Work guidelines for members of the lab

Responsibilites of lab members

Titus’ responsibilities as PI:

  • find funding, or give fair notice when funding is going to lapse;
  • make himself available for meetings when necessary;
  • “fly cover” for administrative and paperwork issues;
  • provide scientific leadership;
  • provide career guidance and help lab members work towards their career goals;
  • resolve disputes within the lab;
  • write recommendation letters to support people in the lab as well as former lab members;

Graduate student responsibilities:

  • meet their graduate school reporting and exam requirements;
  • identify and develop research projects with the help of the PI;
  • apply effort to their research and work towards a PhD-worth body of work;
  • attend and present at lab meetings and journal clubs;
  • schedule committee meetings on a yearly basis;
  • submit weekly report;

Post-doc responsibilities:

  • identify and develop research projects with the help of the PI;
  • attend and present at lab meetings and journal clubs;
  • define their career goals and work towards them;
  • pursue projects and collaborations that further their own career goals;
  • provide scientific and technical leadership within the lab;
  • submit weekly report;

Technical staff:

  • focus about 80% of their effort on priorities defined by the PI;
  • attend lab meetings;
  • submit weekly report;
  • define their career goals and work towards them;

Weekly reports

Everyone is expected to file brief weekly reports on what they’ve been up to; this provides both Titus and the lab member with context and trajectory going forward, and means that in-person meetings can focus on specific issues rather than be more general reporting.

Filing weekly reports is part of being a lab member. Repeated failure to file weekly reports may be taken to imply that you no longer wish to be a member of the lab. Note also that it is not Titus’ job to remind you to submit weekly reports.

Weekly reports can and should be minimalist - basically, list

  • what you’ve been working on for the lab, including progress made and obstacles overcome;
  • deferred items and upcoming issues;
  • long term goals;
  • anything else you want Titus to know, including personal issues.

Most of the weekly report can be copy-pasted from the previous week; feel free to do so. If it takes you more than 10 minutes to do each week, you’re probably overdoing it.

Weekly reports should be filed weekly, and generally by the same time each week, as long as you let Titus know when that is (e.g. by Friday 5pm; or by Monday noon; or…)

If you are taking time off, then note that in advance and don’t submit weekly reports during that period.

If work-related travel is coming up, please submit a report BEFORE the travel and AFTER the travel.


  • Get permission from Titus before booking any travel over $200. Under $200, “lazy consensus” can be applied (see Lab philosophy). 3 working days notice, please.
  • Travel should be booked 15 days in advance in order to be reimbursable.
  • To book flights on lab money in advance, contact Jason Queen with your travel request and CC Titus on the e-mail.
  • To get reimbursed for trips, contact Jason Queen with your reimbursement request and CC Titus on the e-mail.


The lab money is to be used for support of our research goals; so, Titus will generally consider requests to buy research materials (computers, books, etc.) favorably. Please sketch out the need in a sentence, price things out roughly (or precisely :), and maybe identify alternatives (more and/or less expensive).

Under $5000,

  • Orders under $5000 can be done without a PO, by contacting Jason Queen. Please CC Titus.
  • Under $200, use “lazy consensus” (see Lab philosophy). 3 working days notice, please.
  • Jason will need the paperwork that comes with the order (the packing slip and/or invoice) - please sign it, date it, and convey it to Jason. (Consistent failure to do this will result in revocation of the ability to order anything yourself. We’re serious.)

Over $5000, Titus needs to be involved with POs…