bad rec«s and bad luck

Constanze Bonifer bonifer at
Wed Nov 27 12:13:39 EST 1996

Dear Paula,
this is an important subject you are addressing.It should be absolutely clear to 
everybody that it is VERY important to check out on the lab, before starting to
work there. A PhD without publications can be repaired, by a good reference letter, 
for instance, but after a postdoc this is disastrous. 
Look for the publication record of the lab (check medline). Look, whether the PI 
is invited to meetings. Talk to people in the lab about the athmosphere, whether 
regular lab meetings take place. if your project is based on somebodies previous 
work, check how good the data are. Are they published? Do you believe them?
Having bad luck with the prject and a non-publishing supervisor:well THAT problem 
is quite widespread in Germany. Many professors still get funding based on merit 
and connections and very often put their students on projects which are very wild 
and they do not bother, whether anything comes out of it. Here we have the case 
of a professor who has ben quite famous but has not written an original paper 
since 1989!!!He still has quite a big group, but many people are quite frustrated 
because it is obvious that he does not care whether they publish or not.
So beware of those! I would hesitate to emply a postdoc who hasn«t published a 
paper for a while, even if the rec letter is good. I means that this person did 
not check carefully enough. And one can always change projects.

Constanze Bonifer
Institut fuer BiologieIII
Universitaet Freiburg

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