I’m a postdoc in the TRRC and would like to tell you a little bit about my time spent here at the LMCB.
I started almost two years ago (in February 2010) and was immediately struck by the atmosphere here. It’s not just the friendliness of the people here (which you should find in most good working environments), but the enthusiasm people have for their (and others’) work and the determination to do good science was almost palpable. The group I have joined is relatively new, with my boss having started just over a year ago. We are set up as a high-content screening lab (see the TRRC webpage for more details!) with the intention of carrying out screens to further my individual project as well as helping others who wish to carry out a screen for their own nefarious purposes. In the last year I have thoroughly enjoyed helping to set up the lab, fostering collaborations with other groups in the institute, and progressing well in my own project. The services and machines available are top quality and well run, and everything that you could need is at hand. I feel motivated in my work, and am very much enjoying working here.
From the point of view of gaining an insight into other projects, the institute hosts seminars twice a week. One is from an invited speaker, with the opportunity for both PhD students and postdocs to meet them in a more relaxed environment. This enables you to ask questions about their project and pick their brains about how to progress in science over a quiet pint after their talk. There are also weekly seminars, where every year you get a chance to present your work t the institute. This helps us to practice our presenting skills, as well as getting advice from the wealth of experience available in the institute. They are also a great opportunity to suggest collaborative experiments and to increase the understanding of other projects going on in the institute.
Aside from the lab work, the working environment here is excellent. The offices are set out in such a way as to ensure that not too many people from the same group share an office. This works very well to ensure that you get the opportunity to mix with a variety of people, and prevents cliques forming based on labs. I found this to be of particular benefit as our lab is currently small, with only three members, and being part of an office with a variety of people from different labs helped me to integrate quickly and easily. There was a constant complaint in a previous work place of mine that no-one knew what was going on in different labs, and that there was not enough socialisation between groups even in the same department. However, when you share an office with a variety of people, this issue is to some degree averted, as you get to hear about other people’s projects and may be able to help with some problems. The social aspect of the LMCB is also very strong, with monthly themed ‘cocktail evenings’ where the burden of entertainment falls on a different lab each month according to a rota. Again this kind of interaction fosters good communication between groups, and helps to form meaningful friendships with colleagues you would otherwise struggle to get to know.
Basically, I feel that here at the LMCB the science is good, the people are friendly and it’s a fun place to be.