NYU Langone Medical Center

Feedback I

Some feedback for Dr Sun's lectures & workshop on "Scientific Methods: Survival Skills for Young Biomedical Investigators"
A workshop by Tung-Tien Sun
Professor of Cell Biology, Pharmacology and Urology
Rudolf L. Baer Professor of Dermatology
NYU School of Medicine

2000 April, University of California, Davis; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

I just wanted to say that I greatly enjoyed Dr. Sun's presentation today. It could be the most helpful presentation I have heard thus far in grad. school.

2001 April, MD Anderson Cancer Center (Back to Workshop List

Thank you again so much for coming to speak to our students. The talk was absolutely perfect. Today, I almost fell over when my student who attended your talk was telling me that perhaps he should take a "step back" to do some "controls" for his experiment! Usually, he just jumps head in first without looking. The effects of your visit are already being felt.

2001 April, Baylor Medical College; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

Announcement of Dr. Sun's lecture to all graduate students and postdocs:

"Henry (Tung-Tien) Sun, Professor at NYU Medical School, will talk about "Trust in Authorities, Scientific Attitude and Experimental Design" on TUESDAY, APRIL 17 at 10:00 am in the McMillian Auditorium. Roundtable discussion with students (and refreshments) to follow in room N601.

Henry Sun will address why some students cannot function well in the laboratory, in that they cannot get relatively simple lab techniques to work predictably and reproducibly. He will propose that the root of the problem is that many such students blindly trust authorities -that are in the form of experts' opinions, textbooks, protocols, commercial reagents, digital readouts of instruments, etc. If all these things are foolproof and absolutely reliable ("authorities"), then all the experiments should work well all the time. How much one can trust these "authorities" depends on the circumstances of the experiment. For a small experiment that takes only a few days to do, one can trust whatever reagents/protocols/etc, as the consequence of failure is not devastating. However, for long-term, expensive experiments like transgenic or knockout studies that take months to do, where "failure is not an option", the stake is too high to blindly trust ANYthing. This boils down to how much risk people are willing to take- this is therefore a matter of scientific "attitude", and to a great extent related to one's personality. Although one knows how difficult it is to change someone's personality or attitude, Sun will propose that it is possible to actually change people, not through individual or one-on-one teaching, but through the establishment of a "culture" in a laboratory environment. Other topics that will be covered include the definition of "scientific methods" that a graduate student must master to do well in research, the importance of controls and detailed planning, and how to efficiently titrate a large number of variables."

I just wanted to write to express my gratitude for the talk you gave today (Apr 17) at Baylor College of Medicine. Your talk gave me a framework to use when approaching experiments – many of the ideas and methods you talked about I had started to discover, but I didn't have a complete system to utilize all these ideas at once. I am excited to apply your ideas to my research and to share them with the other students in my lab.

2001 June, Johns Hopkins Medical School; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

It was an excellent talk, one of those "this is so useful, how come we don't talk more about this stuff" kinds of talks. It could have come right out of "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People" by Steven Covey. You were not just talking about research. You presented a philosophy for approaching challenges, an attitude that incorporates creativity and resilience, a framework in which ethical behavior and winning are mutually supportive. Although some of the specifics I found very useful for laboratory work, people from almost any field could have benefited and learned from your presentation. It was a wonderful summary of what we call "pearls" in the clinical realm, coming from a seasoned and caring researcher.

I listened to the graduate students reflecting as they shuffled out of the auditorium, and they seemed to have really connected with what you were saying. Keep up the good work, Henry, it was a treat to watch you in action!

2001 October, NYU School of Medicine, The First Full Workshop on "Scientific Methods: Survival Skills for Young Investigators in Biomedical Research" (Back to Workshop List)

Students' comments [Dr. Sun's responses]:

The course is an excellent idea. I am much more comfortable with the idea of doing research and confident that I will be successful. Thank you!!

While the Introductory lecture may not be "useful", I think its very interesting. I'm very interested to read Cajal's book. I think this lecture is very important. Many of the presenters I've heard and professors I've had can really benefit from the lecture on how to give talks.
[You must get a copy of Cajal's book, which is truly inspiring.]

I think one of the reasons this course is very effective is that there are a lot of stuff I already knew but didn't pay attention to or realize, and this course stimulated some of that dead knowledge and stressed the importance of always keeping that knowledge at the back of my mind and thinking process.
[That is exactly what we hoped to accomplish with this course. Great.]

The lecture on reading papers, in my opinion, was more useful for the more experienced readers in the group than for those of us that are just starting out. Maybe next time you could suggest a good science dictionary for the beginners :). In the lecture slides on How to Give an Oral Presentation there was a spelling mistake: temper not tamper-tamper is correctly spelled but it's not correctly used. Spell check doesn't catch that type of mistake.
[I know that you will find it a bit hard at the beginning to adopt the strategy of active, rather than passive, reading. But I hope you will give it a chance and try it. If you pause and think after you read the title, summary, and introduction, and if you try to guess what is the next figure, even if you don't always guess right you will certainly learn much more and come out with a much deeper understanding of the paper. And this doesn't mean it will take a longer time. It's a habit, and a powerful one. The earlier you adopt it in your graduate career, the better off you will be. Regarding spelling, thank you very much for pointing out the typo-I will correct it right away. You are actually making an important point here. You cannot just trust spell check; you must read your slides carefully, or to rehearse your talk with people like yourself.]

I think this is an excellent course to dispel rumors and fears of the laboratory environment for new graduate students like myself.

Great series. I think that more faculty and PI's should do the course, so they can teach the people who pass through their labs the useful techniques. So often, these things must be learned through trial and error, or you have use intuition.

Many of the topics might be better later in our career in graduate school.
[I know some of you may think that your immediate concern is about your course work. But you will soon learn that that is only a relatively small, and transit, part of your graduate education. Although you will not be writing paper or giving formal presentation soon, you are much better off to know what are coming. We hope this course, and its handout, will provide you with a roadmap so that when you encounter these needs in the future, some of the things that you have learned from this course will come back to you, and that you will know there is a great deal of help that is readily available. It is true, however, that many of the things that I talked about will strike a cord more readily with people who have been "burned" before, than with the beginners. If we offer this course annually, you may want to come to some of the lectures again in the future.]

