The work in our lab unites tool building, computational approaches, and developmental biology. This is our way of making exciting discoveries about how complex tissues are made naturally as well as having an impact beyond our field by expanding what is possible. Our academic interest is to find out how biology overcomes or utilizes stochasticity. Our technological aspiration is to make novel and powerful methods for diagnostic applications, high throughput screening, development of new therapies, and personalized medicine.
In science, our motto is “if it’s shaky, push it over”. It is adapted from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Part 3, 56:20). It encourages us to be rebellious. Don’t accept the widely accepted if it is not well supported by the data. Challenge any conclusion, no matter who’s made it. It also means that we should strive for producing science that is not on a shaky foundation. We believe resisting the temptation to accept an “almost good enough” answer will pay off in the long run.
We are here to learn from each other. Therefore, our goal is to create an environment where everyone feels welcome and appreciated. Diversity of backgrounds, identities, and viewpoints is valued in our lab.
We also value collaboration over competition. Collaboration helps us achieve our shared mission. Competition is really not necessary because ideas and questions are not limited resources. We have a lot of them. Too many for our life times. Time is the limited resource, which we can save by being open and collaborative inside and outside of the lab.
Success of a lab is often measured by the success of its members. So we do our best to make sure every lab member has clear goals for their time in the lab, the goals are communicated with the PI, and we have a plan for them to achieve their goals.
If your goal is to pursue an independent academic position, publication and grant writing skills are critical. You also want to have a compelling story by the time you leave the lab. One that you are passionate about and forms the basis for your future work. So your mentorship plan should emphasize these factors.
If your goal is to pursue a career in industry, gaining skills and experiences that are sought after in your field of interest should be a priority. Just as important is to grow your network. You may want to look for internship opportunities. So your mentorship plan will be customized to suit your goals. We also have projects and ideas that have the potential for commercialization. Those may be a good fit for you, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur.
For students and postdocs, it is also important to know the broader community of researchers in their field. So we encourage and support trainees to attend meetings, conferences, and summer courses that help them expand their network and scientific perspective.