Core Values

  • Integrity: We do what we say we will do and are committed to conducting ethical, reproducible research.
  • Respect: We acknowledge and respect each individual’s dignity, effort, and unique perspective.
  • Transparency: We practice open science and make our training and research materials public wherever possible.

Lab Life

One-on-one meetings: I meet weekly with each lab member to discuss ongoing work. These meetings are generally research-focused and an opportunity to get feedback and discuss new ideas. Every fourth week or so will be a “step back” meeting to check in on your larger scholarly and professional goals.

Lab meetings: Our weekly group meetings are an opportunity for team building as well as scholarly and professional development. Depending on the needs of the group, we may 1) collaboratively work on research problems, 2) present works-in-progress or formal talks for group feedback, or 3) discuss recent papers, current issues, methods, or topics lab members would like to learn about.

Working hours: Lab members can set their own in-person/remote and hourly schedule, I just ask that everyone be responsive electronically during 10am-4pm. I do not expect messages or responses outside of regular working hours.

Communication: We use Microsoft Teams and email for electronic lab communication. Lab members are also welcome to stop by my office to say hello or with a question whenever my door is open.

Social activities & celebrations: We occasionally have dinners, happy hours, or picnics just because or to celebrate milestones. These are optional and I welcome suggestions for new activities!

Community service & outreach: Giving back to our local communities is an important part of our work in public health. All lab members participate in community service or outreach activities, such as the College of Public Health’s Give Back Day where we volunteer with organizations making an impact here in North Philly.


Writing code: Lab members working on quantitative projects are welcome to code in the programming language that they are most comfortable with. I code in R and learned it on-the-job, so I’m very supportive of lab members taking the time to learn it. Here are some free resources for getting started:

As part of open and reproducible science, I expect lab members who are coding to learn and use GitHub (GitHub’s starting guide is great). We have a Wiens Lab GitHub page where we fork and keep track of all project-specific code.

Writing manuscripts: I love writing! But not everyone does. My number one piece of advice for lab members is to just get started. Your first draft will be rough and that is OK. With practice, you’ll get better (and faster) at it.

My second piece of advice is to start with a good outline. Whether you’re writing a full scientific manuscript, a manuscript section, or a short report, we’ll send your outline back and forth a few times before you start working on the full version.

Using generative AI: Artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT can be powerful resources when used ethically and transparently. They can strengthen one’s own work and save time, but should not be used to create original ideas or outsource one’s thinking.

Marissa Miller put together a detailed document on best practices in our lab and freely available AI tools that can support different aspects of research: Notes and Guidelines on Ethical AI Use

Presenting: Public speaking is daunting for many people (myself included), and so I encourage lab members to take time to practice and get feedback on presentations. Here are some resources: