The purpose of this contract is to establish policies and guidelines between P.I., Staff, and Students within the B.I.O.N.I.C. Lab (01/2021 to 05/2021) as follows:
1. LAB RULES AND EXPECTATIONS (Grad Student)
a. Each non-FTDH Student is required to put in 20 hr/wk of lab time or as outlined by the Lab P.I. and funding grants. Students who are FTDH (and non-FTDH during the summer) are required to put in 37.5 hr/wk of lab time or as outlined by the Lab P.I. and mandated by funded grants.
Each credit of class is expected to occupy 3 hours (1hr in class, 2 hrs out of class). Therefore, students are expected to take 6-7 credits of class per semester to maintain a balanced class:lab balance
Any additional time put in beyond the sponsor funding institution expectations of 20 hr/wk (37.5 hr/wk FTDH, Postdocs) (NIH/NSF/DARPA/etc), is bonus time invested in yourself, it is not for me or the funding agency. Non-FTDH graduate students are also expected to spend 20 hr/wk on coursework and learning.
For Undergraduates, on average 10 hr/wk should be planned to make significant contribution to a project (at a co-author level). Acknowledge that this might shift week to week based on course schedule and exams.
b. All Students are expected to be present for lab workshop, journal club, 1-on-1 meeting times, and any other scheduled lab events. Any anticipated absences or emergencies need to be communicated with the Lab P.I. This time is included in the 20 hrs/wk (37.5 hr/wk FTDH, postdoc)
c. In the event of vacation or absence from the lab while the University is open (i.e. not University holiday or recess), Students are required to notify the Lab P.I. as soon as possible or at least two weeks in advance of anticipated leave date. Students are expected to arrange/train individuals to continue chronic data collecting during their absence. In general, students are expected to “recharge” 10 summer, 10 winter, 5 fall, and 5 spring workdays, as well as appropriate amounts of sick days.
d. Students are expected to prioritize physical/mental health above all other priorities within the Lab. This generally includes, but is not limited to, adequate sleep (8 hr), nutrition (especially B-12: recommend 500 pg/ml), and regular cardiovascular exercise (AHA guidelines 150 min/wk moderate-intensity or 75 min/wk vigorous aerobic activity). Work hours (9am-5pm) may be used to promote physical/mental health as long as weekly commitments are met (deadlines/meetings), with the understanding that this may result in the student missing out on spontaneous opportunities that may come about in lab. This time is not included in the 20hr/wk or 40hr/wk of sponsor funded work.
e. First semester of first year students. New students are expected to invest approximately half of their lab time (~10 hr/wk) outside of the lab building a social network among peers (eg. classmates of the same year). Networking and building a social and mental health safety net is an important part of a professional career, especially for many of you who may be leaving “home” for the first time. It is important to be able to share struggles and achievements with your peers outside of lab.
f. Students within the Department of Bioengineering are required to maintain at least a “B” average in all courses in order to be considered passing within the program.
g. Students are expected to know and follow EH&S, OSHA, IACUC (DLAR) guidelines and have read relevant animal protocols.
h. English is the language of science. Therefore it is expected that while you're in the lab or a research environment representing the lab (seminars, conferences, etc). It is expected that all verbal communication be done in English.
i. Students presenting a poster/talk at internal/external conferences are expected to abide by submission deadlines set by the Lab P.I. The same abstract cannot be presented at a different external conference, but the same abstract could be allowed to be presented at an internal conference. Abstracts need to be approved by the PI 10 days in advance and sent to all co-authors 7 days in advance. Failure to do so may result in withdrawal from the conference.
2. FILE STORAGE
There are 4 main services used for the storage of files pertaining to lab organization, inventory, and research in the lab. The services are 1) Google Drive, 2) Box, 3) Dropbox, and 4) the Lab’s server. The lists below detail what types of files can be found at each of these file storage services.
i. Google Drive: Ordering, animal inventory, antibody inventory
ii. Box: Files pertaining to individual research projects (shared with people working on the project)
iii. Dropbox: (Files uploaded here are open to ALL individuals with access to the BIONICLabPaper folder): Grant information, manuscript drafts, project outlines (and drafts)
iv. Lab server (SSOE-BIOE online storage drive; requires PULSE to login from non-lab computers): All raw data, individual data backup
Guidelines for backing up the raw/analyzed data from temporary storage to backup hubs are detailed in the list below. Upon completion of a backup, a label with the date of when the backup occurred should be placed on the hub for reference. When data is added to one of the sources , a note will be made on the white board to specify that the source needs
i. Biweekly backups of raw data are made from sources (2-p computer, Ephys computer, MVX, Confocal) in which data was added during the time period to the respective folder on the server. Assignments are scheduled on the Google calendar.
ii. Monthly backups of raw data will be made from sources (2-p computer, Ephys computer, MVX, Confocal) in which data was added during the time period to the respective folder on two external physical drives specific to each source. Assignments are scheduled on the Google calendar.
