Y lab culture and value
1 Collaboration and openness
"It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." -- Charles Darwin
I firmly believe that collaboration is an indispensable element in our lab culture. Everyone is encouraged to learn from each other and help with each other’s projects. The efforts you devoted to help others will be properly recognized in all possible forms, including authorship in the scientific papers produced in the lab. We don’t tolerate anyone in the lab who refuses to help others.
2 Freedom of expression and critical thinking
"Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science" -- Ivar Giaever
Our lab strongly supports academic freedom. Lab members are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn without fear of censorship. Quoted from a welcome letter of University of Chicago, “We've been deeply committed to the notion that we're here to learn from one another and to learn from the world and to study things and to figure out the answers. And the best way to do that is to hear all sides of everything.”…“Fostering the free exchange of ideas reinforces a related … priority — building a place that welcomes people of all backgrounds. Diversity of opinion and background is a fundamental strength of our community. The members of our community must have the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas.”
So please feel free to challenge everyone, and be as critical as possible regarding research data and the interpretation of the results (In God we trust; all others bring data. -- W. Edwards Deming). This is espeically true when we obtained unusual and/or unexpected data, which could be very exciting. However, we should always remember that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence -- Carl Sagan. Also, don’t take it personally if other lab members or I challenge your data or your ideas. This is part of the critical thinking training.
3 Leadership and ownership
One mission of the Y lab is to flourish future leaders for science and for society. I will create as many opportunities as possible for you to develop your skills, e.g. courses, training materials -- How to project confidence (Roger love). In particular, taking charge of your own projects and persuading others to follow your vision and help you move your projects forward to the completion is one major leadership skill you will have to develop.
Additionally, I want to point out that we are all human and we will make mistakes. How to handle mistakes also defines leaders. Are you taking responsibility and fix the problems or you blame others and avoid problems? Being responsible, having the courage to face problems and fixing them are critical components in our lab culture.
4 Passion and self-motivation
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." -- Steve Jobs
If you don't love research, don't do it. Achieving excellence in research has never been, and will not be, a 9-5 business. It needs lots of dedication, commitments, motivation and adjustment of schedule to fit with the requirements of the experiments. I always believe that it is our privilege to do research, to discovery new things, to contribute to the cure of human diseases, and to push forward the frontier of human knowledge ("Our Conquest is the Sea of Stars" -- Tanaka Yoshiki). Think about it, all of us would die eventually, but our discoveries and papers (with your name on it) will stay as human knowledge almost forever. So please prepare yourself for taking on this very exciting and rewarding path of life. You will have to love it to overcome experiment failure (it will happen), long hours, as well as all other obstacles ahead of you.
5 Feedback and follow-up
Giving and receiving feedbacks greatly reduces the learning curve and accelerates the growth of your skillsets. Please embrace this culture. As one implantations, for every lab meeting we will have a notes-taking person who will record all the agreed comments, suggestions and then write it up as a memo. The adoption of the feedback and comments will be checked in the follow-up lab meetings for implementation.
I look forward to working together with you on this exciting journey of scientific discovery.