Thank you very much, Dr. Sun, for your great talks!
[My pleasure.]

Not sure how will go over with graduate applicants. Will show Sackler tries to help with all levels, but perhaps they want a sample course lecture more. Second lecture dealing with experimental design in more detail would be nice.

[The question I posed: "Do you think a course like this will be useful for recruiting graduate student to Sackler", was not well worded. I didn't mean to give this whole course to our applicants. What I meant was "Would the fact that Sackler offers a course like this impress future applicants?" Sorry about the confusion. Like you pointed out, however, this course demonstrates clearly Sackler's strong desire and commitment to train our graduate students.]

Some faculty members need help in doing presentations. Since as a graduate student, experimental design is the most important concept to learn, I think we should discuss the subject more. Maybe it would be a good idea to explain how to thoroughly research the experimental design, how to get those original papers that discuss the experiments, and who to talk to when people in your lab can't help. Also, how to trouble shoot more when experiments don't work would be helpful. Overall, the course was very helpful.
[I am glad that you recognize the critical importance of experimental design, which can be a major bottleneck for many beginners.]

A lot of graduate students have thought about the key ideas in some of the lectures, but may not follow them in real life. A course such as this reinforces their own ideas and encourages them to focus on self-improvement. A very rewarding course.

This course is good.

I really enjoyed it!
[I am glad.]

"Handout" should correlate directly with lectures...outlines of lecture, in separate chapter.
[This handout covers many broad areas, some of which I did not have time to cover in my lectures. Conversely, many of the important and practical things I talked about, such as the N+(N-1) rule for experimental design, active vs. passive reading, note-taking, figure- and slide-making, are not covered by the handout. So my handout is meant to be a supplement for the lectures. I do hope, however, that you will find many of the articles in the handout interesting and useful. I also hope you will take advantage of the list of recommended books at the end of each chapter. Many of these are outstanding books that I am sure you will enjoy.]

The oral presentation lecture was absolutely perfect.
[Glad that you liked it.]

2002 November, University of Queensland, Australia; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

I thought Dr Sun's talk and the discussion were excellent and would be very keen to hear the rest of the lecture series. The talk should be made compulsory for all post-grads and honours students. It has changed my approach to experimentation, especially with respect to planning and risk assessment. I am already implementing the flow chart and titration ideas. The question of trust has helped me immensely, especially by pointing out that the companies and suppliers are not infallible.

I found the seminar and the discussion afterwards very interesting. Henry was certainly a very enthusiastic speaker. It was good to hear from someone who is obviously interested in, and enthusiastic about, teaching at a post-grad level, and thinking about systematic ways to improve the postgrad experience.

I think a lot of the content covered seemed to be "common sense" - but the kinds of things that we don't vocalise or put into words to think about very much, so it was a useful experience to think about the concepts that Henry was introducing in an organised manner. They are the kinds of things that we tend to learn ourselves in a slow and painful process, so the seminar was very helpful in presenting those concepts - they either concrete half-formed ideas I already had, or introduce new perspectives or ways of thinking about the way we approach our science.

PhD student

2003 April, Joint Annual Meeting of the British Societies of Cell Biology and Developmental Biology, Warwick, England; Borden lecture: "How much should you trust your PhD advisor?"
(Back to Workshop List)

Meeting review by Conrad Nieduszynski, Development 130, 3903-3906

This year's Borden lecture was given by Henry Sun, who is Rudolf L. Baer Professor of Dermatology and Professor of Pharmacology and Urology at New York University Medical Center.

In a highly entertaining talk, Henry Sun threw a lifeline for PhD students. He gave advice on how to handle trust in authority, risk assessment and experimental design whilst also supporting a more direct approach towards the coaching of PhD students. All the examples he gave were illustrated with nice simple stories.

He defined authority as a source of expert information and advice – anything from your advisor through to kit protocols. He explained that too much trust in authority is bad for a research career, since it can lead to a lack of understanding of the basis for the experiment – 'intellectual laziness'. The opposite case, extreme scepticism, is equally undesirable. It is not advisable to allow scepticism to lead to mistrust of reagents or techniques which are well established in the lab. There is no need to continually reinvent the wheel.

He went on to discuss how risk assessment should be the basis of experimental design. The more time-consuming your experiment or the more precious the reagents involved, the more diligently you should plan the work. For these expensive experiments, failure should not be an option! Detailed experimental design and good notebooks are necessary for success in research.

Furthermore, he stressed that it is very difficult to teach inexperienced students how to make the most of their PhD time; this is all the more complicated considering different personalities and cultural backgrounds. He emphasised the importance of coaching PhD students, which could make all the difference between frustration and fun in the lab.

British Society of Cell Biology Newsletter, Summer 2003

More philosophical, but no less weighty issues, were discussed by the invited plenary speaker, Henry Sun (NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA), who gave a lecture entitled 'How much can you trust your PhD supervisor'. As the talk wound to its inevitable conclusion that little trust could, or perhaps more correctly should, be invested in supervisors by students, group leaders were seen to hang their heads, and younger members of the audience were heard to mutter phrases, such as 'I told you so'. Luckily Professor Sun was proscriptive in providing us with an alternative approach to the management of student-supervisor relationships that left us all with much food for thought.

2003 January, Johns Hopkins University Physics Department; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

A while ago you gave the colloquium at the physics department in Johns Hopkins, about risk assesment of research projects. I enjoyed your talk a lot, and I would like to know if you have published some version of it somewhere. I'm a new post-doc at Hopkins (I got my Ph.D. last year) and I'm about to start a somewhat ambitious project on a topic I'm not very familiar with. I would like to examine my plans in light of your ideas.

2004 July, Sun, T.T., Nature Review Molecular and Cell Biology (Excessive trust in authorities and its influence on experimental design, 5, 577-581) (Back to Workshop List)

I absolutely loved your article. I read the entire work before even retrieving the pdf from the printer, which I almost never do with any publication. Furthermore, I was moved to write you, an even more uncommon occurrence. I think my science, my notebook, and even my enjoyment of this process will benefit from having read this. Thank you for sharing your valuable thoughts on this matter!

I have just read your article published online in nature reviews. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE that I have ever read. I "live" according to these rules from the first day in my scientific career. There is no way (I or anyone else) could have written it better. It is a must for every student entering the lab and I thank you for writing it so scientist like myself who are setting up a new lab can give it to their students before they put the lab coats for the first time.

