alan@benchfly

alan@benchfly

61p

224 comments posted · 2 followers · following 0

260 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - While You Were Out Not... · 0 replies · +1 points

Glad it's working now. Al Gore must have accidentally flipped the master "Internet ON/OFF" switch in his house again. Happens occasionally when he's trying to turn on the dining room lights...

260 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - While You Were Out Not... · 2 replies · +1 points

Hey labmonkey--did you click on the image of the note with red writing? It should take you to a blank PDF. Seems to be working and downloadable on my end, but please let me know if you continue to have trouble. Thanks!

283 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - Lessons from a Recover... · 1 reply · +2 points

Although I feel for your position, I'd strongly recommend against trying to publish without your PI or trying to withhold your source code. Most likely, when you signed your contract as a postdoc, it said that everything you create while employed there belongs to the lab/university. So while it might be frustrating that your PI did not honor his word, you'll need to work with him and turn over the code. The best bet is probably to look for another job so that you can get out of the bad situation and start moving forward in a healthier environment.

311 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - My Postdoc Story: Pre-... · 0 replies · +3 points

My two favorite lines: "1) stick to your needs not those of your PI or the project, especially if you’re working under a fellowship, and 2) never forget that postdocs are temp positions–there’s always someone waiting to fill your position." Great advice.

Pretty much sums up your comment as well. The postdoc is a temporary position meant to be additional training on the way to our first "real" job. However, many of us forget a postdoc, technically, *is* our first job (as a PhD) and we need to treat it as such. This means taking charge of our own scientific and career development--not waiting for someone to do it for us. If we don't stand up for our own needs (professionally and personally), who will?

The most successful--and happy--people I know are those who feel in control of their career path. They have a vision for what they want, but since they feel in control of their situation when something unexpected (read as "bad") happens, they're able to solve the problem and move on. Whereas those who are just floating along in the postdoc are often rocked by the unexpected turn of events.

324 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - Co-First Author Doesnâ... · 1 reply · +1 points

This is a tough situation. It's pretty clear you can't go to the collaborating PI since he's not going to change. This means the other option is to speak to your PI. He/she should have your interests in mind and should be willing to go to bat for you if it seems like you're getting a raw deal. However, the best way to get your PI on board is usually to have a very calm, rational discussion with them explaining why you think you should be second author. Be prepared to present your case and live with your PI's final judgement. If they think it's as unfair as you do, they will take action to right the situation. If they don't see the problem, then you should be prepared to drop it in my opinion.

In your PI's mind, he/she will be weighing the pros of getting you second authorship with the cons of causing tension with his colleague. So part of this decision is out of your control--you can just explain yourself clearly and move on.

Another option is to speak with your university's ombudsman. These are independent university employees who will meet you confidentially. You could present your case to them and see what they think since they should be impartial.

If the battle was over first authorship, I'd say it might be worth fighting hard since first authorship is usually required for graduation/post-grad funding so the unfair byline would be directly affecting your career. In this case, the situation revolves around second authorship, which is still useful, but it's not as important as first authorship and therefore may not be valuable enough to risk damaging your reputation/relationships with a prolonged fight.

No question, this seems like you're getting a raw deal, but after an initial pushback with your PI, your time is probably better spent working on your primary project and getting a first author paper. Just my two cents...

Good luck and let me know what happens!

327 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - Poverty Nutrition II: ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Great idea! Time/advanced planning has always been my problem with dry beans. By the time I think of them, it's too late. My go-to cheats are Trader Joe's pre-cooked lentils. Although they're more expensive than dry beans, they're delicious and ready in a snap--just pop them in the microwave for a minute to warm them up and you're ready to eat!

331 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - The Broken Graduate Ed... · 0 replies · +2 points

I like the idea of having the option to learn to teach in a more meaningful way--beyond just the grading exams and running review sessions that most of us get stuck doing. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a majority of students view the teaching requirements as a hassle--who wants to grade exams for a living?

I think an update to the curriculum should include more opportunities to pursue your career interests while in graduate school. If you want to be an academic, teaching should be an option. If you want to go into a company, maybe there is either an internship or a class that teaches people what life is like in a corporate research environment.

I agree with Karen that a culture change is necessary, but is accomplished as a result of reforms and actions taken. If we make the right changes, the right cultural changes will follow.

334 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - Rules of a Scientist's... · 0 replies · +4 points

Many people are so eager to dive into a project that they forget to (or don't want to) do the controls first. Controls serve as the baseline, so if you can't get the controls working (or don't have them), then it's impossible to conclude anything from your future experiments.

343 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - Rules of a Scientist's... · 0 replies · +3 points

...and always sequence plasmids handed down to you. Seen the "controls" and "sequenced plasmid" stories end horribly too many times.

348 weeks ago @ BenchFly Blog - 2012: A Killer Year Im... · 0 replies · +1 points

Of course! It's been a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to what we can do in 2013!