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Personal Development

Denied: How to Deal with Rejection in Research

It is amazing to get that “Eureka!” moment or finally get that assay to work, but the downside of those moments is that we do face a lot of rejection. Scientists push the envelope of human knowledge and that means we have to deal with a fair amount of negativity in our line of work.…

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Pregnancy and Post-docing: A Case Study

Deciding to start a family with your partner is one of the most exhilarating and frightening times you’ll likely ever experience, outside of welcoming the little F1 to the world that is. Your job should not be an inhibitory factor in making that decision. We all know that post-docs live in a purgatory of sorts:…

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6 Common Fears When Entering the Lab and How to Deal With Them

The prospect of walking into the lab for the first time to do some ‘real’ research is hugely exciting. Ambitious thoughts fill your mind about what a brilliant research scientist you are about to become, making that all-important difference and saving the world. That is, until you step over the threshold and The Fear overcomes…

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Buffering Your Life with Wellness

I don’t think I need to say that life as a grad student is hard… but I did anyway. When you’re in grad school there are many demands on your time and energy. Although research productivity is generally the main interest of PIs and grad students, it only relates to one, albeit major, area of…

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Feeling like a failure?

Everyone else in the lab is so much smarter and more capable than you and feel that your accomplishments so far in your career are no big deal. On top of that your ligation didn’t work… again.., your boss is always on your back and you are dreading your upcoming poster presentation. Sometimes you feel…

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The Pros and Cons of a Life in Academic Science

The great thing about being a scientist is, well… that you get to be a scientist!  And it can be fun and rewarding. But being a scientist can be a nasty stressful business too. As I come to a turning point in my ‘academic career’, I find myself making mental notes of the pros and…

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Scientists: Can any of us REALLY multi-task?

Unlike Nick Oswald I think I can multitask in the lab. If I organize my day efficiently and perform lots of experiments and other tasks in parallel, I get more done. But there is a school of thought – the one described in Nick’s article – that says no-one can really multitask, that our brains…

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Scientists Work Too Much – Is this Bad for Science?

In my time in the lab, I came across people with lots of different work ethics. The lazy scientists, the let-everybody-else-do-all-the-hard-work-for-me scientists, the strictly-nine-to-five scientists, the nocturnal scientists, the always-on-holiday scientists and, of course, the workaholic scientists. Science is no easy trade. It’s time consuming, and the pressure to get results can be huge. It’s…

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Research is Stressful: What Can We Learn From Science?

Everybody seems busy nowadays, and for many of us, this results in stress. Scientific research in particular is a highly stressful occupation. Perhaps in reaction to this phenomenon, more and more scientists are starting to explore the biological aspects of stress. Since there’s a good chance that you will run into stressful situations in your…

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Make Every Day As Effective As Deadline Day

I’m sure you’ve heard of Parkinson’s Law, or at least the modern-day generalisation of it. It states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  When I first heard this, back in the mists of time, I thought Mr Parkinson was damn right, had a chuckle at a very accurate…

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Do You Work Like A Professional Scientist?

In my  last article I looked at how to efficiently self-manage the scientist in us all. But, to transform efficient and elaborate planning into a mass of (publishable) results, you need to be technically proficient. Here, I’ll look at some ways to acquire and improve your technical prowess, while on your way to becoming a…

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Lab

The beginning of a new year is a great chance to make a fresh start in the lab Here are a few of my resolutions for the upcoming year: 1. I will faithfully update my lab notebook every day. No more marathon sessions once a month with a handful of post-it notes and a few…

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What it Takes to Take the Lead

I had the unique opportunity to attend a lecture by the CEO of Life Technologies, Greg Lucier, just recently here in San Diego. The lecture was organized by Leo Lee, the creator of a new group on Linkedin.com called Leadership Builder and the title of the presentation was “Developing Executive Leadership: What it Takes to…

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10 Ways to Be Your OWN Boss In The Lab

In an ideal world, every PI would be a nurturing and challenging mentor who carefully guides your project and is invested in developing your skills as a scientist. In the real world, however, that kind of leadership can be hard to find. In any case, one of the most important and useful mental steps you…

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