I try my hardest to promote a friendly, supportive, and engaging research group at OIST. As a mentor, I consider it my job to guide students and researchers not just toward their career goals, but also in their intellectual development and personal growth. Below, I briefly outline my philosophy on these goals as it relates to my mentoring style and the lab culture.
Cultivating a supportive, respectful lab
Our unit is committed to ensuring a safe, friendly, and accepting environment for everybody. We welcome all who are interested in joining, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, physical ability, religion, age, or ethnicity. The lab and university are environments that must be free of any sort of harassment or discrimination. All members are expected to abide by the OIST policies on discrimination and harassment, which all members must read about here. We do not tolerate any verbal or physical harassment, discrimination, or other inappropriate or lewd behaviors. Your health and safety are more important than your research. This includes adhering to all wet and dry lab safety codes as well as maintaining your physical and mental health.
Choosing a career path
Ecology is increasingly being put to practice outside of the academy, and I am eager to support students and postdocs on both traditional academic as well as non-academic paths. Some of my previous students have entered fulfulling careers in consulting, government, agrotech, NGOs, and data science. I believe experience planning and conducting research in ecology provides innumerable practical skills that are valued by these (and other) industries. However, for those on the non-academic track, it is also important to have a plan for picking up the requisite skills that a traditional academic post does not provide, and I am happy to assist with this in any way I can.
For those on the academic track, technical skills are less important than establishing one's own niche (i.e., research program) within the field. To promote research independence, I expect group members to develop at least one project that is yours and yours alone, to which I can contribute as much or as little as you prefer. Related to this, all group members are encouraged to apply for at least one research grant or fellowship during their time at OIST. A running list of these funding opportunities is available on request.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a graduate student (and to a lesser extent a postdoc) is the freedom to think and read broadly across the different fields of biology. Once or twice a year, I will hold a semester-long reading group on important or trendy topics in ecology and evolution which will be open to all members of the OIST community. We will also meet as a lab group to discuss papers of interest, often inviting the authors of those articles to join us for the discussion.