JustHopefulMe Posted December 1, 2016 Share Posted December 1, 2016 Hi everyone! So I was in this general biomedical sciences program last fall. I did a few lab rotations but then took medical leave for some health issues. Now I want to return to the program and am looking for labs again. The only lab I could say I kind of liked has a few issues. The research topic was interesting, although not my top interest. However, I am willing to accept that due to lack of labs that are a better fit. The real problem though, is that the lab is horribly disorganized. The PI is around 9-5, and she MUST leave at 5 pm to pick up her small kids from school. She sometimes brings them back to with her to the lab if she really has something important to come back for. She takes a very long time to reply to emails, and keeps telling us to remind her of the things that need to be done. If we don't, she does tend to forget (twice she even forgot to show up to classes she was supposed to teach). The lab is very heavily dependent on the one and only postdoc who works there (he actually works in two labs simultaneously). He does a lot of the bookkeeping, a lot of the planning, a lot of the reminding, and a lot of reproofing other lab members (basically a soon-to-graduate MS student and 2 rotating PhD students) because he thinks we are all not professional enough. And he has a point, because so much money and time gets wasted in the lab because of the carelessness of lab members. There was a post-bac trainee who just left one day and never showed up again. There were two other PhD students who also left "unexpectedly" (according to the PI) and due to mental health issues (according to the MS student). The PI is actually aware of these shortcomings. She explicitly told me that her lab is going through a hard time due to lack of members, and that it is not usually that way. She said that if I am interested, I could rotate again in the lab when things have been sorted out. Almost a year after, according to the MS student, things have not been sorted out. I must say that when she is around, she is a very good mentor and trainer too. She seems to be very passionate about her job and very dedicated. She spent about 2-3 hours with me and the other rotating student on our first day to explain her topic and research methods and techniques. She also spent a good amount of time showing us how to perform some of the experiments herself. She has the reputation of being a very tough committee member and that she grills the students about every last detail. I had to leave the program myself for my own issues, but still kept this lab in mind as an option. One professor from a different department but a related field told me to stay away from that lab because he knows how dysfunctional it is and about its failure in retaining students. I described the situation to a postdoc I know from a different field, and he also advised me to stay away. The director of the biomedical sciences program, however, told me that only I can decide. If I see that the lab is a good fit for me, then I should go for it. He said he has nothing against the PI as a researcher or mentor. He also told me that when he was looking for a lab, he ended up in a place everyone advised him against, but now thinks that he couldn't have made a better decision. Sorry guys for the long post, but I am really lost and need some advice. If I don't join this lab, I am thinking of moving to other universities where perhaps I can find a lab that better matches my research interests and doesn't have so many issues. But what if I fall into the same problem again? What if the labs I'm interested in turn out to be not so great IRL? Or what if I don't get along with the PI for whatever reason? I would be grateful for any input Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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