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Post Archive
2017 (0)2010 (39)
December (3)

It's not "goodbye," it's...
Friday, December 17, 2010

I can haz music warz?
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two weeks
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
November (10)

Interviews, for reals!
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can I get a pdf of this?
Thursday, November 18, 2010

SfN 2010 Day 5: A video featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SfN 2010 Day 3: A video featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Monday, November 15, 2010

SfN Day 2 (better late than never)
Monday, November 15, 2010

SfN 2010, Day 1: a video blog featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Saturday, November 13, 2010

30,000 people is not actually that many people
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We have a winner, and a cocktail!
Sunday, November 7, 2010

You. Immortalized. In a cocktail.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time for BANTER!!!
Monday, November 1, 2010
October (8)

Your PowerPoint and You
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have I told you lately that I love you?
Thursday, October 21, 2010

So I have an Interview.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's bribe time
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Research Blogging: The Postpartum Brain
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Business Time
Friday, October 8, 2010

That time I was on TV
Thursday, October 7, 2010

What?! Only 300 thread-count and no robe? Two stars!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
September (5)

SABOTAGE!!!
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let me give you my card
Thursday, September 23, 2010

I gotta have some of your attention, give it to me!
Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Science Enemy
Monday, September 13, 2010

What I wish I knew before...I moved to New York City
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
August (9)July (4)
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Dr Becca, Ph.D.

Dr Becca can now be found at http://scientopia.org/blogs/drbecca .

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Recent Comments
Comment by marguerite in SABOTAGE!!!

So nice to know I'm not the only paranoid one. :-) But sad to know that sometimes "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean their not after you". :-( **Off to go check prices for tiny cam. . .Read More
Jan 10, 2011, 8:39pm
Comment by Lab Mom in It's not "goodbye," it's...

Best of luck over in your new digs! We'll miss you! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 9:32pm
Comment by JaySeeDub in It's not "goodbye," it's...

Awww...does this mean no ex-scientist restaurant? Google reader has been updated! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 8:41pm
Comment by NatC in It's not "goodbye," it's...

It's been an exciting few weeks for you! Congrats on this (and surviving your first TT interview), I'll definitely be commuting over to continue following your adventures! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 1:07pm
Comment by Tideliar in It's not "goodbye," it's...

Wow! Congratulations Becca! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 12:37pm
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So I'm in the courthouse today doing my civic duty, and as those of you who have also done your civic duty can attest to, there is a lot of free time when doing your civic duty (until you get picked for the motherf$%*ing jury, but that is another story for another blog). But thanks to my exorbitant NYC tax dollars, there is excellent wi-fi in the juror holding room, so I decide to put all that free time to good use and look for a job. No, not a TT job--though I am applying for those, too--my current situation has made a more pressing issue out of finding a second post-doc.

There's someone I'm interested in. His work is lightly related to, but different enough from mine, and I want to send him my CV with a nice personal email describing what I want to learn from working in his lab. There is just one problem--it is not clear to me exactly what goes on in his lab. When I do a PubMed search, his papers are awesome, but are mostly large collaborations involving several labs, and as we are all well aware, papers don't exactly break it down for you re: who did what. So I have the brilliant idea to google him, and see if I can find a lab homepage. Surely there, I'll find a statement about what cutting-edge techniques they currently use to answer what questions, no?

No, because there is no lab website. There's a small blurb on the department homepage with the standard general area-of-interest statement, likely last updated in 2002, but nothing that would allow me to write much more than a form letter. In my recent searches, I've found that this is sadly more often the case than not.

Boooooooo!!!!!!

PIs, did you have a brain tumor for breakfast? Why on earth would you not have a website?? Do you not want to be found? Or are you that egotistical that you assume everyone already knows everything that goes on in your lab?

It is 2010. I'm not saying you have to do anything crazy like join Twitter, but for pete's sake, find a tech-savvy undergrad or something (kids these days sneeze websites!) and get them to throw something together that shows off your fancy techniques, lists the lab members (with pictures!), and describes the big picture stuff. It's really not that hard, and not only will you make yourself more visible to excellent potential senior post-docs (*cough*cough*), you'll convey the message that you are "with it." Modern. Relevant. Cool*.

