The Smith lab is a close-knit, interdisciplinary team of undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and staff scientists. Graduate students are the heart of the laboratory, both leading their own projects, and assisting others with their projects. The lab differs from most in that we have three very experienced staff scientists in the group, who provide deep expertise, continuity, and guidance to the graduate students. Students fall into three categories: wet (cell biology, chemistry, biochemistry), dry (coding, informatics, statistics), and hybrid (both wet and dry work). Most of our work at present involves mass spectrometry, using primarily orbitrap mass analyzers. Students in the group become experts in mass spectrometry, proteomics, bioinformatics, cell biology and biochemistry, among other areas. Project definition is “bottom-up” rather than “top-down”, in that students drive their own project selection and research topics, in consultation with Professor Smith. Students generally only TA their first semester or two in the graduate program, and are supported by RAs or fellowships after that. The lab is an excellent environment for creative, highly motivated, and independent students. Our goal is to share our love of science, and the joy and trepidation of exploring the unknown and pioneering new fields..
Students graduate from our group as independent, capable, curious, and experienced scientists. They will have successfully taken on difficult and interesting projects and carried them to completion. They will have the confidence that comes from their achievements. They will be able to work both independently and as part of a team. They will have first-rate communication skills, both in writing and presentations. Our students find successful careers in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, and as faculty at both small teaching colleges and R1 research universities.
What are we looking for?
Our lab is currently a bit smaller than we would like, given the number and variety of projects we have underway. We are presently very well-funded, and have committed to carrying out many challenging projects: we need first-rate students to drive these projects and maintain and increase the considerable research momentum we are enjoying. We need students of all three types mentioned above: wet, dry, and hybrid. No previous experience in our area of research is needed – our students pick up whatever skills and knowledge they need quite quickly, whether that is in the area of genetics and biochemistry, or statistics and computer programming. Far more important than any particular skill set is curiosity, drive, enthusiasm, and a desire to learn and grow. For more, read On Expectations.
How to Join
If you are interested in learning more about the group, an email to Professor Smith (email@example.com) will generally lead to a meeting. You may also feel free to snoop around the group incognito if that is your preference – we don’t mind! Everyone is busy, but everyone also has time to talk to potential new recruits, so feel welcome. You are encouraged to peruse the group web page, and browse our many recent and past Publications to see the type of science we do. We have group meetings in Chemistry 4202 on most Fridays at 2:30, and you would be welcome to attend (a note to Professor Smith first would be good to avoid awkward moments however).