iv. Two photon:
3. LAB COMMUNICATIONS
a. All administrative lab business, workshop/journal club items, important information/opportunities, and useful documents will be shared via the Lab listserv (email@example.com) and via Slack (bioniclab.slack.com) with an announcement message in the appropriate channel.
b. Ordering within the lab is organized via a Google sheet on the Lab Google Drive folder. It is each Student’s responsibility to follow the “second-to-last” rule when ordering items (i.e. place order when second-to-last box/package is opened). Animal orders must be placed by end-of-day on Tuesday of each week in order to be processed by DLAR for that week. Failure to do so will extend the length of time by a week before an animal order is processed. Any questions about orders should be directed to the Lab manager.
c. The mouse inventory is organized via a Google sheet on the Lab Google Drive folder. It is each Student’s responsibility to update the mouse inventory to accurately reflect the number of animals that have been purchased or are available for surgery. It is advised that each student keep an inventory of their own to reflect which cages they are responsible for in order to accurately reflect the total number of cages being used and for what project/purpose.
d. Students are responsible for reserving time for equipment or lab space on the Lab Google calendar. If a reservation needs to be canceled the Student must do so with at least a 48 hour advance notice or, in the case of emergency or sudden change in schedule, as soon as possible followed by notification of the Lab via e-mail correspondence.
e. A secondary form of lab communication designed for instant/real-time interaction (i.e. Slack) will be established to facilitate separate Lab functions (general lab business, ordering, workshop, journal club papers, accomplishments, miscellaneous, etc.) amongst lab members.
f. Each Student is responsible for updating the Lab whiteboard (virtual during Covid: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RoAvNeMF2O7AZF05LJ7KcNfu8qZ82h0qDmvkXT-LdUA/edit#gid=0 ) with tasks they expect to perform/focus on for the current week. Once a task is completed the Student will cross out that task and/or notify the other lab members. The whiteboard will be wiped every Friday at the end of the day (as defined by the person in charge of board wipe/archiving). Each individual will then be responsible for updating their tasks for the upcoming week by the end of Monday. Before the white board is wiped clean, a photo of the board will be uploaded to Slack in the whiteboard channel. Each month a person will be assigned the task of wiping the board weekly and uploading an image of the board onto Slack.
i. If 2(+) lab members are performing similar tasks, consider the option of working together to improve efficiency and productivity.
ii. If students are working together on a specific day, make notes on the Lab calendar/whiteboard, so that other Students are aware and can join in if they wish to do so.
iii. It is advised that Students keep a digital or written record of these accomplishments and the time to completion. This can help other students make accurate estimates for time commitments on certain projects/analyses.
g. When a lab member is notified of a seminar of interest, it is that lab member’s responsibility to add that seminar date and location to the “Research Seminars” Google calendar as soon as possible or within that day. Add the speaker, location, title, and abstract of the talk or other relevant information available within the description box of the event.
4. LAB WORKSHOP
a. Each week, a Facilitator will be chosen to lead the focus/discussion of the upcoming workshop. Facilitators will be chosen ahead of time and, in the event that no Facilitator has been assigned, the Student who has not been selected to lead workshop longest will be automatically chosen. The schedule of facilitation will be decided within the first month of each semester.
(If necessary, Facilitator will follow the order Steven, Kevin, Keying, Fan, Jazlyn repeat)
b. Students must submit any action items or desired discussion topics to the Facilitator by end of day (5 pm) on the day prior to Workshop. The Facilitator will send out agenda items to the Lab (via firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to Workshop by the morning of.
c. In the event that another Student wishes to facilitate workshop discussion they must notify current Facilitator ahead of time, in which case the current Facilitator will be assigned to lead the subsequent Workshop and the schedule will be adjusted accordingly.
d. Time at the beginning of Workshop will be allotted for a brief (2 min each via oral or PWT slides) roundtable presentation of each Student’s summary of the week’s work/accomplishments (required). Agenda: 1) Business Items, 2) Data Blitz 3) main topic
e. During Workshop, each Student (who is not the current Facilitator) will transcribe notes of the workshop discussion, which will then be compiled and stored on the Lab Google drive.
f. Time at end of Workshop (5-10 mins) will be allotted for wrap-up, workshop summary, and discussion of any administrative items for the following week.
5. LAB SPACE
a. Each Student is responsible for the cleanliness and preservation of lab equipment or lab space in which they are working in. After a procedure is completed, the Student must return the equipment or space back to its original state in which it was prior to use.
b. Each Student is responsible for backing-up recorded data to 3 different locations: 1) the Lab’s SSOE-BIOE online storage drive in individual Student folders, 2) at least two back-up hard drives for storage, 3) a personal hard drive. It is the Student’s responsibility to keep their data backed up for routinely clearance of space on imaging and recording computers.
i. A routine purge of solid-state drives will occur every 2 months, at which point an e-mail announcing a data purge will be sent via the Lab listserv warning Lab members to consolidate their stored data. Data will be cleared following confirmation from all members of the Lab.
ii. The temporary storage drive on the two-photon computer will be purged within a week of the drive reaching 75% capacity, or as needed. An email will be sent via the lab listserv to notify the Lab members that have data stored on the drive.
