Lab Philosophy

Before joining a lab, it’s important to understand the values and culture that motivate the research group, how they organize their work, and how they conduct research individually and as a team. These factors, the workplace ground rules, significantly impact your daily work and long-term job satisfaction. This is even more important if you’re new to science, as your initial lab experiences can shape fundamental habits that influence the rest of your career.  Choose carefully to find a lab with scientific values and culture that resonate with you.

​ I expect that anyone who considers joining the lab will share two strong interests: 

1) Motivation to discover fundamental mechanisms by which thalamic circuits contribute to learning and memory.

2) Motivation to gain expertise in systems neuroscience: This includes knowledge of the cellular and circuit basis of learning and memory, as well as gaining proficiency in various methodologies, depending on the project, such as rat behavior, optogenetics, electrophysiology, spike and LFP data analysis and programming.​

Basic Values and Expectations

​ As a woman in neuroscience, an immigrant to the United States, and a first-generation college graduate, I identify with the challenges that minorities face, both linguistic and cultural, and I appreciate the new skills and perspectives they bring to science.  I am committed to fostering a merit-based system that is inclusive at every level, from the lab and institution to the broader scientific community. A culturally rich environment enhances the training experience for all lab members. Therefore, if you join the lab, I expect you to embrace your unique talents, cultural upbringing, and scientific background, and to value and appreciate those same qualities in your colleagues.

Teamwork and Mentoring.  Working with a diverse group of peers in a positive environment will significantly enhance your scientific training. A willingness to respect and trust others will give you the foundation to build valuable professional relationships. Being reliable and having a positive attitude will help you sustain those relations through your career. I expect every lab member to contribute to a positive lab environment, to be respectful to others and to behave professionally. I will not tolerate harassment, disrespect or demeaning attitudes to others.

   Finding a group of mentors that understands your current and future scientific plans should be an early goal at any career stage (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, faculty). Likewise, being a mentor to others will be an important aspect of your contribution to science and will enhance your own skills. I expect that senior students and postdocs will actively seek mentoring relationships within the lab and beyond. Mentorship is driven by the mentee, and so being proactive is key to finding your mentoring team, just as listening to others is key to serving as a mentor.

Work-life Balance. Joining a lab is not just about conducting scientific research; it’s about embracing challenges, fostering a collaborative environment, and achieving personal and professional growth. As a lab member, I expect you to be passionate about neuroscience and dedicated to producing high-quality work that contributes to the advancement of knowledge in our field and to your development as a professional neuroscientist.

Challenging work is at the core of scientific research, and effective time management is not just an important skill—it’s a cornerstone of success. No scientific achievement comes without challenges and sustained dedication; however, both working too little or working too much can derail your project. The key is to figure out what works for you to make your time efficient while keeping yourself happy. Set clear, meaningful goals and aim to accomplish them within defined timeframes. Engage in open communication with your mentors and peers, especially those who have navigated similar career paths. Learn from their experiences, seek advice, and together, we can navigate the intricate balance between scientific pursuit and a fulfilling personal life.