*Well. Let's not get carried away here.

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Blog Comments

Thomas Joseph
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It could be university/departmental policy/red-tape. I know where I did my graduate school work, our "lab page" was a spin-off from the departmental webpage. My alma mater wanted everything to look uniform, same templates, etc etc. So finding a tech-savvy undergrad would not have worked in our case, we would have had to go through the uni IT department. That effectively killed off any desire to have a lab webpage, until the dept. kicked in a free, barebones one for us.

Genomic Repairman
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I agree with TJ, a lot of those webpages are just cookie cutter and maybe the person who updates their webpage has quit/retired/said fuck it. But that really is no excuse. Our department updates webpages at least once a year and usually sends out an email for update publications every six months for their website. But if you are serious about recruiting you have to at least have something that is not caked in digital dust.

Evie
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I get annoyed when I can't find people online. I have some friends that are like that. They have zero web presence. I hate that! No way to see where they're at, what they're up to, where they are living these days.. booo.

I also agree w GR and TJ, even our websites were dept oriented. I'm not sure if that was just that no one bothered making something better due to lack of time, or if it was all regulated. I'm guessing though a big part of it is that people really don't realize how valuable that would be, how much more interest you could generate for your lab by having all that info out there.

Hey, maybe that could be your in with the guy? Tell him how you want to shake things up and create a new interwebz persona for his lab :)

Doctor Zen
The University of Texas-Pan American
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Alas, researchers don't care.

You cannot estimate the deep, dark depths of their indifference.

People don't have a website because they are already going out of their minds with the things they have to do. And they weren't trained as website designers.

One might almost suggest an inverse correlation: The more successful the lab, the more likely it is that you won't get an up-to-date website. Oooh, I wonder if there's a way to get quantitative data on that...

Jason Goldman
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Everyone above who has commented on institutional red tape and bureaucracy are correct, but there are still ways around it for the savvy PI. Many universities allow profs and students personal webspace. That can be used for developing your lab website, and can be linked from your cookie cutter department website. Or go and set up some basic wordpress blog - even if you don't want to use it *as a blog* those templates can be set up as a lab website, and again, link to it from your cookie cutter department website. I agree with Becca, there's no excuse for at least a basic lab website with a list of personnel, publications, and a short research summary.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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The night just funded a MASSIVE (like 100 million dollars) data mining initiative to automatically populate a researcher database to make finding people and their research easier. There are two groups working on it. One is based here at UF :)

Gerty-Z
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I am in the process of trying to put together a lab website and it is NOT easy. I'm a little tech-limited (as anyone who has seen my attempts at commenting/posting is surely aware) and getting around all the stupid dept. and university "rules" is ridiculous! I am actually paying one of my techs to try to get it going, but as I have no idea what is going on I can't really know how well it is going. :-(

Thomas Joseph
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Gerty-Z said:
I am in the process of trying to put together a lab website and it is NOT easy. I'm a little tech-limited (...


Gerty-Z, one bit of advice ... don't under ANY circumstances add MIDI or WAV files to your page. The days of having your webpage play Beethoven's Symphony Number 5 like it was performed inside a tin pail are long past. :P

Gerty-Z
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TJ, thanks for the advice. I have always hated when websites start yelling at me, too! But really, at this point, if I can get a picture and some words on the screen I will be happy.

biochem belle
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Doctor Zen said:

I think it's more likely that either some don't see the utility of having a homepage or where to start, and I would point out this Nature Chemistry editorial to such individuals. Plus some people are more willing to check out new tech opportunities.

Prof-like Substance
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The Uni red tape can be avoided, it's not hard. Yes, I have a department page that is boiler plate, but it includes a link to my lab page, which I paid someone to design and update myself. The university still hosts it, even.

My advice, pay someone who knows what they are doing to do your website. It'll take 1/10 the time, not cost all that much in the grand scheme of things and represents your web presence to people. Do it right.

Nat
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I have to believe these indifferent PIs have never seen the information on who is visiting their websites, how many visits there are, and how many are getting there by Google searches.

