10 Don'ts of Starting Your First Independent Laboratory

Don’t… 1.  Procrastinate.  The list of tasks leading up to opening your first lab and starting your professorship appointment can seem quite formidable.  The sooner you start planning and executing, the smoother the process will flow

2.  Panic.  Your to-do list is large, but not overwhelming.  Use time, planning and organization to simplify and keep track of tasks.  Help from current and future colleagues, along with tools such as BioData’s lab start-up checklist and interactive worksheet are essential management resources.

3.  Be afraid to fail and change course.  Whether it’s those first few experiments, balancing teaching and mentorship, or laboratory management or personnel issues, some things about your new lab will work, but others inevitably won’t.  Don’t be frustrated by these learning experiences, use them to strengthen your laboratory and group for the future.

4.  Purchase expensive equipment that you don’t think will be essential for your research from start up money.  Most large equipment purchases should last for at least ten years and be used often enough to justify spending the money.  Investigate whether collaborators or nearby institutes have equipment that your group can occasionally use before investing in it.

5. Forget the big picture.  Problem solving, great theories, and big discoveries in basic research often rely on looking at an overall mechanism and its hypothetical function rather than getting hyper-focused on the details. use-biodata-to-keep-your-lab-running-smo