Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
coffeecake

On entering a lab

Recommended Posts

How can I improve my chances of doing more than grunt work & hopefully ending up with a publication? (I'm a first year so I wouldn't be getting my own project—I would be working with someone else). Doesn't seem to be too common at my university & any advice would be much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some labs where PI will place new grad students on a project that guarantees a quick publication (something that has already been partially-developed by a previous student, etc). Other times you'll work with a senior student in the beginning. This is something to clarify before you join the lab. You'll also need to see what is typical in your new lab - do most people get a publication before the end of their 2nd year, or do most people graduate before they can publish anything? You might have to tone down your goals (or find a new program) if your expectations don't match up to what ~80% current of grads in your program/lab actually achieve. 

The most obvious suggestion if you're stuck with a senior student...work hard and don't complain. Show you can do what is asked of you in a polite, timely manner. Make an effort to deploy your best experimental technique and show that you can work up to "publication standard" (in synthetic chemistry this would mean being able to isolate good yields of clean products and getting pretty NMRs for the paper's SI). Be engaged, mature and show you can handle responsibility. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/1/2017 at 11:05 PM, matsguy said:

What type of university? R1 or PUI?

Large public university, not Ivy League but fairly research-intensive!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/2/2017 at 1:41 PM, St Andrews Lynx said:

There are some labs where PI will place new grad students on a project that guarantees a quick publication (something that has already been partially-developed by a previous student, etc). Other times you'll work with a senior student in the beginning. This is something to clarify before you join the lab. You'll also need to see what is typical in your new lab - do most people get a publication before the end of their 2nd year, or do most people graduate before they can publish anything? You might have to tone down your goals (or find a new program) if your expectations don't match up to what ~80% current of grads in your program/lab actually achieve. 

The most obvious suggestion if you're stuck with a senior student...work hard and don't complain. Show you can do what is asked of you in a polite, timely manner. Make an effort to deploy your best experimental technique and show that you can work up to "publication standard" (in synthetic chemistry this would mean being able to isolate good yields of clean products and getting pretty NMRs for the paper's SI). Be engaged, mature and show you can handle responsibility. 

Thanks so much, this was extremely helpful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.