Every starting graduate student should read this paper. I am sending it to my students, starting or otherwise.

2004 September 11, NYU School of Medicine; Workshop (for the first time open to all New York City universities including Albert Einstein, Columbia, Cornell, Mt. Sinai, Rockefeller) (Back to Workshop List)


Graduate student (first year). Excellent (and very timely) lecture series! Thank you very much, Dr. Sun!

Fellow (Mol Medicine and Parasitol) Excellent! I am an infectious disease fellow and am doing basic science research this year. I found the course extremely interesting and motivating.

Graduate student (first year). These are topics that everyone in research should be familiar with yet many students will be fumbling in the dark because they are not aware that such instructive advice exists. Observational comedy for scientists was appreciated.

Graduate student (first year). Well presented and very high energy.

Postdoc. Good course for an individual to develop into a good and successful scientist.

Graduate student (first year). Excellent seminars. It will be useful for us, if in your next presentation you can provide us with a copy of the references of the books that you recommended. So we don't need to write it in a hurry on the first piece of paper that comes to your hands.

Graduate student (first year). Good talks with excellent tips!

This course needs to be made available to all people involved in research. It would be more helpful if grant writing is also covered in length.

Graduate student (first year). (in responding to the question of whether we should open this course to our neighboring institutions) Yes, because this is a good way to show how good we are!

Graduate student (first year). Thanks for making this course so alive. Please make coffee available earlier.

Graduate student (first year). Even there was some thing that I was aware of it helped me to see the process of doing research as a whole and pay attention to the most important points.

Graduate student (first year). Saturday class puts you in a disagreeable mindset from the get-go, despite the fact that this is an excellent and useful course. I think during the weekday (even in the evening) would be better time slots. Note-taking and paper writing are good tips. (Followup) Your presentation yesterday had so many great tips, and in my desire to pay attention, I failed to write much down! I was wondering if it would be possible if you could forward me the presentations on paper reading and paper writing? That way I can print them out and have them as a reference! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed the series yesterday.

Graduate student (first year). May be include a short handout for each of the lectures available after it is over to refresh our memories later on.

Graduate student (first year). I think the pace of the scientific writing was a little quick for a first year student who hasn't begun to think about publishing in journals.

Postdoc. I have learned a lot from this course.

Postdoc, It is very useful for graduate students, same for postdocs.

Postdoc. Lively presentations. Enjoyed. This is an excellent course for new students and postdocs as well as very informative for the postdocs who guide graduate students and rotational students. I would appreciate it if there are similar courses for grant writing for young scientists. It is important to give classes on using computer software for data analysis. May be students can also take library classes. Thank you.

Postdoc. It was an excellent workshop and I am sure this has inspired and motivated all of us. Such workshops should be conducted regularly and participation of postdocs should also be encouraged. Thank you so much!

Postdoc. I learned a lot from this workshop. Thanks. I like the first part very much. I really want to review it.

Postdoc. I would suggest you should do topics 1 and 2 for the first year PhD students and topics  3 and 4 for the third or fourth year students. One reason is that in your first year your start reading papers and by the time you have to write your own paper you (unfortunately) will have forgotten most of the seminar. Another reason is that all topics on one day are too much information to really absorb everything. All-in-all a great seminar! Very helpful and informative!

Graduate student (first year). The lunch break should be shorter to speed up the day up a bit.

Graduate student (second year). Excellent lectures. Now I have a refreshing way to plan experiments. Thought experiment is new to me. Encouraging.

Graduate student (first year). Very engaging and informative.

Graduate student (third year). The best course I have ever attended.

Faculty. (In responding the question of whether you think this course is useful for students, postdoc, faculty, etc) Even true for junior faculty. It would be great if this course is offered twice a year. [Followup] I knew you are a great investigator, now I know you are a fantastic educator too. You Nature Review paper is great but your lecture is 10 times better! I think it is very useful for not only graduate students and postdocs, but also for junior faculty like me. I decided to make it mandatory training for my postdocs next year. Many thanks for giving the talk.

Postdoc. Great course – a must for graduate students and postdocs.

Graduate student (first year). Maybe the 4 talks should be separated to allow further expansion of ideas in each one.

Graduate student (second year). It is useful and I had a great time. If it is possible I would like to have the handout for today's lectures.

Graduate student (first year). The first lecture (on trust in authorities) should be attended by faculty members.


Graduate student (second year). I appreciate that the course was open to neighboring institutions thus allowing more graduate students to review and revisit ideas and approaches to research. This course should become required for all graduate students just starting their careers and for all advanced students who feel that they are 'stuck' in a research hole. The first half of the course was also important in that it gives beginning students the confidence to question protocols, etc.

Graduate student (third year of MD/PhD). Very good!

Graduate student (first year). The lunch break should be shorter.

Graduate student (first year). If possible maybe it will be a good idea to give the audience a handout, which will give us more time to pay attention to the speech instead of taking notes. Thanks.

Postdoc. Excellent and very useful for not only first year PhD students, but also for senior PhD students and postdocs, as well as for PhD advisors.


Graduate student (first year). Write a book—you could make millions! (or at least a couple thousands). Visit undergraduates as well…this type of talk would have been quite useful to me as an undergraduate.

Einstein College of Medicine

Graduate student (second year). Having a handout of methods presented so that we can pay attention to the presentations rather than frantically writing notes. This could have been very useful for the literature analysis section.

Graduate student (first year). Very engaging speaker, great organization, great topics. Wouldn't change a thing. Keep inviting students from other institutions. Thank you for the opportunity!

Graduate student (first year). This is a great course!

Graduate student (first year). It will be better if there are some handouts for scientific writing.

Graduate student (sixth year). -Need more information on oral presentations
how to approach them
amount of detail to include
-Speaker is very clear and motivating
-Excellent examples
-Very helpful literature references for obtaining additional information
-Also have him invited to other institutions so that PI's can be aware

No negative comments to make! An excellent day!

Graduate student (first year). I am so proud of you because I come from Taiwan, too. Keep on giving these talks, because they really help a lot of students and researchers. Make the research world work better! Thank you!

