Courtesy of Daniel E. Kolker

The generous funding of US academic labs has helped dramatically advance our understanding of diseases and their underlying biology. But is the structure of r the academic lab well-suited to optimize research? During the past 10 years work at academic and industrial labs, I have observed that the present model impedes both the progress of research and the development of young scientists.

Research labs produce and disseminate new scientific knowledge. Under the current model, a principal investigator (PI) sets the direction of the lab and oversees experiments. Theoretically, this person is a good communicator who gets everyone talking. The staff is usually a group of enthusiastic graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In an ideal world, the postdoc's success – establishing themselves as independent researchers – would coincide with that of the PIs, who would like to see new work published to advance research. But PIs...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?