The academic lab is a screwball cross-section of personalities. There is everyone from the omnipotent lab manager and the timorous undergraduate to the idealistic graduate student and the grizzled post-doc or any other combination thereof.
With each personality comes a different level of lab experience in terms of time spent in the lab. Because people don’t enter the lab as a unit, the time together for most people is short. And during their short time together, everyone is looking to move forward in their career stage.
The singular constant in this cabal is the principal investigator (PI) who will be there for everyone’s time in the lab, from start to finish. The PI sets the culture for the lab—how people interact and how people become scientists. How then does a PI build comradery among this rag-tag group? How can the team work together to advance the lab but at the same time advance everyone’s perspective career goals?
This article was originally published in the January 2023 issue of The Physiologist Magazine.