I am working at the LMCB in Antonella Riccio lab since 2005, first as a Research Associate and then as a Senior Research Associate. Previously, following the completion of my studies in Italy, I had been working in USA and Germany.
When offered the position, I was enthused about the prospect of joining the LMCB and I am actually very happy with my decision as I found here just the type of research environment I was looking for: very focused, interactive, international, well-organized and run.
Moreover, the project I was offered to work on, was at the cutting edge of my field and anticipating many novel findings. I was also excited by the fact that the research group itself was just being established. I thought it would have been very stimulating to contribute to the setting up of a new lab. Furthermore, I liked the fact that the LMCB is embedded in UCL, a world-class university ranked as the top university outside the USA in the “2010 Best Places to Work for Post-docs” Survey. And it is strategically placed in London, where many other high profile universities and research centres are located.
I think one of the strength of the LMCB is the presence of many groups working on a wide range of topics and models thus, whenever you are trying something new, there is someone who possibly has done it before, and can help with protocols and advices. Moreover, the core facilities, especially microscopy and translational, are top class and have excellent research and support staff.
Another advantage of working at the LMCB is the possibility of meeting many external scientists invited to visit the institute for an entire day. The post-docs have the possibility to meet informally with the invited speakers and talk about their work and experiences. Once a year, the post-docs have also the opportunity to invite a speaker of their choice and we have been always very successful in persuading top-quality scientists to come and visit the LMCB.
The post-docs are offered other occasions for presenting their work and getting constructive feed-back. Many LMCB groups have joint lab meetings that provide an informal setting where to present work in progress and encourage collaborations between groups. Moreover, each post-doc presents annually to the Internal Talks, given to the whole LMCB. The Internal Talks are very good moments to measure the progress of your work and exercise your presentation skills for congress and other meetings. In addition, each post-doc can also chair an Internal Talk once a year, or sessions of the department retreat, that takes place every two years.
To develop staff professional skills, both MRC and UCL run a wide program of Career Development courses that are specifically targeted to younger staff and aim to improve research as well as transferable skills. I profited much by some of the courses and I think that they were very useful for my career planning.
In summary, I believe that moving to the LMCB was a crucial step in my career and I am still enjoying every working day here as it was the first.