SGC-UNC Team Manual

Lab philosophy

The SGC-UNC is an open science chemical biology lab that seeks to illuminate the dark proteins of the human genome through the generation and distribution of chemical tools and reagents to the scientific community. The lab operates as the US site of the Structural Genomics Consortium and embraces its extreme open science policy. The PI’s at the SGC-UNC have a long and successful history of working together as a team in both academia and industry. Through our collective experience of drug discovery, we have a wealth of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology knowledge to impart to our students, post-docs, and visiting scientists. While we each design, lead, and nurture individual projects, the collaborative nature of our work and our shared mission means we work closely (side by side!) with each other in pursuit of the team goals. This philosophy allows us to take advantage of our individual strengths, experiences, and approach to science, support each other, move ahead thoughtfully, and proceed quickly in concert towards our goals. Mentoring in the lab occurs by several mechanisms: through direct supervision, informal discussion, and group meetings. We each seek to tailor our mentoring style to individual scientists and adjust it over time for each scientist as they need. The crucial component of this is regular communication. We believe it is essential to have a scheduled weekly meeting between each student/post-doc and their direct supervisor. This may be for as little as 10 min or as much as several hours depending on the input and feedback that is warranted. The scientific development of students and post-docs is a primary goal of the lab. From this all else follows.

SGC-UNC Lab Goals

  • Illuminate the dark proteins of the human genome through open science

  • Fulfill team members’ goals for advancement

  • Contribute to the organizational goals of the SGC

  • Be good citizens of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy community

  • Consistently publish articles in leading journals

  • Maintain consistent external funding

  • Train post-docs and students for a successful career

  • Graduate all students in a timely manner

  • Prepare undergraduates for graduate programs by mentoring them as researchers

  • Support our collaborators and the scientific community through open sharing of data and reagents

We view our relationship with students and postdocs as a partnership. Our job is to ensure people in the lab get the training and opportunities they need to advance in their chosen careers, whether in academia, industry, teaching, or other options.

Below you can find information on the lab philosophy and expectations of lab members.

Open Science

Open science guides the way we practice science and maintain the quality of our work. Openness is what sets the SGC apart from other academic labs. Our goal is to distribute reagents and data without restrictions to the community and to enable other scientists to make immediate use of our discoveries. The SGC operates a ‘no patent’ policy, and as a result you can openly discuss your research with any scientist and there is no institutional delay to publication of your research. We deposit copies of all manuscripts on preprint servers as soon as they are ready for submission so that publication of our research is not delayed by the review process. We encourage all students and post-docs to contribute regular posts to openlabnotebooks. Not only is this good for the visibility of the lab, but it is great practice for writing papers and preparing you for job interviews. We expect members of the lab to embrace the practice of open science in all aspects of their research

General Rules

Safety first

Your health and safety are more important than your research. This includes adhering to lab safety codes, as well as maintaining your physical and mental health. Never work in the lab if you are feeling sick, under medication that might affect your ability to work normally and definitely not under the influence of any kind of drugs. Avoid working in the lab by yourself doing potentially dangerous activities, and please be aware of UNC online resources for general lab safety. Additional information specific to the SGC lab is available online (onyen required). A printed copy of our lab safety guide is located in GMB 1062. You are expected to complete all mandatory safety training. We conduct periodic safety walkthroughs of the lab to identify potential hazards, which must be corrected on the spot or upon notification. Lab members are expected to adhere to lab safety rules at all times, which includes wearing of the required personal protective equipment (lab coat, safety glasses, and gloves). If you need any assistance please call 911 for an emergency from any campus phone or for non-emergencies dial 919-962-6565.

Respect

We expect lab members to contribute to a productive and friendly environment conducive to learning and research. This includes treating your colleagues with respect, listening to others’ viewpoints and ideas, and ensuring the lab is a place where everybody feels welcome and appreciated. Racist, sexist, or other inappropriate comments or behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstance. The university provides a number of resources (confidential and otherwise) to report or discuss any such activity you feel is inappropriate. If you witness inappropriate behavior or feel intimidated, please seek help and report it.

