The Kopec Lab Mission
The Kopec lab aims to use basic science studying the intersection between experience and brain development, in particular neuro-immune development, during adolescence to advance our understanding and treatment of sex-specific neurological disorders.
We will achieve this by producing high quality research that is reproducible, creative, and thorough. This requires:
1) valuing literature reviews and discussing new research in journal clubs,
2) planning, planning again, and then planning a third time before performing experiments,
3) optimizing experiments to attain the most interpretable data possible,
4) leveraging our wonderful environment at Albany Medical Center by engaging with clinical expertise to ensure the questions we are asking and models we are developing are translationally relevant, and
5) a sincere and unwavering commitment to training and developing exceptional scientists.
We all screw up. It's inevitable. Failure is part and parcel of academia. What really matters is what happens next.
The Kopec lab values mentorship and supported development in both the personal and professional arenas. Each lab member will have the opportunity to regularly evaluate his/her scholarly and career goals, and how to negotiate those needs with personal needs. Dr. Kopec will be the first to admit she hasn't always done this right, but the culture she wants to instill is one in which (1) you screw up (again, as we all do), (2) we, as a team, work together to figure out what happened and how to move forward, (3) then you do so.
On a related note, academia will not be the last stop for everyone's career. The Kopec lab fully supports other ways of using your numerous skills, and Dr. Kopec is dedicated to helping you find what brings the absolute best out of your talents and makes you happy.
The Kopec lab believes communication is key for scientists. To develop communication skills, ample opportunities will be provided to practice writing and speaking aimed at different audiences. A talk given to a room full of scientists will look a lot different from a talk given to a room full of community members. A grant application will look a lot different from a manuscript for publication. A well-rounded communication toolkit is essential and the Kopec lab will help you build it.
Furthermore, interpersonal communication is key for team success and workplace satisfaction. Dr. Kopec will prioritize open communication and constructive discussions, and she expects other lab colleagues to do so as well.
Outreach and education
The Kopec lab is excited to integrate into and contribute to the Albany community! All outreach and educational endeavors will be fully encouraged, and ideally a team effort. We look forward to expanding this section as our lab grows in Albany. Previous examples of Dr. Kopec's outreach effort include volunteering for the BioBus, mentoring through the New York Academy of Sciences, and hosting the Science Olympiad winners for a lecture during 2017's Society for Neuroscience meeting.