Good science anywhere is good for science everywhere.
In the Ramirez Group, when it comes to what science can be at its very best, we are eternal optimists. To strive towards this ideal, we work hard to ensure that the lab environment is supportive in our daily endeavors, conducive to rigorous science, proactive about collaborations, and full of solidarity. We focus on the quality of our science first and foremost, rather than making our primary motivator a need to obtain high-profile papers, flashy news coverage, or getting fancy awards. It’s not that these outcomes have zero value— but if we avoid putting these individualistic achievements on a pedestal, we make a stressful and unnecessary winner-take-all system and turn it into a team endeavor. We are then free to fearlessly science— openly and enthusiastically!
The promise given to each lab member is that they will receive personalized mentorship in the service of performing thoughtful,
well-controlled neuroscience, while simultaneously facilitating their career-specific plans. We will work together as a team— for every inconclusive experiment, the team will provide ample support and work through, or around, the problem. When something goes wrong, we won’t forget why we fly— we’ll remind each other how to soar both personally and professionally. And for every triumph - for every positive piece of data we get - our team will encourage and celebrate one another having made an unknown known.
Good science anywhere is good for science everywhere. That is our motto. Our lab is as much a team as it is an extended family. My job is to coach this team and make sure all players gel well on and off the court in the service of pushing the scientific ball down the field, efficiently and effectively.
Let’s all be a bit less wrong, one data point at a time.
My lab aims to be an egalitarian playground for science— where there are no hierarchies, no arguments coming from a place of authority, no ad hominems. We’ll post our data on this site’s blog long before publication, publish them in preprints and open-access journals, and present at conferences, seminars, and other stages to maximize accessibility.
Our goal is to produce well-controlled, reproducible, and insightful data to the best of our abilities. A data point does not care about the gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or age of the person discovering it. A data point does not care about dogma. A data point transcends time and is a way for our voice to reverberate after we are gone. Yet, the story we form around data is provisional— science is about who’s the least wrong, and with every discovery we make, we’re all a bit less wrong.
We stand on each other’s shoulders, not on each other’s feet.
The etymology of the word “professor” is to declare publicly— not just to an ivory tower, or star-studded committee, or even to a high-impact journal. Science is an international dialogue which, at its best, got us to the moon, gave us smartphones, and cured smallpox; but at its worst, is full of cliques, inaccessible, and dampened by the constant fear of being scooped. Science at its best when it is fully transparent when the dialogue is active and engaged on all mediums, and when our community is an open fellowship with common interests and scientific goals.
You will never have to ask for permission to talk publicly about an experiment, to tweet about exciting pilot data, or to run up and down the hallways yelling the results of a project. You are encouraged to engage your peers openly, respectfully, and often. And when the experimental rabbit hole inevitably goes deeper and yields surprises, we will embrace the challenges and push forward. If there is “competition”, we will reach out and make genuine attempts to publish back-to-back papers, collaborate and complement each other’s data sets.
This way, we stand on each other’s shoulders, and not on each other’s feet. That’s our second motto because it’s a privilege to be a part of the scientific community and to discover for a job. Even if we’re met with a “No, thank you” — or if we are scooped — we will never not be open about our science because sometimes we have to become the change we want to see in the world. We believe that, together, this vision can be bulletproof because the brain is big enough for everyone. We can never, and will never, run out of exciting experiments to do.