Expectations of group members


Core expectations of respect

I expect you to provide a respectful environment for everyone here, irrespective of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, marital status, genetic information, genetic status or characteristics, military or veteran status, or on any basis protected by an applicable law (a “protected characteristic”).

Please contact me as soon as possible if any issues come up, irrespective of if they happen in the context of our lab or not. I promise to listen and respond. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable contacting me about a problem, or if I have done something wrong, please contact the head Comp Bio admin Melissa Alvendia and/or one of the reporting options described in the Fred Hutch Open Door Policy. Note that Fred Hutch has explicit policies protecting people reporting issues from retaliation.

We are humans, not science robots.

Rigor and reproducibility

We must uphold the highest principles of scientific rigor.

I expect

How the group works

My overall goals are

  1. for you to become an independent researcher, and to help you make your next career step be the best it can be
  2. for the group to do top-notch science, with strong research productivity
  3. to foster an environment that enables you to be happy and productive
  4. to protect you from BS and to give you as much freedom as possible.

What I will and will not do

I aim to be a resource for your growth and for your work.

Early on I will want to meet with you frequently to kick-start your projects. After that, we will discuss the best frequency for meetings.


Choosing your project

Project choice is the biggest determinant of success. A poorly scoped project takes much more time, especially in the peer review phase, than a well-scoped one.

Therefore we must ask

I encourage you to write the introduction to your proposed paper first, addressing these questions, before writing any code.

Expectations concerning work

If I am employing you full-time, I expect you to work the equivalent of standard full-time job. If you wish to work more, that is up to you. I also want you to have rich experiences in your life, so I encourage you to pack a bunch of work in and then take a block of time to go do something interesting. I don’t need to know the details of your vacation days, but if you want to take off a block of time, please let me know in advance.

I encourage internships when you pause your work in the group and try out another position, but when I am supporting you I expect that your position in the group is your sole source of employment. Similarly, I understand that you may have some things to finish off from your PhD or previous postdoc, but I expect that while you are in the group your focus will be on group-relevant projects. If you have questions about this expectation, let’s chat.

I wish for you to feel the joy of focused work. There are many distractions available at our computers, and I truly believe that you will be happier if you can keep those at bay. I have found the Pomodoro Technique, with 30 minute intervals interspersed by 5 minutes of something in the real world (away from phones and computers) to be very effective for enhancing flow. I encourage you to turn off Slack (and Twitter, etc) notifications, or at least modulate them: I’d rather allow you to focus and get a slow response rather than the other way around.

You will undoubtedly hit roadblocks or confusion on your project. I expect that you will think about how to get around them, and get in touch with me when you are having difficulty. If these roadblocks are external (e.g. waiting for data, or a computer problem) think long-term: could you be using your time to write or do something else to advance your projects?

Let’s make the group better

I love feedback of any kind, at any time. Please let me know how things are going, or email Melissa (see link above) if you don’t feel comfortable telling me directly. I will do periodic surveys to see how we can improve the group, and how I can improve as a PI, but don’t wait for the next survey if something is bugging you.

Our network


We are extremely lucky to have a talented and productive network of collaborators. Many of these collaborators are lab-based, setting up a symbiotic relationship: we depend on them for data and problems, while they depend on us for analyses.

I expect you to:

The broader scientific community

Our goal is to advance science. Science benefits if our interactions with other research groups are constructive and rigorous. Keep these goals in mind when communicating in any medium: papers, paper reviews, email, or social media.


An offer of co-authorship should be extended to everyone who made a meaningful contribution to a manuscript. This is necessarily vague, as every project is different, however we in general work to be generous with co-authorship. Certainly if you contribute analysis or code to a project you will be a co-author. If our lab-based collaborators help design and scope a project, they should be co-authors.

In projects with many authors, we will set up author order as soon as it’s clear what needs to be done. If this is not being done, please mention it.

In cases where there are several contributors of approximately equal contribution, we will prioritize people based on career advancement: how much does this paper mean to this person’s career?

Keeping track of progress towards your career goals

Please post a summary of your work in #general every two weeks. If there is something that you don’t feel comfortable posting in a public forum, please send me a direct message.

You are required to do a yearly individual development plan (IDP). Eli has posted a template here which you can customize to your liking.

I also suggest taking some time every quarter to do a “mini-IDP” by answering these questions:

  1. What are the big steps required to advance to the next stage of your career
  2. What will you do in the next 3 months to advance those steps


I expect that you will budget enough time before you leave to archive your working files and upload them to economy storage.


I cannot accept gifts from trainees, no matter how sweet they are. Your research effort is the greatest gift.

I invite any comments on this document. Please let me know your thoughts!