Graduate student (third year). It is a great course. It is very useful for second and third year graduate students after certain time of bench work. For the note-taking part and paper-filing parts, more suggestions may be needed. Welcome to our college in the future for more lectures.

Graduate student (third year). I would like to try my best to do research in the way you described. I am wondering if I can keep in contact with Dr. Sun to communicate and get more suggestions during this process.

Graduate student (first year). More handouts for the scientific writing section which involves references. Thank you very much. It was very useful.

Graduate student (fifth year). Although I think this course is useful for everyone, the first half is probably more geared toward first year students. The second half is definitely better for upper year graduate students. On the whole, I am glad I attended but it could be done at a faster pace. Lunch is way too long. I really wish my supervisor realized that this was something that should be taught rather than expecting I would learn it on my own. Even worse I was made to feel like if it didn't come automatically then I was not a good scientist. Now, several years later, I realized there was nothing inadequate at all about my learning curve. This should be a mandatory course for all supervisor/'mentors' and if they don't, they shouldn't be allowed to have graduate students.

Graduate student (first year). Very helpful! I wish I had taken this course before I ever stepped into the lab (re: morning sessions).
- I like the emphasis on brevity, clarity, and organization.
-The day does not have to go on so long; shorter lunch break and conclude 3 or 330pm. The coffee breaks are good, though. Each of the sections thus far (the first 3) have been good and seem about the right length individually, but it would be better to shorten ~1 section so that whole course goes faster.
-The final section on oral presentation was fabulous: entertaining, dynamic (I guess I am not the only one who (usually) lost focus/got bored after lunch-what a nice change of pace! Very good! Useful suggestions for making good slides and organizing talks by several strategies (I like options)!

Graduate student (first year). Very good organized course. Recommended!

Graduate student (first year). During my undergraduate edeucation at McGill I received conflicting and sometimes confusing information/instructions on how to write a scientific paper. It got to the point where I would customizing my scientific writing style depending on who was reading the paper. I think this lecture series should be videotaped and offered to all universities as a method of instilling a 'standard' in scientific writing and thinking at the respective institutions. All the best in the future, Josh.

Mt Sinai

Graduate student (sixth year). Great lectures. I wish I had attended these lectures when I just entered into graduate school.

Postdoc. -Dr. Sun is a captivating speaker
-Passionate and transmitting that to us kids
-Gives great tips on which to plan your career
-Very comfortable
-Does not sugarcoat and let you know that it is a tough world out there
-Should shorten the lunch time.

Graduate student (first year).
I loved his flowchart for problem solution!

Graduate student (fifth year). -I think this course should be mandatory for all students, years 2-3 of their PhD
-Make a website with this information
-Give a handout with the best reference books in case somebody wants to go more thoroughly.

Postdoc. It's very useful. Thanks.


More handouts would be appreciated. The oral presentation part was very useful. Give us more!

Graduate student (first year). You are right. We graduate students don't get this kind of guidance from anywhere else. Very much appreciated!

Graduate student (4th year). I like this course!

Graduate student (first year). Even though I think some of the things I heard during the lectures are 'trivial' (and I had to learn them from my own errors), sometimes they are so trivial that I don't think about them. Having somebody who told me 'obvious' things is useful to have them in mind. Thanks.

Graduate student (first year). A novel course. It was nice to have someone 'formally' tell us about stuff that we have been thinking about but didn't know for sure. Thanks!

Graduate student (first year). Thanks for offering this course!

SUNY Downstate

Graduate student (third year). Very useful information, especially for someone starting in a lab. I have not read the Kathy Barker book yet but I think Dr. Sun should make his material available nationwide if it is not already. Handing out bibliography of texts used in the talk. Food was nice and invitation citywide was considerate. Thank You.

Graduate student (first year). Thank you!

Graduate student (first year). The clinical slides at the beginning were very interesting. The slide on the eye and the transitional zone caught my attention right away. The lecture on reading papers needs an attention grabber. The slides were very well done. each slide had an appropriate amount of information-not too much, not too little.
The oral presentation section was most helpful. More on this subject. More on PowerPoint software for scientific presentations.

Graduate student (second year). A course that needs to be extended to two days if needed.

Graduate student (first year). It's a great course.

UMDNJ-New Jersey

Graduate student (second year). Absolutely brilliant! Dr. Sun should publish a book containing his material and a great collection of quotes of others. It will be a best seller! Thank you very much!

Graduate student (first year). Thank you very much for the valuable information of experience you shared with us. This course will help me a lot as an apprentice graduate student since it has encouraged me.

It is a very useful course. Lecture handouts will be helpful.

Postdoc. Grateful and thankful to management who arranged this event. [please notify me to attend additional seminars or training courses.]


Graduate student (first year). Name tags with name of institution would facilitate networking during breaks, sharing ideas, etc, to compare how things are done at different institutions.

Course may be useful for 3rd/4th year undergraduates interested in graduate school, thus better prepared for straight transition from undergraduate to graduate, or modify course (1/2 semester?) to be absorbed at a slower rate. Teach students to criticize and be skeptical even before graduate school to help ease the transition in their way of thinking.
Very very useful lectures!!!  : )

2007 February 5, Johns Hopkins Medical School; Workshop
(Back to Workshop List)

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health graduate students and postdocs:

I wish I had seen this presentation earlier. Some points I knew from experience and I appreciated the reinforcement. Many things were new and will help make writing papers and doing experiments a little easier. This workshop improved my scientific attitude, and I strongly recommend it to anyone in research.

Please provide a little more spacing on handouts for notes

This was an eye-opening course! I think that a lot of these concepts are applicable in many different areas besides research- Thank you very much for teaching us such important principals!

Extremely important course in all university schools, not only SOM and SPH.

Great introduction to important concepts that should be recognized and thought about in more detail than I personally have. I am inspired to try the techniques mentioned and will work to incorporate the material presented into my daily life as a scientist. One comment I have is that for the first two parts, the handout has great notes. However, for the last 2 sections, many of the important points were not in the handout (though, I realize they may be combined in the references given). Thank you for the wonderful talk. I wish each section was able to be talked about longer.

