How To Choose a Lab

"Come to Landry events! The Landry events are a great way to meet faculty and students! Aside from Landry events, make the most of your rotation. Get to know as many people within the lab and on your floor/in your department as you can. Really try and get a feel for the environment where you will be working for the next several years. On the research side, make sure you are excited about your potential project. Don’t join a lab strictly because of the previous publications, the PI's name, or the prospects of fame, join because you will love what you do and be excited to do it every day. The day-to-day up and downs are much easier to navigate when you are excited about the science and in an environment that is supportive."
"Think carefully about what your priorities are and what you are willing to compromise. It is rare to find a lab that checks off all of the boxes, so having a clear understanding of what you are looking for before or during the process is critical. Also, talk to as many people as you can about the lab and if they would do their PhD there. And finally, do not be afraid of taking more time to rotate through another lab or two. It is much better to take time during this stage to find the right lab than to be miserable later on or to try to switch after a few years."


"Make sure to find a mentor that matches your needs and a supportive lab environment."
"Look for a lab that places an emphasis on mentorship in addition to studying an area of research you find interesting."
"Pick a mentor who fits your mentoring style and whom you believe you can communicate well with. Avoid choosing based off of fame or popularity."
"Finding a PI that is not only a mentor, but a role model was the most important factor for me."
"Make sure you feel comfortable and supported in conversations with your PI."
"I would recommend choosing a lab with a PI that you could see yourself working well with over the next several years, with an area of research that you are excited to work on, and with an environment that closely matches your expectations."
"Take your time choosing, and make sure to find a lab that does work that excites you scientifically, and also supports graduate students well. Don't settle for a lab that only meets one of these two!"
"Make sure you meet with the PIs and discuss your interest with them and attend lab meetings before starting rotations to see if it is a good fit."


"The people in the lab are very important, because they are who you will depend on for strength and advice. The PhD is a very long, arduous, and stressful process - you need your lab to lift you up and motivate you to come in every day."
"Find a lab that has a solid track record with supporting graduate students and has a current group of students that are willing to help train and support younger less experienced students."
"Make sure you enjoy the community in your lab - they will boost you up when the science hits new lows." 
"The community of trainees and lab staff you will be working with on a daily basis is a critical resource as well as factor for your mental health. Choose environments with positive cultures, where you feel like you will be supported both scientifically and emotionally."
"Find a place where your talents can be put to best use, as that is the best way to grow your talents. Still, there will be a lot of places you can do great science and finding the right environment for you personally to learn and grow is of paramount importance."


"Choose a lab based on general interest in that research area, instead of joining for a specific project."
"Projects and research focus may change throughout your PhD."
"Choose a lab where you could see yourself switching projects and still being happy - it won't necessarily happen, but if it does boy you'll be happy you did it."