Monday, December 18, 2006

Mistress of the Lab: All Shall Bow to Me!

I seem to have acquired a postdoc to help out; that is, I help him. I’m not sure why ME. Am I the closest human? Am I too nice? (Ha ha ha.) Do I know many answers? Sadly, I do have answers to most of his questions; but darn it, it takes a lot of time.

It’s necessary to have someone to show you where the plates are and how to order more antibody, and tell you how to make X, and what probably went wrong. When you come to actual experiments, it seems like there’s always some secret ingredient that’s not written down, like ‘until it’s this color brown.’ I suspect this is why most (or at least many) published protocols are virtually irreproducible. Some of it’s voodoo, of course- the moral equivalent of ‘Wave your pipette overhead three times, then oink’- but some of it’s really important, like ‘Exactly ten seconds here.’

Our newest grad student has yet to realize that other people have valuable experience. One of many reasons not to be arrogant: it will screw up your experiments.

It’s still a time drain to be helpful. I wish this postdoc would ask someone else!!

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