Avoid Pouring Chemicals–and Your Reputation–Down the Drain

Dear Dora,

Everyone in my new lab pours all sorts of solvents down the drain and says it’s ok because they flush with a lot of water. I’m a first-year graduate student so maybe this is how all labs work, but it seems crazy. Is there a way for me to bring this issue up without being the annoying newbie?

- anonymous, first year graduate student

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The Science of Thriving: Empowering Your Life in the Lab

The Science of Thriving: Empowering Your Life in the LabAnyone who has worked in a lab for more than a month understands that with the great excitement of research also comes frustration. This is part of the process of working at the forefront of knowledge–some ideas are going to work and some aren’t. As scientists, our job is to make advances in our understanding of the world around us and that doesn’t always come easily. However, we understand (first hand!) the toll that failed experiments can have on our attitude, motivation, and general outlook on career prospects. But if “understanding our experiments” is a matter of science, then how is “understanding our success” any different? Glad you asked…More

Interview: The Future of Publishing and the Fear of Getting Scooped

Interview: The Future of Publishing and the Fear of Getting ScoopedWe recently reconnected with our friend, Eva Amsen Ph.D., and found that in the time since our last conversation she’s moved on to a new job (congrats!). Her new position at Faculty of 1000 has thrown her right in the middle of a topic many scientists are very interested in–the future of scientific publishing. In a world of ever-increasing numbers of journals and lower technological barriers to information sharing, it’s unclear whether most publications will survive. We recently spoke with Eva about her views on the future and how the fear of getting scooped may be a driver for a new model of publication.

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My Postdoc Story: Pre-faculty Fellow

My Postdoc Story: Pre-faculty FellowWhile nearly all of us face challenges during our postdoctoral years, we often feel alone in our struggles. In this series, we hope to share encouraging and uplifting stories of how other scientists were able to turn their situation around and move forward, despite a non-ideal situation. Like snowflakes, fingerprints, and nightmares, every postdoctoral experience is unique, so today we share the Postdoc Story of another successful scientist.

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How to Manage Junior Labmates Who are Older than You

Dear-Dora: How to Manage Junior Labmates Who are Older than YouDear Dora,

I am currently half way through my Ph.D.  Recently a new Ph.D. candidate joined our group. She is 35 this year while I’m in 25. She used to be a lecturer in another private university. She always bragged and boasted about her knowledge and achievements prior to joining our team. But then again, things turned out rather differently. She doesn’t seem to have basic lab skills like using the pH meter and unable to use some common sense in doing everyday work. In our culture, the older ones want respect from the younger ones but they don’t understand respect is something to be earned. The new Ph.D. student is also very egoistic despite her lack of experience in labwork but she constantly needs us to teach her. Some of the instruments were spoilt due to her negligence and her reluctance to ask–how should we deal with her? How do we deal with “juniors” who are very much older than us, in terms of age. I have been working in the lab for 3 years so I have a few publications which clearly demonstrated my ability while she has none. In certain ways I feel she is jealous of my achievement. What can I do? How can I improve the situations without hurting her feelings?

-Anonymous

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Nanoparticles and Proteins, Part I

Enzyme Corner: Nanoparticles and Proteins, Part IDear BenchFly readers,

I’ve been absent for far, far too long, and before anything else, I’ll need to apologize for that. This new Enzyme Corner article will thus serve a dual-function: 1) telling a new enzyme/protein story, which is far overdue, and 2) bringing you up to speed on what I’ve been up to lately.

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Using Your PhD Outside of Research

Dear Dora: Using Your PhD Outside of ResearchDear Dora,

Are there certain career paths outside of research where the PhD dramatically helps your career advancement? I’m a third-year grad student planning on leaving the bench (to do what, I’m not sure) but I feel like I’m half way there so if getting the letters is important I could tough it out.

—MM, grad student

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The Broken Graduate Education Experience

The Broken Graduate Education ExperienceThe life of a scientist can be very hard. Some of us find ourselves fighting through graduate school and postdoctoral fellowships, battling for jobs in a saturated job market, and then bootstrapping our way through the progression of our career trajectory. Regardless of that, obtaining a PhD is extraordinarily rewarding and impactful to society!

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The Conferencation: Adding Personal Time to a Scientific Meeting

The Conferencation: Adding Personal Time to a Scientific MeetingDear Dora,

Any tips on how to tack a vacation on to a conference without my PI getting angry? I’m traveling to a conference in a great location and I want to stay an extra week after the conference (which itself is a week long), but I’m really nervous to tell the boss. 

-RJ, graduate student

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My (non)Postdoc Story: Marketing at Scientific Publisher

My (non)Postdoc StoryWhile nearly all of us face challenges during our postdoctoral years, we often feel alone in our struggles. In this series, we hope to share encouraging and uplifting stories of how other scientists were able to turn their situation around and move forward, despite a non-ideal situation. Like snowflakes, fingerprints, and nightmares, every postdoctoral experience is unique, so today we share the (non)Postdoc Story of another successful scientist.

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