Cause if they did, I bet they would care a lot more about having something halfway decent come up as the first hit on googling "Hair, Professor Blue" or "i hate professor greybeard"

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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There's this loser guy that runs LabSpaces that might be able to help you out, Gerty... :P

Genomic Repairman
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Gerty don't do it, he'll fuck with your banner and change it to landscape from portrait. Watch out!

Tideliar
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TL;DR on the comments, but

IT IS 2010. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to have a website. But as Dr. Zen says, most don't give a damn.

In my 'other' day job we provide provide ALL our faculty with a customizable portal. You could have a webpage in a manter of minutes, with phots, addresses etc.

Nothing.

We give them the option to delegate and have staff do it for them!

Nothing.

So, the Boss just pushed through paperless review. They don't fill out the portal, they got no paperwork to show. I hope it works. It even does your fucking NIH biosketch for crying out loud!

Tideliar
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Gerty-Z said:
I am in the process of trying to put together a lab website and it is NOT easy...getting around all the stupid dept. and university "rules" is ridiculous!


Dude, Lesson The First - You're new faculty. You're golden. You shit dollar bills. Fuck the rules.

Lesson The Second - Tis better to ask forgiveness than permission. Actually, make that Rule 1-5.

Fuck, make a Google homepage and slip the Uni Webmaster a fin to post the link on your profile page. Fuck, slip me a fin I'll make you a fucking webpage!
Candid Engineer

Guest Comment
Doesn't surprise me in the least. Unless someone in the lab has a real hankering to do website design, I wouldn't expect an up-to-date website. Esp. for a famous PI. I'm pretty sure that my lab's website hasn't been updated since 2003, lol.

Just email the dude, tell him your interests and that you've read his papers and ask if your interests overlap. More work, I know. Do it.

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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No excuses!!!!! My institution provides templates for lab websites that are actually quite good. Just a few links one the side--one for personnel, one for research, one for publications, etc, and the PIs can put whatever in each. Famous Dude (who is not at my institution) has a VERY comprehensive website, which includes his lab's journal club schedule, conference presentations his lab members have given, and a photo gallery! But he's pretty hip, so I'm not surprised at all.

I'm thinking along the lines of CE here. I mean, unless this guy has absolutely no room or desire for a new post-doc, he's going to look at my CV, right? Is it going to make a difference if I'm like, "I really want to come to your lab to learn technique X?"

biochem belle
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Dr Becca, Ph.D. said:
I'm thinking along the lines of CE here. I mean, unless this guy has absolutely no room or desire for a new post-doc, he's going to look at my CV, right? Is it going to make a difference if I'm like, "I really want to come to your lab to learn technique X?"


It can't hurt. At worst, he just ignores you or blows you off. Hopefully he'll at least give you some indication as to whether his lab really does the technique and, if not, who's really behind it.

Gerty-Z
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I agree with CE, if you send a letter/email that makes it clear you have read his papers then he will probably read your CV. But, it really is important that you seem to have an idea of what is going on (even if it is not clear what exactly is going on in HIS lab). Otherwise, he probably won't read your CV. You would be amazed at how many folks send you CVs out of fucking nowhere.

Tiddles: I *heart* Lesson the First, and can totally get behind Lesson the Second. You are a wise, wise man.

Tideliar
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Totes agree with advice of following up with PIdude anyway. If you've read his work then you can at least write to him and see if A) he has money/room/need and B) get the interview.

You've got nothing to lose by trying

Dr. O
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I understand your frustration. My current mentor had (and still has) no website when I was out looking for postdocs, which made it difficult to get an idea about his lab (not just his science) as I was deciding who to send my CV to. I agree 100% with the others, though. If he's interested, he'll def look your CV over, and you'll have ample opportunity to talk with him and other lab members if when you get an interview. :)

Professor in Training
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I'm still listed on my grad advisor's list of students.

And getting around the institutional red tape is sometimes a huge pain in the ass but it can be done. And by the time that's done, the info you had planned to upload is out of date. And when it's finally updated and uploaded, it's out of date again and you have to wait for months for the IT peeps to fix it.
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