Picciotto Lab Mission

To discover new aspects of how molecular processes support and affect behavior.

To perform rigorous studies to understand how acetylcholine signaling affects biochemistry, cells, circuits and the body.

To develop new ideas that will inspire future experiments by the broader scientific community.

To translate our basic scientific findings to human subjects and treatments for brain disorders whenever possible.

To educate trainees and provide an environment in which every lab member feels able to learn new concepts and techniques.

Lab member expectations

Most critical is that I expect all lab members to foster a community of respect. Human interaction can be tough. Scientific research can be tough. Our lab should always work from the basic expectation that all of us deserve the benefit of the doubt when misunderstandings arise, the right to hear grievances face-to-face and help when we are struggling.

To achieve the scientific goals we set for ourselves we have to design and perform well-controlled studies and push ourselves to do experiments that might fail.

We need to recognize what types of experiments are exploratory, and how to turn exploratory observations into mechanistic experiments.

Lab members should be eager to learn new techniques, areas of science and types of analysis.

Complex problems require complex experiments, which often means forming collaborations within and outside of the lab. Lab members should be willing to engage in collaborative work and share their expertise with others.

Lab members should discuss their projects and experiments with lab members as often as possible. The best science is done when there is ongoing feedback.

Collaboration and successful scientific work require open communication of data, successes and failures. Lab members should feel safe communicating their ideas with others and should expect honest feedback.

Being part of a scientific community means passing on what you know to others. This means teaching trainees and fellow lab members what you know, and working together to learn techniques or skills that are new to the group.

Lab duties

Lab meetings and Molecular Psychiatry Group meetings are a huge benefit to our studies, providing feedback and course corrections before we submit manuscripts and grants. Attending these meetings is mandatory, unless there is a really good reason.

There are many seminars in Molecular Psychiatry (BSTP) and the broader neuroscience community. Attending neuroscience seminars is essential to getting a broader perspective on what we are doing in the lab, even if the subject of the seminar is not directly in line with your current project, and attendance should be included as you plan your time.

All lab members are required to follow safety regulations and maintain the highest ethical standards.

Each lab member is the best judge of how they manage their time. I expect everyone to be self-motivated because external pushing is not useful or sustainable.

Lab members should focus on doing reproducible experiments that will lead to publications. This is essential to fulfill the trust that our funders put in us when they provide resources for us to do the work and is the primary way that we can communicate what we have achieved to other scientists and the public.

What you can expect from the Picciotto Lab PI

We will set a time in my calendar to meet one on one every week. If I am traveling during our usual meeting time, we will reschedule or meet virtually. This time is yours to use to talk about experiments, troubleshooting, ideas, literature, personal issues, opportunities, or whatever you would like feedback on.

I will be committed to helping you meet your scientific and career goals while you are in the lab and after you are finished with your work in the lab. You should expect me to support your work now and in the future by providing letters of support and advice when you ask for it.

You can expect me to treat you like a human, to care about your health and well-being and understand that there are many things inside and outside the lab that affect you and your work.

You can expect me to keep confidential anything you tell me that you would not want me to share with others.

You can expect me to make many mistakes, and to change my behavior or lab practice when those mistakes are brought to my attention. I am always learning too, and always appreciate feedback.