Lab citizenship

All members are assigned group jobs and responsibilities. These should be taken seriously; one person not doing their group assignment can have a large impact on the whole group. Current tasks include helping with supply and reagent ordering, equipment maintenance, chemical inventory, submission of compounds for physicochemical properties and collation of data, assisting the safety walkthrough, and keeping common areas clean. Current group assignments are listed below:

  • Supply ordering (ePro) - Julie Pickett

  • Supply ordering (non ePro) - Joe Pilotte

  • LC/MS - Alfredo Picado

  • Chemical inventory - Sean O’Byrne

  • Physiochemical data - Sean O’Byrne

  • Safety Walkthrough - Chris Asquith

  • Common areas & pumps - Chris Asquith

  • Microwave - Ben Eduful

  • Biotage/ISCO - Louisa Temme

 In addition, each lab member has the following individual accountabilities:    

  • Monthly flush of eyewashes in the lab area

  • To inventory all new chemicals in ChemInventory immediately upon receipt

  • To inventory advanced synthetic intermediates upon completion of a project or prior to leaving the lab

  • To maintain a detailed and accurate electronic lab notebook, including directories of analytical data and spectra, that is accessible to their direct supervisor

  • To maintain a list in a shared area of final products (compound registry number based on notebook page, SMILES string, MW, amount solid submitted)

  • To make a 10 mM DMSO stock of each final product made (soon after purification and characterizations) for screening and storage

  • To participate in annual lab clean-up (or more often if required)

  • To contribute monthly posts to openlabnotebooks

  • To present periodic project updates at lab meeting

Expectations (for all members)

Work hours

We are lucky enough to work in an area where flexible working hours are the norm. In order to be able to interact with the other scientists in the lab, we expect lab members to be present the majority of normal business hours (9-5pm) during the work week, since this is when most research activities occur. There may be times when your project requires work outside of the core hours or on the weekends. Our philosophy is that productivity is much more important than hours. Don’t worry about your labmates’ schedules. Each individual person goes through phases of more and less intense work based on deadlines and commitments. Part of your training is the ability to recognize those times when an intense effort is required to complete a series of experiments, submit a grant application, or publish a paper. However, you must also balance those efforts with periods of relative calm where you have time to think and reflect on your research, for it is often during these times that you will conceive your best ideas. It is important to remember that the synthesis of new compounds and the screening data generated on these compounds is the currency that allows us to make new discoveries. Thoughtful, creative, and efficient compound synthesis drives new data collection and is the key to successful progression of your research.

It is very important that you take time off for personal life, vacations, and family time. The university has 12 holidays and you have 12 days of personal vacation per year. You may only exceed this allocation by exception and with written permission from your direct supervisor. You must also notify your direct supervisor if you will be absent during the normal work week for any reason, and let them know in advance of any extended leave. You must record your vacation days in the team OneDrive (lab member access only).

Seminars, journal clubs and other lab and institutional activities

Attendance to regular weekly lab meetings is expected of all lab members. Note that if you are funded on one of the lab’s current grants, you are expected to attend those meetings as well. There are a number of seminars (CBMC, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacology) each week. You are strongly encouraged to go regularly to one or more each week.

Conferences

Everyone is encouraged to attend at least one conference a year. Members of the lab regularly attend such meetings as the National ACS Meeting, Gordon Conferences, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meetings, and the National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium. Lab members must make a good faith effort to obtain partial to full costs of meeting and travel expenses. This includes applying for departmental, university, and society travel grants; volunteering at the conference; and sharing rooms. Whenever possible, we will help fund attendance at one conference per year for each member of the lab on the condition that you are presenting a poster or talk at the meeting. Abstracts must be reviewed by the lab PI’s and all coauthors at least a week prior to the submission deadline. Practice talks and posters will be presented to the lab two weeks prior to the conference. Please plan accordingly.

Authorship

The lab follows the IJME rules for authorship:

  1.  Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND

  2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND

  3. Final approval of the version to be published; AND

  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Projects evolve over time and authorship inclusion and author order will be re-evaluated accordingly. If in doubt about whether your contributions to a paper warrant authorship, just ask. All final manuscripts should be reviewed by the lab PI’s prior to submission.

