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Layden Lab's First Undergraduate

The summer before my freshmen year I was eager and ready to begin my life at Lehigh. I knew I wanted to pursue a major in the biological sciences. I emailed professors in the department asking if they had lab positions open for an incoming undergraduate. The most promising reply came from Dr. Layden. After a peculiar interview, I was accepted into the lab and thus began my time in research science.

As the first undergraduate member of the lab, Dr. Layden taught me directly. He emphasized the importance of careful attention when learning a skill for the first time. His mindset was that once mastered, it would become as simple as muscle memory each time thereafter. More importantly, he imparted the importance of asking questions and gave me the freedom to make mistakes. I tested his patience early on. As a lab that has multiple transgenic lines, it is important to use different tools for each. I did not pay as close attention as I should have and ended up using a wild type pipette for a specific transgenic line. A “no-no” in the lab. Dr. Layden did not get upset, but rather reminded me the importance of the proper technique. To prevent further confusion for me and others after, I proposed color coding each line for organizational ease, and Dr. Layden agreed. The skills and knowledge I gain from not only Dr. Layden, but now also Jamie the post doctorate member and Dylan the graduate student, has lead me to develop my scientific curiosity outside of the classroom.

The environment promoted within the lab allows members to feel at ease. While there is an expectation to work hard and produce results, it is done using collaboration and communication between all. This is my third year working with Dr. Layden and there are now ten members. We challenge each other to evolve our science and readily jump in to support one another. The lab has evolved into a fun, well respected, and welcoming group and because of everyone I enjoy my time up at Iacocca.



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