Very Impressive

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Graduate Students:

If I had had this course, or even a better, a slightly expanded version of this course, as a requisite piece of coursework earlier in my graduate career, I believe I could have worked more effectively and enjoyed myself along the way to a greater extent. I actually can't understand why a course like this is not offered, much less required at Biomedical Research Institutions in general and especially at Johns Hopkins (as an International leader and innovator in the field of medical research). That said, this mini-course was very refreshing and effective. And let me also mention that I did not begin my graduate career at Hopkins- and the gradual changes that need to be made in this field (research education) seem to be happening a lot more rapidly here as a result of honest scholarship, intellectual openness and conscientious effort.

It's good that a lab thinks the same way, but sometimes someone can come with a fresh idea, even a student. On choosing a project: so what? Sometimes projects on absurd topics are rewarded more than those applicable. They get better publications by being novel, but never cited again or translated into a generalized idea. As a student, sometimes we are tempted to go with the "Cell" paper than with the translational, how do we balance?

This program was outstanding. My compliments to the speaker. I would have preferred there to have professors present at this event; it might be beneficial for them to participate in a workshop that represents the state of graduate student motivation. Please do the honor of returning.

Dr. Sun pointed out a lot of important aspects in research and literature reading that I neglected before. Now, I've known some of them through his humorous way of teaching. Though I think for a one-day workshop, the dose of each mini lecture is about right. I really hope we could have a longer course on these topics in Hopkins that can cover more details and benefits us more.

Please provide tips to negotiate with others if you want to do the experiment a different way. Also, tips on how to recover if presentation starts going bad.

Include section on how to communicate effectively with advisor and for advisor to effectively communicate with students. How can a student progress through the graduate program to become independent (rely less and less on advisor as progress through program) strategies to use so I can start to run my own project, design my own experiments, write own papers, etc.

Thank you for your time and for sharing this information with us

I would expect this kind of seminar to be held next time and more often. I really appreciate your seminar and benefit from it. Thank you very much!

Would be helpful to include info on experimental design troubleshooting

Great lecturer! Would be great (at least first ½) for undergrad starting researcher! Second ½ very appropriate for higher level.

I think it would be useful to take this workshop as a starting student. Particularly, I think it is important to understand the value of troubleshooting titrations and not trusting everything you hear and read. Maybe it can be suggested as a curriculum class otherwise maybe PI's can take the workshop to emphasize the "lab culture" in their own labs.

Entertaining, room is too hot/stuffy dry air

Have better handouts. Give us your powerpoints!

I would definitely recommend this workshop to others. I wish it were given more often than "one in a generation" so that those who couldn't make today's workshop would have another opportunity.

The part on picking a research topic was too short to be really useful.

I liked the handouts and how they complimented the talk. I alos liked how Dr. Sun gave several books to read more about the topics discussed.

Speaker is excellent. Can we have a PDF copy of the presentation.

I feel very lucky to have these pieces of advice/insight early in my PhD research. I think we should have talks from Dr. Sun in future years, and all grad school program students should be more encouraged to attend, preferably earlier in the school year.

Great talk! Very informative and very well presented. I look forward to implicating many of these techniques. I feel I got a lot out of this meeting

For "Experimental Design" part, I wonder if we could get some discussion on strategies to carry out experiments that have never been done before and therefore no protocols to follow. What will be the best way to tell whether the failure of one experiment is because of technique mistakes or because the underlying biological hypothesis is wrong.

I think we should get a more in-depth outline of "Anatomy of a paper". It's a lot of information given very quickly.

Please give us more info about how to choose a thesis topic. How do you know if it is a potential one?

It would be nice to add a part like "How to communicate with your PI"

The workshop was very well done. I think all students engaging in research should take this course as early as possible before bad habits begin. Dr. Sun is a very engaging lecturer and should be invited each year to lead this workshop.

A better outline on paper writing/figures and oral presentations (especially points about each section) would be very helpful- I took a lot of notes on the minimal outlines provided.

I was interested to hear more about how to choose a research project. We did not go into much detail today. I would also appreciate suggestions on where I can go to find the significance of all of the steps of a protocol, particularly kits.

Overall, this was amazing Dr. Sun has been more helpful in one day than my advisor has been in 6 months about how to read papers and how to design a good experiment.

Additional helpful topics: communicating with mentor/labmates

This would be a good course (BCMB Core) to force students to take the time to do this.

If possible could you post your powerpoint presentation on the JHMI website? It was very helpful! Thanks

This was a great workshop

Very enjoyable to listen to

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine postdocs:

This is the best systematic skills presented by one professor. Of course, the initiation and development of this kind of workshop should be credited to Professor Sun. I don't mean to cut short your "second profession", but to increase the impact of your workshop, I would like to suggest that you only accept invitation if the sponsor agrees to get their SOM faculty trained along with students/postdocs (training the trainers). When I start my lab in the future, I plan to teach my future students the "survival skills".

This course should be a mandatory course for all 2nd or 3rd year graduate students and faculty members.

Thank you so much for this excellent and very practical workshop for young investigators. Also, nice lunch! Thanks a lot.

I think the section of "scientific writing" should be extended. Do you have a book about this? Do you have a DVD about this lecture? If so, I will order some and share them with my friends, colleagues. It will be very useful for those who are still in the dark and looking for this systematic instruction. Thank You!

I really appreciate this big insight into research

It would be great to present this seminar to clinical researchers with some modifications geared towards MD's and clinical investigators especially to those without PhD's or research background.

How about including sessions on:
Active listening- after all learning is a two way process. Preparing yourself to listen is as important as presenting.
Research ethics- Is it right for graduate students to employ or expect technicians to help them?

I think this course is very useful and should be mandatory for the 2nd year students, when they already are familiar with the lab work. I personally meet lots of students who are very smart and energetic, but absolutely helpless in the lab environment, which is really sad, but I hade a chance to help only a small group of students, whereas such a wonderful and very thoughtful lecture can change the scientific life of many

Excellent presentation and helpful hints for beginning postdoc, even though I am not involved in basic science research! Especially valuable presentation on paper writing, also on organizing literature and synthesizing info. Great practical examples. Great use of humor. Looking forward to the book.

There is a problem with faculty letting their students/postdocs read papers during normal business hours. They always want you to do the reading in your "free time", but would like you to work in the lab almost 24 hours a day!

I appreciate your effort and time on these topics in addition to your own research.

