Your Lab--The Unseen Member of Your Research Team

So you battled through your postdoc position and landed a junior faculty spot in the university of your choice. The department chair shows you to your empty lab, which has been stripped bare and is empty except for the trolley filled with broken glassware, bits of metal, and old catalogs. It's time to hang up your Ph.D. and postdoc qualifications, roll up your sleeves, put on your designer's hat, and get to work creating your lab!

It's no easy feat designing a laboratory. Arranging for building services to paint the lab, repair benches, or put up shelving; defining storage space and work areas; getting clearance for radioactivity areas or chemical storage--setting up your lab takes a lot of discipline, patience, and organization.

In upcoming issues of the Career Development Center, we will begin our series on what it takes to establish and create your very own lab. We provide advice from faculty members who have been through it all and who offer timesaving advice and hints. We want to hear your experiences either as a faculty member or from new investigators who are in the midst of putting their labs together. Or are you a graduate student or postdoc who has helped kit out their supervisor's lab? We want to hear about troubles or what makes your lab efficient and organized. What lab issues would you like to see addressed in this series?

We will also include an interactive "fly-on-the-wall" look at a new faculty member who has just started out. We'll start off with an empty floor plan and slowly add to it. Week by week, you'll see the lab built from the ground up. Where is the best place to install a hood? Where should your Pre- and Post-PCR areas of the lab go? Where should radioactivity areas be? Suggest common tips or hints that make research life easy and workable. E-mail Vid Mohan-Ram with your experiences, advice, and practical suggestions. Or have your say, ask questions, or provide advice in our Lab Design Forum.

A well-designed lab is the unseen member of your research team--learn to design it right, and you'll be destined for success. Stay tuned to the Career Development Center for the start of this series coming up soon!.

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