To view the original video, please go to https://youtu.be/EAOEQ2OEYmY .
How to Establish a Successful, Safe, and Ethical Research Team
Todd MacFarlan, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator NICHD
(Edit/camera cut) Dr. Todd Macfarlan on camera.
|Dr. Todd Macfarlan: My name is Todd MacFarlan. I'm a senior investigator at NICHD's Division of Intramural Research. I started my lab here around eight years ago, and my lab is really a basic science lab that studies mechanisms of embryonic development.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: So today, I'm just going to talk a bit about some things to think about when starting up your own research laboratory. If I could just say the sort of overarching theme is that “culture trumps strategy,” and no pun intended. There is a famous saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I like this saying because I think it really applies to what you want to think about when you're establishing your culture in your laboratory so that you can be successful.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||
Dr. Macfarlan: In the PowerPoint slides that are attached with my seminar, I basically supply some basic things to think about when you are thinking about how you plan to set up your research laboratory. I broke this down into sort of three big components, one of which is probably the most important—how you decide who you are going to hire because these are the people who are doing most of the science in the research laboratory. So, there should be a big amount of effort thinking about who the people should be, and how you are going to make the decisions to hire those people.
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: The second major component is how do you get your people to carry out your research vision.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: Then, the third major part of the PowerPoint slides is how do you avoid some of the common problems. Typically, these problems come both with interpersonal conflicts that might happen between individual members of your lab, or between you and your lab members.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: The number one thing to do is to learn how to deal with things and problems as they arise, as opposed to letting them fester. You know, small problems can turn into big ones if they are not dealt with. I think it is sort of human nature to see if problems will sort of fix themselves, and more often than not, they do not fix themselves. So, you know, learning how to deal with problems as they arise in an effective manner, so that so that all parties can feel like their voices were heard, but at the same time, that you can resolve these conflicts.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: The advice I tend to give to junior labs when they're actually starting is that there's a lot of people who want your time, right? And you need to really pick and choose the things that you can say “yes” to. So, I can just give a personal experience. So at the NIH, a good example of this is that you are expected to do some administrative work. Right? Everybody has to do some administrative work on top of doing their science. What you want to do is pick the administrative work that you find the most enjoyable, that you get the most out of.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: The presentation on laboratory safety was presented by Niamh Cawley, who is one of NICHD’s safety personnel. And the presentation on how to set up your research animals in your laboratory was presented by Dr. Karl Pfiefer, who’s also a senior investigator at NICHD.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: You do not have to reinvent the wheel when you are establishing your animal protocols. For most of the major model organisms that are being used at the NIH intramural research program, there are already really great protocols and things established. What you want to do is establish relationships with the people who are smarter than us, who have been doing this for a long time. They really can help you to produce your protocol so that you can avoid any kind of hurdles that happen during the review process.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: The take home message about laboratory safety is that you really need to focus and be aware of the potential hazards. These hazards are chemical hazards and fire hazards. There are really great trainings that you will have to take, pretty much at any institution, but NIH has these too, to really make you aware of the hazards that'll happen in the type of research laboratory that you're in.|
|Camera view of Dr. Macfarlan.||Dr. Macfarlan: I can say as an investigator, one of the last things you could ever want is for someone in your lab to be harmed by something that they were working with in the lab.|
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