Johns Hopkins SOM Staff:

Literature section
Other sources of literature: scopus (excellent citation for tracing)
Other sources for lit management: Refworks
Current awareness: My NCBI, scopus, Biomail
Perhaps you could promote speaking to a librarian for lit help? You might get some tips for this section's content too. This was really fabulous. If I'd been exposed to such a workshop earlier in my career, who knows, I may still have continued with bencj research.

NIH/NIA Postdocs:
I would have enjoyed a more extensive form of handouts. Thanks!
I really liked the talk. It was very helpful. Thanks for the references.

Thank you very much for this workshop as it was very helpful to me.
Suggestions: If you have not done so before, I suggest you looking into a free online program called CAT maker (CAT stands for Critically Appraised Topic) which might be complementary to the 3-ring binder idea. You can find this just by "googling" the term "CAT maker".

I really enjoyed this seminar and I find it very useful for my career. Thanks!

Great lecturer, but too long! Would be great (at least first ½) for undergrad starting researcher! Second ½ very appropriate for higher level.

I felt this day was very worthwhile. Even though I already knew some of the material presented, I learned a lot. You are very funny, and that helps to keep the audience's attention throughout the talk.

2007 February 10, Univ of Berlin, Germany; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

I heard your talk about "Excessive trust in authorities and its influence on experimental design" at the Bonner Biomedicine Meeting in Bad Breisig. It was a very important and inspiring experience for me. Not only me, but also most of my colleagues immediately got hold of your publication from 2004

2007 April 23, Universitat Pompeu Fabra at Barcelona, Spain; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

I recently had the great pleasure of attending the seminar on "Survival Skills for young Biomedical Investigators" that you presented in our department. I wanted to let you know that your talk was immensely enjoyed by students and faculty alike.

2008 April 21, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca; Workshop (Back to Workshop List)

Thank you - Dr. Sun is an excellent speaker.

This was a wonderful one day seminar. Thank you. Dr. Sun is an invigorating and enlighting speaker. He has not only inspired me to write, read and design better but also to effectively teach these things as I move into the role.

Awesome! Should be required for 1st year graduate students and young faculty. Heck, should be mandatory for everyone!

This is a course that should be given to faculty, especially those who have high turn-over rate of graduate students and perform one-man show. Graduate students are not technicians. They need to learn how to conduct their own research after they graduate. They need a mentor who can honestly tell them their good and bad conducts towards research. I much appreciated that Dr. Sun came over here to give us this workshop. It was very interesting and was an excellent workshop for students at any levels.

More & slow down about scientific writing. Give us time to take in.  Thanks! Very useful to me.

This should be offered as a mandatory course for fresh incoming students (graduate), senior (undergrads). Specifically in the 1st incoming semester.

It's just great!

It was a great workshop. I found it very helpful. I'll use many strategies which he mentioned today in my career.

Wonderful presentations! Excellent use of my time! Thanks!

It might be easier on the audience if the reading & writing scientific papers was combined into one seminar. 4 seminars was maybe slightly too much for the audience to give all four their complete attention. Overall very useful series of seminars - helps to organize one's thoughts on each topic. Thanks!

Thank you very much for organizing & providing/offering such a great course to us!

I really enjoyed the part of the seminar on preparing figures for papers. I wish that there was more time for this part so that we could get more details about the process of figure-making (what programs to use, etc.). Also, more examples of good figures would have been helpful. The ethics portion was short but very effective. This could be expanded also. The references about ethics should be added to the handout.

It was a really good opportunity!

Great lecture! I am motivated. I will start read paper (actively) this week and take notes (3-ring binder). Best lectures ever attended!

It would be very useful for PhD advisors to attend this course as much of what was discussed involves interactions with advisors. It would be good for advisors and students to be exposed to the materials so they are on the same page about topics discussed, and to raise awareness in advisors of the gap in what is taught. Any thoughts on maintaining a good relationship with advisor to other lab members would be good to hear.

15 minute coffee break should be enough. So I don't mind that Dr. Sun was overtime since the information is very helpful.

It was a very informative workshop.

Dr. Sun is awesome! Very good lectures!

I enjoyed the workshop and found it useful. I agree and wish I would have heard some of the content earlier in my career.

Would be most useful for early grad students (year 1 or 2). But still good for all levels in the sciences. If you target early years can start the "good" behaviors early on and will be easier to maintain throughout grad school and career.

The speaker was great. The time passed fast.

Very good. I have never heard these concepts put into words before.  Thank you.

Very enjoyable and extremely valuable to my graduate career. I definitely think this course should be offered again. I think it may be beneficial to faculty as well…help remind them or teach them ways to make our journey through graduate school more productive. Thank you.

Overall this was fantastic! Totally worth the trip down from Geneva! I would also suggest advertising it for all grads in the life sciences not just biomedical. Excellent.

It would be great to have time dedicated after each section for questions/discussion. I was hesitant to sign up given the title (I didn't know it would be relevant), but I am so glad I did! I found this to be extremely helpful and gave me several tools I can begin using immediately. I also plan to share this information with my advisor. Thank you for this opportunity!

I think overall it was generally useful there are a few things that I will start applying in my own research in lab. I was annoyed a bit by his determination to emphasize that his way of note taking was the only right way to take notes.

Q & A session or some interaction would be really nice. Small group discussion. Great talk and really helpful. Thank you very much.

Excellent workshop overall. Dr. Sun is a very engaging speaker! The first section of the workshop was strongest and contained the most new information.

This workshop covers many issues that graduate students face coming into graduate school. This has been a very great resource in answering many questions and has been a great guidance. I hope you continue this course for future incoming students.

Thanks so much for this! I wish something like it had been given when I was a first or second-year. I think it'll help me tremendously…this really isn't information that is offered anywhere else, but it makes a ton of sense.

Excellent workshop, excellent speaker. Thank you for sharing your methods and experiences. They can be applied to all levels of research and work (clinical). I would be interested in taking more workshops on the same subjects.

This is an excellent course that delivers very important content which is otherwise not formally available to most students. Dr. Sun is an excellent speaker who keeps your attention and emphasizes points in a way that helps you remember them. My only suggestion would be to continue expanding the notes provided to include an even more complete set of information for us to take away with us.

