27 July 2011

Lab Meetings

In many labs, there are group meetings for the entire lab.  How often these happen depends on each individual lab as well as schedules.  For this research group, these meetings happen an average of once per week.  However these meetings can happen more frequently if there is a lot of work to be done on a project and less often if members of the lab are going to conferences, working more independently on their own separate projects, or are time crunched in activities that are time sensative.

What can happen in a group meeting?  These meetings can be used as a way to check in with some of the other projects happening in the lab, as there are typically several projects happening in one lab.  An example would be several members of the lab group giving short couple minute presentations on what they have been doing, some data, and other important points for their project.  This not only informs the rest of the group what is happening but also opens it up to the group to help talk out possible problems and offer an outside eye to the project.

Another way group meetings can be used is to share information.  If the lab is a neuroengineering lab, such as the one with the current project, then having weekly talks about the different parts of the brain and how they function.  These would be beneficial for the whole lab and are good general knowledge for all of the members to develop.  These meetings also give valuable experience for the presenting members since giving talks in science is an important media of communications in the scientific community.

Group meetings are also used to disseminate information.  These can be used to inform members if and when other events are happening as well as updates or changes in protocol.  Members from the lab can even demonstrate a technique which is important for the whole lab to understand.

These meetings also help to build a sense of community in the lab.  During the last group meeting professor Han made a great statement about the lab: that any problems are not just those of the individual member but are something that are a part of the whole lab, it should not just be someone else's problem.  She is very encouraging of the individual members as well as the members as a whole.  Research is both cooperation and collaboration between people and it is important to foster a community that allows both.

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