I spent this morning preparing to give “Journal Club,” which is a group meeting where the person who’s “on” chooses a journal article they found interesting and/or relevant to their work and presents it to the rest of the lab for discussion. So I thought I’d tell you about how I found a cool paper & got help with interpreting it from the first author on Twitter. But first, let’s talk about group meetings. 

note: video new, text adapted from past post – I also put links to past posts at bottom



Group meetings are a core feature of academic labs. The details and logistics vary from lab to lab, but how it works in mine is that once a week*, we all come together for mandatory meetings.⠀

*there are lots of schedule changes due to meetings, etc.⠀

note: In addition to group meetings, which is just for our lab, we have “In-House” meetings where several labs come together and people from different labs talk. And then we have “labwide” seminars where people from different labs give talks in a bigger venue to people from all over campus. ⠀

The group meetings start off with “lab biz” where anyone can bring up issues of concern (e.g. have other people been having problems with their sequencing data quality recently? has the gel stain finally come in? do the other-brand-of-tubes-that-we-had-to-order-due-to-backorders work?), requests (e.g. close out the browser windows on shared computers), heads-ups (e.g. new deli fridge is coming next week so we’ll need to temporarily move the stuff in the current one to the cold room)⠀

And then, after this pre-show is the headline event – which can either be a “Research” talk or a “Journal” talk – we have a rotating schedule of who’s turn it is to lead group meeting and it switches off between someone giving a research talk one week and someone else giving a journal club talk the next.⠀

On “research” weeks, the presenter is tasked with filling the rest of the lab in on what they’ve been up to. These lab meetings can be nerve-wracking, but they’re also super helpful because colleagues often have great suggestions and insight – and it helps you to practice talking about your project to people not quite as familiar with it (when you work on it every day you can get so engrossed in it that it’s easy to dive into discussing results and forget that other people don’t know how you’ve set up the experiment and stuff – also, I make a lot of mutant proteins to test, and I give them “construct numbers” like 16488 – the shorthand helps me greatly but sometimes I’ll start referring to proteins by numbers that only make sense to me – so I have to make sure I go through and “decode” all this numbering in the slides I show!) ⠀

My next research meeting will actually be a practice for my thesis defense, so I’m super stoked! But first up is this week’s journal club. 

Here’s a link to the paper I’m presenting: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.11.451855 

And huge appreciative shout-out to Shawn Costello for answering my questions!

More on HDX-MS: http://bit.ly/hdxmassspec

More on journal articles & preprints: http://bit.ly/openaccesspreprints

More on reading articles: http://bit.ly/phdingstuff

More on lab structure: http://bit.ly/labspeople

More on what a thesis is: http://bit.ly/phdpathway

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.