Dear “Laboratory Personnel Everywhere,”
Help! I am trying to find the perfect laboratory to join for my doctoral training. Every person in every laboratory I have worked in has offered me advice to help me decide on what laboratory to join, but it’s been information overload. Do you have a top 5 list of things to look for in the perfect laboratory?
“Looking for a Lab”
Dear “Looking for a Lab,”
This is definitely a tough one. First, it is important to remember that “one lab does not fit all.” I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules but these our top 5 tips to consider when picking your perfect laboratory family.
- Mentor style and availability: Is the mentor always in the lab or do you need to set up a meeting to meet them? Does the mentor check in weekly, daily, or monthly? Are they an MD or a PhD?
- Type of research: What kind of research interests you? Animal? Cell based? Human studies?
- Support of Trainee Goals: This is especially important in the current climate; will your mentor allow you explore alternative career options? Will they be supportive of these career choices?
- Size of the lab: How big is the lab? What is the ratio of trainees to permanent employees? Are the permanent employees people you would enjoy spending time with? What is the average turnover time/rate for people in the lab?
- Funding for research, salary, and travel? Is it essential you obtain your own funding to stay? What is the lab’s track record for obtaining funding, and what are the primary funding mechanisms?
Good luck on your search,