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Gloria Brar on Running a Lab, by Cell Press

Stashed in: #kindness, Awesome, Extraordinary People, Women in Tech, STEM

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nice bit about forming a joint lab

Yes, I like this:

4. What is your guiding philosophy for running your lab? Your personal philosophy?

In a nutshell, I’d say that collaboration, kindness, and openness are invaluable. Also, whenever at all possible, work ought to be fun. 

I’ve been positively shaped as a scientist and PI by exceptionally wonderful coworkers and collaborators. In fact, these relationships have been so influential for me that when I applied for faculty jobs, I aimed to find a place that wanted to hire both me and my friend and collaborator, Elçin Ünal, with the hope we could work closely together and build a sort of “team lab” atmosphere. We were told by a few people that this was an unreasonable idea that would alienate departments and suggested a lack of confidence in our individual abilities, but fortunately this was a minority opinion. Actually, I was surprised by how positive most schools were about the idea, and now we’re working towards building a lab environment that maximally fosters openness and exchange, which I find really exciting.

Generally, I think that most things come down to people and relationships. I have done my best science when around colleagues that I can openly bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, or just commiserate with after a tough set of experiments. And while we’re all used to associating great discoveries with one name (and in my answers above, I shamelessly perpetuate this), solo discoveries are truly the exception. We all have blind spots, biases, and weaknesses, and, as a geneticist, I tend to think that the best remedy for these is human complementation. 

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