It is a well-recognized fact today that finding a job after PhD or postdoc has become very competitive, be it in academia or industry. I believe my role as a PI will be to produce well-rounded and highly sought-after scientists that end up generating a significant impact on their field of interest. Towards that goal, my primary responsibilities will be:
1) Ensuring that my trainees have sufficient funding and space to carry out high-quality research
2) Ensuring that my trainees, especially graduate students, are well-versed in both wet-lab and computational skills
3) Critiquing scientific outcomes to ensure only the highest-quality research gets published in a timely manner
4) Making training, collaboration, presentation and networking opportunities available to my lab personnel
5) Enabling students and postdocs to reach their career goals
6) Ensuring the highest ethical standards are followed in the lab
I believe the scientific method is about more than simply doing research in the lab - it is a way of life and needs to pervade all aspects of conduct. Thus, I place emphasis on critical thinking as well as speaking up, both of which can be fostered through a Socratic method of pedagogy i.e. learning by asking questions.
Expectations from trainees
An essential foundation of the scientific enterprise is honesty. Thus, first and foremost, all lab personnel will have to adhere to a strict conduct of academic honesty, failing which they will risk a quick expulsion from the lab.
I expect my postdocs to be independent, self-motivated, come up with new ideas, publish research in a timely manner, contribute to mentoring of undergrads and graduate students and be driven to excel in the field. I expect my graduate students to be open to learning novel techniques, perform independent research in their later years and be an author on multiple papers over their PhD career. The undergraduate students in my lab are expected to help the graduate students and postdocs in their research. They are not expected to carry out independent research, however, this is only because undergrads are typically very busy with their course loads. Nonetheless, we have had excellent undergrads in the lab who got their names in publications and honors theses and went on to very good institutions for grad school. So, I very much welcome more involvement from undergrads in research.
Traits that I expect of all trainees - hard work, collegiality and a passion for science. I will wholeheartedly encourage people in my lab to participate in departmental/program activities and events, however, I don't think this should be forced on to anyone. I do not expect anyone to slog long hours, however, timely achievement of milestones is important. At the same time, as the weather of Ithaca tries to remind everyone, there are only a few sunny days and we should make best use of them. It is very important to find work-life balance while doing your research, and I quite encourage that.
Regardless of what is required specifically for research, any workplace should be a happy place. People need to feel motivated to come in and not "have to come in". In addition, it needs to be a place where people feel safe and included, regardless of their ethnicity, color, income, gender, and political/religious views. As a PI, my responsibility will be to create space for a welcoming, happy environment in the lab conducive for research. As lab members, everyone's responsibility will be to maintain such an environment.