Mu-ming Poo is head of the Division of Neurobiology, Department of
Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley, California,
USA. He is also director of the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, Shanghai, China.
To all lab members:
Over the past several months, it has become clear to me that if there is
no drastic change in the lab, Poo lab will soon cease to be a productive,
first-rate lab that you chose to join in the first place. Lab progress reports
over the past six months have clearly shown the lack of progress in most
projects. One year ago, when we first moved to Berkeley, I expressed clearly to
everyone my expectation from each one in the lab. The most important thing is
what I consider to be sufficient amount of time and effort in the lab work. I
mentioned that about 60 hr working time per week
Thus I am imposing strict rules in the lab from now on:
Every one works at least 50 hr a week in the lab (e.g., 8+ hr a day, six
days a week). This is by far lower than what I am doing every day and throughout
most of my career. You may be smarter or do not want to be as successful, but I
am not asking you to match my time in the lab.
By working, I mean real bench work. This does not include surfing on the
computer and sending and receiving e-mails for non-scientific matters unrelated
to your work (you can do this after work in the lab or at home), and excessive
chatting on nonscientific matters. No long lunch break except special occasions.
I suggest that everyone puts in at least 6 hr concentrated bench work and 2+ hr
reading and other research-related activity each day. Reading papers and books
should be done mostly after work. More time can be spent on reading, literature
search and writing during working hours when you are ready for writing a paper.
I must be informed in person by e-mail (even in my absence from the lab)
when you are absent from the lab for a whole day or more. Inform me early your
vacation plan. Taking more than 20 working days out of one year is the maximum
to me. In fact, none of you are reporting any vacation and sick leave on your
time sheet (against the university rule, although I have been signing the
sheets), but you know roughly how many days you were not here.
On the whole, I understand and accept the fact that you may not fulfill
the above requirements all the time, due to health reasons, occasional personal
business. But if you do not like to follow the rules because it is simply a
matter of choice of life style, I respect your choice but suggest you start
making plans immediately and leave the lab by the end of January 31. I will do
my best to help you to locate a lab to transfer or to find a job.