Vacation—When and How Much?

Dear Labby, I am a second-year graduate student and get on very well with my PI. We are very excited, as together we have made a fundamental discovery in our competitive field. In fact, I am about to start writing a major paper as the  … Read more

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Negotiating Your Salary and Start-up Package

Dear Labby, I have been offered an assistant professorship in a first-rate biomedical center and am very excited. The stimulating environment, the colleagues, the balance of teaching and research, and the community all seem really good and could be an excellent mix for me, my  … Read more

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Lab Language

Dear Labby, I’m an assistant professor going into my third year at a U.S. university. I recently received the comments from our promotion and tenure committee. The overall review of my package showed that I was on track for tenure and promotion, except in one  … Read more

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Whose Data Go Where?

Dear Labby, I am a fourth-year graduate student and have just done the most difficult and exciting experiment of my (admittedly short) career, using a new technique developed by one of my labmates, also a graduate student. The results of this experiment are the crowning  … Read more

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A Case of Sexual Harassment in the Lab

Dear Labby, I have a sensitive issue: My friend told me today that she has had to fend off both verbal and physical sexual advances by a postdoc in her laboratory. We are both third-year graduate students in the same lab. Her project is a  … Read more

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Resisting Intimidation

Dear Labby, I’m a graduate student in the second year of my PhD in Virology. My research is going great, and I’m really happy with my choice of project and mentor. In fact, our lab just published a paper including work from my rotation project,  … Read more

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Graduate Now or Later?

Dear Labby, I am entering my sixth year as a graduate student in a PhD program at a top medical school. I am ambitious and want a research career. My advisor allowed me complete freedom to develop interesting projects, but until recently all my projects  … Read more

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Labby “Outed” as ASCB Honors Thoru Pederson

Ending ten years of excellent advice and clever misdirection, Thoru Pederson was “outed” Saturday night as Labby, the pseudonymous author of the long-running and extremely popular career column, “Dear Labby,” in the ASCB Newsletter. Pederson was exposed as Labby by 2015 ASCB President Shirley Tilghman  … Read more

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Finding Our Way

Dear Labby, We receive mentoring of all kinds, but many of my fellow students and I find it granular: helpful but lacking in broader sweep. Senior members of our department recount tales of their mentors conveying much deeper lessons. You deal each month with a  … Read more

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Bombed My Defense!

Dear Labby, My thesis defense started out fine. It was the usual seminar (with my husband, our five-year-old daughter, my parents, and my in-laws all sitting in the back) followed by some easy questions from the audience in this “public” part. After a short break,  … Read more

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