Specific rules for the different members of the lab

 Postdocs and senior PhD students

Responsibilities of SGC-UNC lab PIs to postdocs and senior PhD students:

  • Meet monthly to discuss progress & pitfalls

  • Assist with identifying and writing postdoctoral fellowships.

  • Develop project ideas, including independent projects that can be taken with the postdoc.

  • Interpret results.

  • Proof-read manuscripts.

  • Discuss and support future career goals (e.g., do you want to teach, go into academia, industry, continue in research?), and plan ways to facilitate these goals.

  • Ensure that the scientific goals of each project are clearly understood

  • Provide quarterly feedback on progress and recalibrate expectations.

  • Inclusion on appropriate meetings and communications related to their projects.

Our expectations of postdocs and senior PhD students:

  • Prepare for monthly progress/pitfalls meetings.

  • Understand the scientific background and rationale for all lab experiments.

  • Contribute monthly posts to openlabnotebooks

  • Organize compound progression meetings for Chemical Probe projects.

  • Write and submit manuscripts. On average I expect your time as a postdoc in the lab to generate 2 papers per year (first or co-authored), and you should be pushing to achieve this.

  • Proof-read manuscripts from other lab members.

  • Apply for external funding (either individual postdoc fellowships or contributing to larger lab grant writing).

  • Maintain a detailed and accurate electronic lab notebook, including directories of analytical data and spectra. These need to be sufficient to reproduce results without additional instructions. Make lab notebook accessible to supervisor. Cap each notebook at 100 experiments. Export a PDF copy of the lab notebook to the OneDrive whenever one is finished and upon departure from the lab.

  • Obtain analytical data on all final compounds to support publication. Deposit PDF versions of all spectra on the OneDrive for back-up storage.

  • Submit all final compounds and key intermediates in barcoded vials for storage PRIOR to departing from the lab

  • Participate in general lab responsibilities (equipment maintenance, maintain common areas, taking turns hosting visitors). Participate in talk rehearsals of your colleagues.

  • Optional, but encouraged: Mentor at least one undergraduate student or visiting scientist.

Junior PhD students

Responsibilities of SGC-UNC lab PIs to junior PhD students:

  • Develop project ideas.

  • Interpret results.

  • Proof-read and contribute to writing of theses, abstracts and manuscripts.

  • Discuss and support future career goals (e.g., do you want to teach, go into academia, continue in research?), and plan ways to facilitate these goals.

  • Meet monthly to discuss progress and pitfalls.

  • Ensure that the scientific goals of their project are clearly understood.

  • Inclusion on appropriate meetings and communications related to their project.

Our expectations of junior PhD students:

  • Prepare for our monthly progress/pitfalls meetings.

  • Understand the scientific background and rationale for all lab experiments.

  • Contribute monthly posts to openlabnotebooks

  • Write and submit manuscripts. On average, I expect most students to produce three publications over the course of their PhD, including at least one first-author paper.

  • Maintain a detailed and accurate electronic lab notebook, including directories of analytical data and spectra. These need to be sufficient to reproduce results without additional instructions. Make lab notebook accessible to supervisor. Cap each notebook at 100 experiments. Export a PDF copy of the lab notebook to the OneDrive whenever one is finished and upon departure from the lab.

  • Obtain analytical data on all final compounds to support publication. Deposit PDF versions of all spectra on the OneDrive for back-up storage.

  • Submit all final compounds and key intermediates in barcoded vials for storage PRIOR to departing from the lab.

  • Write thesis in due time.

  • Proof-read manuscripts from other lab members. Participate in talk rehearsals of your colleagues.

  • Participate in general lab responsibilities (equipment maintenance, maintain common areas, taking turns hosting visitors). Participate in talk rehearsals of your colleagues.

  • Present multiple research talks/posters at conferences over the course of your time in the lab. You are encouraged to do so annually, but this isn’t always possible.

  • Optional, but encouraged: Mentor at least one undergraduate student.