keep track of animals, but that you also conduct experiments, learn new methods and, if you have the desire and ability to do so, lead projects and write papers. We appreciate your intellect and time, skills, preferences and talents. We expect you to communicate with us about your career aspirations so we can help you achieve them.
Expectations of David, Allison, Jane and Matt
Mentorship is a top priority for our team. Teaching and good mentorship are the lifeblood of science and we recognize that it is a great privilege and a great responsibility. Our contributions to science include not only delivering new knowledge into the world, but also supporting pathways for new scientists. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.
We hope you view each of us as a unique individual with different expertise that you use to contribute to your scientific development. An advantage of having 4 faculty leaders is that one of us is almost always available for impromptu meetings. We each maintain an open door policy – feel free to walk in. For urgent feedback, text us at any time. For formal meetings, feel free to schedule a time with us using Outlook. We all care deeply about you and are united in our support of you.
You can expect us to help you envision, implement and communicate your stories. Since our lab leadership works as a team, in general, if you meet with one of us, decisions and outcomes from that meeting will be communicated amongst the rest of the leadership group. We will also cultivate your career development, whatever your goals may be. There are no right and wrong pathways in science and as the track record of our former mentees shows, we support all potential future career paths. We will ensure the lab has funding and that you get the resources you need to test your hypothesis. We will teach you how to write, think, analyze and present data like a scientist. We will help prepare you for your personal milestones, including interviews, grant submissions, contracts, qualifying exams and promotions. We will nominate you for awards and write letters of support. You can expect us to celebrate your success, listen to your frustrations, help you problem solve when you need it. You can count on us to care about your happiness, your science and your future.
Allison D Fryer, PhD
David B Jacoby, MD
Zhenying (Jane) Nie, MD, PhD
Matt G Drake, MD
With thanks to Kay Tye at MIT, as we used her lab philosophy, and some of her prose, as a template.