I never had anyone during my whole career thus far line up so easily the principles behind experimental design, in particular in what it relates to risk assessment and trusting sources. The suggestions on how to approach experimental design with graduate students (i.e. flow chart) were very useful.  I also gave me a new insight as to how to read manuscripts actively. 

Each lesson should take more time and be given as a lecture series. If possible we should have more detailed handouts. 

2009 June 12, The Jackson Lab, Bar Harbor; Experimental Design (Back to Workshop List)

It was a great lecture last Thursday afternoon in Jackson Lab! It is probably one of the best I had in my entire scientific career. I really wish I had been your student when I was graduate school. Things would have been very different for me.

2009 Sept 12, NYU Medical School; Workshop (Back to Workshop List)

I am a postdoc from MSKCC and I sit through your lectures today at NYU medical school. The materials covered are very helpful and inspiring. Thank you for spending such tremendous amount of time in preparing the talks which don't seem to benefit your own scientific career directly.

It was an honor to listen to your lecture today. I feel that everything you mentioned (especially the first part regarding the "Experimental Design") was truly useful for me as a 1st year graduate student. If I keep reminding myself of your key points throughout the duration of my academic career, I may just be able to prevent myself from making such careless mistakes. I am glad you were able to share your knowledge with us, and I hope other new and budding scientists will hear your talk and benefit from it, as I most certainly have. Thank you.

2010 Sept 25, NYU Medical School; Workshop (Back to Workshop List)

Albert Einstein

Now I know why every student in the past praised Dr. Sun's workshop!

I found this workshop very enlightening and fun. I will definitely need to attend next year when I will be at the stage of writing papers.

You're an incredible speaker! Thanks for keeping me awake and inspiring me.

This was an excellent presentation. Please continue to offer this seminar to graduate students and postdocs.


Columbia University Medical Center


An excellent course. It should be required for all graduate students. I am so grateful to have this information. Thank you!

Engaging and entertaining speaker; great humor.

Interesting, thought-provoking important points.

I completely agree with not trusting authorities – I had a very "educational" experience with the authority as an undergrad. After that experience, I've gone along with this motto as well.

The information on how to read and write papers was excellent and is rarely covered. Also, you are a great presenter, which is instructional in itself. Thank you!

This workshop was extremely helpful and informative and I know it will be greatly beneficial to me in my graduate school education and career.



NYU Medical School Graduate Students and Postdocs


I believe, fully, that this course provides the best advice to starting researchers and gives a solid foundation in developing beneficial habits that will lead to future success.

I traveled from Philadelphia to come to this talk and originally dreaded having to spend a whole day in lectures; however, I am incredibly glad I did so! The talks were not only very interested and engaging, but incredibly informative. I firmly believe I will be a better researcher as a result of this day and I know the manuscript I have been struggling with will benefit greatly by it!

I found it extremely informative and easy to understand. It is well known that most of the information shared is (or should be) common sense; nevertheless the way it is presented allows the audience to perceive these comments differently. It was like a "Eureka" moment for me. I'm sure I will follow most of these rules in my daily work, both at the desk and at the bench. Thank you.

The talk was very helpful and kept my attention throughout. Dr. Sun is very entertaining/insightful speaker and does a good job at maintaining attention. I really appreciate his dedication to a subject that most people in his position don't think about.

Excellent course! I thought it was going to be boring, but it was definitely not! I learned a lot of details that I'm sure will help me through grad school. Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!

I very much enjoyed the course. I thought it would be very useful information for junior faculty with first year graduate students – or any graduate students for that matter. I thought it made sense to separate the lectures as you did; However, I thought that maybe the afternoon talks could be separated from the morning talks and given in the spring or later in the year. Then the same group can come back and listen at a time when that information is more relevant to them. Again, a very strong and informative series of lectures! Make any PIs working with graduate students come too!! A lot of the tools you suggest make a lot of sense, but may be difficult to implement in a lab setting with a PI who doesn't allow the time to create outlines and lists, etc.

This course is fun and full of excellent strategies/tips/knowledge. I benefit a lot from it and wish I could have more.

The topics of this course should be presented to all students of science, even as early as the undergraduate level since people develop poor habits early on. Overall, I was very pleased with your talk and am enthusiastic to make use of what I learned!

Will be using many of these techniques as soon as this afternoon! Hope to attend next year!

I am very happy to have attended this class. I found the first two sections of the lecture to be especially enlightening. As I am still developing my skills in the lab it is encouraging to know that questioning "authority" is not frowned upon but instead almost necessary. This talk has definitely changed my outlook on what my role is as a member of a lab and I will definitely put into practice many of the techniques described this Saturday.


NYU College of Arts and Science


I wish I heard this talk a couple of years ago. I am in NYU GSAS. Consider advertising to the Chemistry department for the benefit of future students. Thank you Dr. Sun. You are a great speaker and motivator.

The talk was excellent! I had been looking forward to it. As you give the talk to a large audience and there is limited audience participation (beyond much, and appreciated, laughter), I would suggest that you open this talk to undergraduates studying Biology and Biochemistry. Many of them are conducting laboratory research, and we don't appreciate losing time to failed experiments either! Taking away some of the mystery and magic to laboratory research will certainly be helpful to undergrads – attracting them to research is a service to NYU, and to the scientific community. Thank you so much for your excellent lecture series!

Dr. Sun is extremely engaging. All lectures were extremely insightful and my knowledge was increased on all counts. Even during the day I had ideas for my own lab work. I also really enjoyed his organization of lab notebook/protocols and active reading lecture.

Weill Cornell Medical College Graduate Students and Postdocs



This seminar probably changed my life. I am so lucky to be able to attend it.

Many of the points are ones that most of us know already…We know them and know that we should do them (like thoroughly understanding a protocol before doing an important experiment) but are lazy/impatient and end up not doing them. So, this seminar was a good useful reminder of the benefits of taking the time and effort to do research the right way. Moreover, the specific tips on how to actively read a paper was very helpful, as were the specific tips on how to write a paper.

SUNY Stony Brook Graduate Students and Postdocs


The course is excellent. Please continue to offer this to future students, and Stony Brook should be included in NYC schools as well.

Should open up to Stony Brook students.


Mount Sinai School of Medicine Graduate Students and Postdocs


These lectures were very helpful and interesting without being boring. They were great and extremely helpful. Dr. Sun is a really good lecturer who teaches essential information in a very interesting and attention grabbing way.

