- Do you have space in your lab for me?
- What is a “teaching professor”?
- How can I get research experience?
- Are you a tough professor?
Do you have space in your lab for me?
I’m a teaching professor, which means I don’t run a lab of my own. But, if you’re interested in analyzing open access datasets or improving neuroscience education, do get in touch.
What is a “teaching professor”?
Various big research universities have “teaching professor” tenure tracks in addition to the more common research professor tracks. It’s a great job for people who are primarily interested in developing teaching methods as well as understanding how students learn. We are fully funded by the university for teaching, which takes up about two thirds of our time—the remainder is service and research.
Teaching professors in Biological Sciences at UC San Diego do a range of things:
- educational research, helping us understand how students learn and develop best practices for our classrooms (for examples, see Owens et al., 2017, Lo et al., 2020, or Zukswert et al., 2019)
- developing cutting-edge biology curricula
- directing various campus programs
(See Harlow et al., 2020 for more details, as well as this growing list of places with teaching professors).
How can I get research experience?
If you’re at UC San Diego, you should read through the list of faculty (if you’re at another university, look at the faculty list there!) Look at their lab websites, and see if anything particularly speaks to you. Write them an email that demonstrates you understand (at least a little bit!) what research they’re doing, and why you’d like to get involved. Don’t simply say “I need lab experience.” Many labs hire undergraduates after receiving emails from them:
You can also talk to faculty you’ve taken classes with, reach out to other trainees in the lab, stop by office hours, or try to meet faculty at department events. The main thing is: do your homework beforehand. Faculty will be impressed when you actually know a little bit about what they do.
Many labs at The Salk Institute also hire undergraduates. Go to the Salk Careers Page to see current positions. With 0-2 years of experience, you’d typically be eligible for Lab Tech I or Research Assistant I roles, but check individual listings for details.
UC San Diego also highlights many other ways to engage with biology research and career opportunities on this blog.
Are you a tough professor?
No one has ever actually asked me this directly, but I’m willing to bet it has crossed a few minds. You can look at the CAPE responses for my classes if you’re interested in knowing what the typical grades are — they’re fairly standard for biology classes at UCSD.
Neurobiology Lab (BIPN 145) is very likely to be quite different than other courses you’ve taken. It’s not a course about memorizing information. It’s a course about problem solving and communicating your thought process as a scientist. You might find different challenges in this course than in your other courses.
Neural Data Science (BIPN 162) is a course about learning coding skills to analyze open access datasets. If you don’t know how to code, that’s okay and expected! This course is designed for students who are beginning with no coding knowledge. [GitHub]
Will you write me a letter of recommendation?
If you’ve completed one of my courses, or if you’ve worked with me in another capacity (e.g., as an instructional assistant) please fill out this form to request a letter of recommendation.
Have additional questions? Leave a note 👇