C. Each equipment or space will be assigned to a Student who will be responsible for routine maintenance if/when necessary.
i. The task of maintaining certain lab equipment will rotate between Students and will be assigned routinely (beginning of each semester). These tasks include but not limited to 1) item inventory and ordering items which are low in quantity, 2) cleaning recording cages, imaging space, cryostat, 3) calibrating two-photon laser, 4) cleaning two-photon filter and filling coolant, etc.
d. Each Student is responsible for making and updating protocols of important lab equipment operations, and the latest physical copy of protocols should be physically available somewhere near the designated lab equipment.
f. Make use of the 3D printer whenever possible.
6. Remote work/quarantine
a. In the event of a quarantine, some of the listed commitments may not be feasible. The following adjustments will be made in order to maintain productivity and ensure everyone is accountable.
b. All lab members are required to fill out the Pitt daily health check either before you enter the lab or as soon as you arrive.
c. Students are expected to keep the virtual white board (on the Google drive under Research Reopening folder) up to date each week as would be done with the physical white board.
d. Students are expected to be present on zoom during regular lab meeting times for both journal club and workshop (9:00-10:30am T, R).
e. Students are expected to send an email lining out weekly goals to the PI by Monday at noon. These goals and tasks should be broken down into 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 hour increments to help students organize their tasks. Including blocking off time for classes. (8 hr increment should only be for experiments, break other tasks into smaller manageable pieces).
f. Students are expected to send an update by 5pm on Friday detailing the progress made on the tasks outlined by the student on Monday. These can be sent by email (<10 MB), on dropbox (<100MB), or Box (>100 MB). The student should list crossed out tasks as well as tasks carried over to the next week or that are still in progress.
g. Students are expected to be present on zoom for a 1 hour meeting with the PI. Times are scheduled but in the case of time conflict, a 24 h notice should be made to info both parties.
h. Class schedules will be assumed to remain in place and students will be assumed to be unavailable during these times.
i. Available by email during work hours keeping in mind that students may still use daytime to promote positive mental health through exercise, meditation, siesta, etc. https://www.hr.pitt.edu/current-employees/work-life-balance/mental-health-wellness
j. Temporary increase in frequency of use for following communication tools:
Zoom: Use for meetings as well as discussing project questions and progress.
Also, a time may be set up for non work related “social” interaction.
Slack: General messages between members of the lab and not urgent messages. Make sure to check slack at least once a day.
Email:messages 8-6 will be read timely. after 6pm, it will be read in the morning.
Text Message: urgent tasks/messages. Messages sent between 8am and 6 pm are assumed to get a timely response, but messages sent outside this time may not get a response until the next day.
k. When using the analyzer or other key equipment, students are expected to be diligent about signing up for time on the Google calendar. Out of respect for other students, anyone who signs up for time is expected to stick to that time and notify others (eg via email) that are signed up if any change occurs.
l. Backups should be made by the individual collecting the data during restricted entry to the lab. Assigned backup schedule is suspended at this time.
Authorship guidelines: https://hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Sites/Ombuds/files/AUTHORSHIP%20GUIDELINES.pdf
Abstract (external): Need to be approved by the PI 10 days in advance.
Note: this is APPROVED BY, not submitted to the PI for the first time.
Abstracts need to be sent to all co-authors 7 days in advance.
Abstract (internal): Need to be approved by the PI 5 days in advance,
and sent to co-authors 3 days in advance.
Reimbursement: You can get reimbursed for the gov per diem rate for
hotels and meals (but not alcohol) up to the daily limit.
This may mean that you have to split a room in order to meet the daily
lodging limit. Receipts need to be turned in for all food items.
Reimbursement Travel: The dept will not reimburse upgrades (first class,
economy plus) or warranty/travel protection. Flights need to be
reasonable with respect to the going economical price 21 days prior to
travel, or you risk not being reimbursed for the full amount.
Societal Membership: is considered career development and cannot be
Registration and abstract submission fee will be reimbursed.
Poster needs to be approved by the PI 7 days in advance and circulated
to co-authors 5 days in advance. Poster print cost will not be
reimbursed, but BioE has a free print service for 42in x 42in posters.
Note: the poster needs to be submitted 24 hours in advance, and you need
to go to the FedEX on Forbes twice (once to approve the proof, and once
to pick up the poster). If you miss the window, you will have to print
at the conference out of pocket. Note that most places also charge a
premium for printing at the conference.
Oral Presentations need to be approved 7 days in advance, and slides
need to be sent to co-authors 5 days in advance.
If presentations need to be withdrawn (because deadlines were not met)
or are otherwise unable to present at the conference, nothing can be
By signing below, the P.I./Staff/Student agrees to the above policies and guidelines to be upheld and maintained during employment at the B.I.O.N.I.C. Lab.