My lab has three guiding principles:
Making Discoveries and Enjoying the Process
Understanding how sex steroid hormones shape brain function has clear implications for improving human health. From a cognitive neuroscience perspective, it is also a fascinating approach to understanding how the brain works! I hope that all lab members will share this view, and not see their time in the lab just as training but as a chance to make novel discoveries in a dynamic and fascinating field of study.
High Impact Research in a Collaborative Setting
The lab strives for original, rigorous, high impact research. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the problem of reproducibility in the biomedical sciences. As a general principle, I would rather see a student produce a comprehensive, rigorous paper that makes a significant contribution to the field, rather than publish several smaller papers based on preliminary findings. Second, now more than ever making substantive advances in science requires the collaborative effort of more than one individual. I expect lab members to maintain an attitude of cooperation and collaboration with other lab members and colleagues. On my end, I will be an active mentor dedicated to helping lab members achieve their training and career goals. I take great pride in seeing scholars move on to their dream position after leaving the lab.
Celebrating and Sharing Science
I encourage students to commit themselves to advancing the public understanding of science. Seth Lloyd, professor of quantum mechanics at MIT, once said “secret knowledge, no matter how laboriously it’s acquired, is less than science.” Sharing and celebrating science with the public can dispel myths, encourage critical thinking, and promote the same sense of wonder that drives many of us as scientists. It’s not only the public who benefits. By sharing your sphere of knowledge with folks outside of the academy (or outside of your department) you’ll strengthen your skills as a communicator. Your teaching chops will benefit by practicing the art of simplifying complex concepts without compromising the integrity of the material, and by learning how to root scientific issues into the larger social and political arena.