What Students Should Expect in the Laboratory

sam cen

A student who participates in an undergraduate research opportunity (URO) in the Life Sciences, regardless of the nature of the opportunity (be it course-based or stipend-based), will have many opportunities to learn about or directly experience:

1) Good Laboratory Practice

  • Using established laboratory safety protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Proper documenting of laboratory protocols and results and maintaining proper laboratory records.

2) Experimental and Critical Evaluation Skills

  • Searching the scientific literature and critically evaluating scientific evidence.
  • Designing experiments and choosing the appropriate methods of analysis.
  • Using appropriate laboratory techniques.
  • Troubleshooting problems and actively formulating appropriate solutions.
  • Critically analyzing and interpreting data using logic and evidence-based reasoning.

3)  Communication, Collaboration and Networking Skills

  • Communicating in a scholarly style, orally and/or in writing, in seminars, written reports, journal articles, and/or poster presentations, including a final presentation of research work.
  • Participating in seminar series, journal clubs and/or lab meetings.
  • Working as a team member in a collaborative research environment.
  • Building contacts with peers and professionals within the research environment.

4)  Personal Development

  • Beneficially implementing the feedback received and mentoring provided by a research supervisor/principal investigator on a regular basis.
  • Thinking and working independently and confidently.