Training PhilosophyOur lab offers training opportunities in the fields of specialization that range from genetics/genomics to chromatin biochemistry.
Training opportunities in different fields of biological sciences are available:
- Genetics: trainees will benefit from enriched genetics experimental setting in the lab as well as Genetics education that is offered through JAX Education program. Trainees will be immersed in learning about the different facets in creating genetics mouse models to study the role of a global gene knock out or a tissue-specific deletion of a gene in an observed phenotype.
- Chromatin, Epigenomics, and Gene Expression: our lab is interested into the exciting area of gene regulation, and part of the training in the lab will be to train predocs and postdocs on the broad array of methodologies to study gene regulation, chromatin structure and dynamics, including both state-of-the-art and well-developed methods. Among the methods trainees will learn are chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), ChIP-seq, reporter assays of enhancer activity, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), as well as chromatin assembly techniques.
- Our lab has very rich multiomics dataset generated that is available to be explored to answer exciting and fundamental biological questions. Joining our lab will give you the opportunities to get both wet lab and dry lab experiences!
- Blood proteomics assay will be part of the research portfolio in the lab as well!
- Experimental design to study both rare and common diseases: The lab will provide opportunities to study monogenic rare disease such as Sickle Cell Anemia as well as common disease such as chronic kidney disease in addition to exploring biological mechanisms that change with aging. More importantly, we will provide training to student to learn how to leverage finding from rare disease to generate hypothesis to treat common disease and vice-versa!
- Working with clinical samples. Our work will involve the handling of patients’ samples and therefore interacting with physicians. This will be a great learning environment for MSTP students as well!
- Grant writing opportunities: in our lab, we will be expecting trainees to apply for internal fundings as well as external private or public funding mechanisms. The PI, Raf will be available to assist and work the trainees throughout the grant writing process.
Teaching and training philosophy
My previous roles as a teaching assistant, instructor, guest lecturer, and mentor have been overwhelmingly positive. This teaching role coupled with my undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral experiences in which I was a student have formed my teaching philosophy. In short, my philosophy is to foster an environment that promotes: (1) enthusiasm, (2) life-long learning, (3) connection to the real world, (4) organized study, (5) student and teacher accountability, and (6) confidence building. I have great enthusiasm for science, and I am engaged in teaching/training both traditional courses in the Genetics of rare diseases, anemia and mineral metabolism diseases. Knowing through experience the profound impact that one good teacher can have toward a student’s overall development, I will strive to incorporate my teaching beliefs, principles and interests, into day-to-day routines and my overall teaching/training plan.
I believe as a molecular and cellular biologist and a teacher/trainer, it is my responsibility to challenge and support my students/trainees, in pursuit of four learning goals: (1) keep in mind that scientific concepts or theories may change with the discoveries over time; (2) confront misconceptions about crucial biological ideas; (3) learn basic biological concepts; (4) cultivate an interest in science and an understanding of how we do science. Further, while the focus of my teaching will always be to educate the students, I also hope to continue my own education through my teaching experiences. I will strive to create an atmosphere of trust and honesty with my trainees and students, so trainees in the lab will be open to share with me how they feel my approach to explaining complex biological concepts could be improved.
Expectations from the Principal Investigator, Raf
As PI, I will be here for you and work together with you, so that you reach your full potential. You can expect from me to have an open-door policy and create an environment that stimulates your personal and professional growth. You can count on me to truly caring about your happiness, your project, and your future. As lab member, whether you are undergraduate, research assistant, graduate student, bioinformatician, or postdoc, your career development will be my top priority! You can expect from me to work with you to harmonize your career aspirations with the science you are pursuing in the lab and the faculty expectations I have to fulfill as PI. My door will always be open to listen to you and strategize together as team! You can expect me to help you to envision, implement and communicate/publish your stories, and cultivate your career development, whatever your goals may be. You can expect from me to seek for internal and external funding, so you can get the needed resources to test your hypothesis. You can be sure I will work hard to help you prepare for all your personal milestones, that includes going through job-interview talks with you, preparing you for your qualifying exams, or guiding you towards grad school dossier preparation and interviews. I will be your number #1 supporter to nominate you for local, national and international awards. I will always be looking for opportunities so you can travel for conferences and I will be ready to initiate the right collaboration to help test some of your hypothesis.
Expectations from lab members
I expect every lab member to reach out to me and communicate with me about their need to be happy and successful. If you are accepted to be part of our team, I know that you are an Achiever! However, as PI, I expect lab members to be open to learn new tools and techniques and take on new challenges. I expect my team member to have, to develop, and to improve their analytical and learning spirit coupled with a steady motivation. Regarding the lab work, I expect every lab member to have both individual and collective tasks. For prospective future lab members, I am certainly expecting you to be able to work individually as well as part of the team. Our group values the team spirit and working with colleagues on a daily basis should be anticipated.
I expect from lab members an overall positive mindset, a scientific integrity conduct, a smart-hard work approach to their experimental design and execution, a strong interest to physiological genomics sciences, as well as a meticulous approach to following established lab protocols as well as discussing potential update of the protocols with me. To every member of the Agoro Lab, I expect a strict following of lab safety regulations and the ethical standards and procedures for research.
As PI, I value the scientific background of my lab members. I also know that in my lab, you are here to learn new techniques and concepts and based on my previous experiences in science, I certainly expect failures, technical hurdles, and mistakes. I expect from lab member to learn from their mistakes if they occur, to troubleshoot technical problems, and bounce back from the failures and try again! I expect everyone to attend lab meetings and participate in the discussion to seek feedback from the whole team. In addition to group lab meetings, I expect lab members to reach out to me as soon as possible to discuss anything for a one-on-one meeting.