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Setting up one's first lab can be a tortuous process requiring many decisions. Researchers must choose what kind of lab they want to run and the role they want to establish with technicians, students, and colleagues, among others. But guidelines on how to make those decisions and skills like managing a lab budget or hiring the right employees aren't taught to budding scientists. Many researchers say they learned what works best through trial and error.

KNOW THYSELF: "I think the most important thing is to recognize how you like to deal with people," says Duke’s Gillian Einstein.
A few professional organizations and individual scientists, recognizing the dearth of formal guidance for investigators just starting out, are beginning to sponsor special symposia and committees that address the management and people skills needed to run a first lab. Some observers...

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