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Letting Go of the Details

Blogger Candid Engineer says she never realized the day would come when she wouldn't understand the details of experiments being done in her name. As a new PI, Candid Engineer says it's "pretty weird" and "terrifying and exhilarating all at once" to have ceded control of the research to interns and technicians as she takes more time for "thinking, planning, writing." All she can do, she adds, is to train them as best as she can, teach them the importance of experimental decisions and lead them in troubleshooting and good record keeping. "All I can do is attempt to create mini-mes, to let them carry out my projects and to hope we can all learn together," Candid Engineer writes.

Blogger DrugMonkey says this is a lesson all junior PIs have to learn. When it comes to working at the bench, he says, keep this in mind: "That is not your job anymore." Leave the manual labor to the postdoc, grad student or lab tech, DrugMonkey adds. "You are the lab head and you have other duties which require your attention." The PI should be spending time getting good people, training them, looking at the data, trying to explain it, and looking for anomalies, DrugMonkey says; micromanaging experiments leads to "disaster."

Comrade PhysioProf agrees with DrugMonkey's assessment. "In the medium and long term, this is the only way to get and maintain funding," he says.

The Scan

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Test Warning

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Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.