This was a very insightful workshop and provided an external perspective (a "step back" so to speak) that encouraged the integration and maximizing efficiency/thoroughness of the scientific process.

I found it extremely informative and easy to understand. It is well known that most of the information shared is (or should be) common sense; nevertheless the way it is presented allows the audience to perceive these comments differently. It was like a "Eureka" moment for me. I'm sure I will follow most of these rules in my daily work, both at the desk and at the bench. Thank you.

Great lecturer! Very nice of him to spend entire Saturday with us.

As first year grad student, everything seemed so daunting until I had this course. I really appreciate the course, and the effort you've put into its preparation. I thought of starting a round table discussion with my fellow 1st year grad students, and was wondering if I can use what we learned here in the meetings to refresh our memory of things we learned and become efficient at doing sciences. Once again, thank you.



Dr. Sun is a dynamic presenter and just a delight to listen to. What I found particularly useful was his pointers on creating graphs and figures so they present data without distraction, and his guidelines for effective and visually pleasing powerpoints, with great use of examples for both. I think P.I.s would benefit from his introductory comments on how to guide students that are new to lab work and the concept of authority, as well as the aesthetic presentation point I mentioned above.

Dr. Sun is an excellent speaker. This should be mandatory for all graduate students!

Sloan-Kettering Graduate School


I think the course gives a great insight into how to do scientific research. It should be compulsory for all grad students to get such a training before diving into research.

I enjoyed the energy that you presented with. I feel that this clarified my use of the scientific method when designing experiments. I am not sure I agree on the use of active voice in writing to the extent in which it was presented. Outstanding advice on the oral talks. This was an invaluable experience and something I will look back to for years.


Rockefeller University


A section on picking a project, juggling multiple projects, when it is best to drop a project and move on to something else.

I think this course should be mandatory to all graduate students. In American educational system there is no preparation for independent research. I wish I took this course when I started graduate school.

Fordham University


Excellent, informative, funning, and I did not sleep a wink!!


2011 Sept 12, UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND ; Workshop (Back to Workshop List)


Honours Students (1st year graduate)


Excellent. Reinforced concepts which I had picked up along the way.

Thank you so much. I'm inspired a lot by this fantastic and exciting workshop.

It should have been earlier in the year for honours students starting in first semester. Brilliant workshop!

This workshop was thoroughly helpful for me, it made me feel more normal and gain an insight into my research perspective and expectations. It has given me the extra inspiration boost I needed and was looking for to get me to the end of my honours year (in 8 weeks' time). Thank you, Dr Sun. Some may say this would have been more useful earlier in the year however I believe that occurring later in the honours year has allowed us to reflect and relate to each situation mentioned, allowing us to understand the points made more.

These lectures are excellent and I wish I could've done this during undergrad.

This workshop has restored my faith in scientific research. Thank you.

Excellent workshop! Tackles the problem of surviving in the scientific world (and in life).

The workshop was terrific and inspirational and useful. I saw Dr Sun describe and formalise the 'bad habits' I have been doing, so it was quite eye-opening. Really very worthwhile.

I found the main points of each section very helpful. Some I already knew but had never articulated and some qualities I could see in myself. Very useful for thinking about myself and the way I do science. Points made were well emphasised, very clear what the take home messages were.

I liked the humours occasionally to make the session lively! Writing session especially useful.


Masters students


Wonderful workshop I think it's very useful for young scientists. I'm absolutely impressed by his talk.

Should be mandatory for honours/masters

Engaging and inspirational, a must for early researchers and students


PhD Students


Informative, suggestive, very excellent!

Very useful, offering valuable information.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us today, Henry! I particularly appreciated the 'Experimental Design' section. Reproducibility and technical expertise are extremely important topics for PhD students. Thanks for the great advice.

I enjoyed your 'fearless', 'exciting', and 'interesting' talks. As many of your followers, I found myself in the problem/challenge of improving my skills (with/without my supervisor's advice). Your insights are extremely useful. Thanks.

It's my pleasure to attend this workshop. It would be good for students if UQ arrange this programme on yearly basis and include all faculties in the varsity.

Excellent day – very helpful. Should be compulsory for all hons and PhD 1st year students at UQ. All talks were well laid out and were applicable for me. I will use these ideas. Thanks!

Really like the course. Much more of this should be taught in undergraduate and postgraduate courses as there is too much focus on learning/memorising information. These skills are so much more important for science jobs.

Great workshop and gave me a lot insight that I might not have picked up. I think more sessions would be very helpful.

Truly excellent workshop. I advise this course should be mandatory for students initiating an honours and or PhD candidature. The management section should be mandatory for laboratory managers. This workshop stimulated the construction of my scientific mental framework and will undoubtedly increase the efficacy and efficiency of managing the various facets that are part of being/becoming ☺a successful scientist.

This workshop should have been around 2 years ago when I started my PhD. There is a lot of wisdom in the topics and content covered. I genuinely enjoyed the workshop and the presenter. Thanks a lot!


This is extremely useful to young researcher open to undergraduate and organise once or twice a year for everyone. It would be better if mentoring workshop is available as well.

I really enjoyed this talk and for me as a 2nd year PhD student I got a lot of very informative material out of it! Thanks for that!

Speaker is funny and insightful, enjoyed lectures and in a light, friendly atmosphere.

Very good talk! Would be great to have more specific examples particularly about writing and making experimental strategies more successful. Great to get reference material (need more room for notes!) and a list of material!! V. Good overall – definitely worth the day away from the lab. Should be done early on in grad career so that concepts can be initiated early (eg 3 binder folder idea) however may not be logistically possible given distance between USA and Aus. Excessive or blind trust of 'authorities'=shifting blame from the 'authorities' to yourself for not doing things properly could be made clearer as it is a hard pill to swallow!! 

Thank you so much this was a fantastic workshop! I only wish my supervisor was likewise informed!

Professor Henry Sun has provided some crucial advice on how to approach research in an organised and disciplined fashion. This is a really fantastic talk. I think it will be useful if the talk is given on a yearly fashion to students starting their career in research. It may even be a useful talk to be given to research supervisors as well which might help improve the mentoring process for young researchers.

This workshop is inspiring and even though I am already in the final year of my PhD it made me realise what I should improve on and mistakes that I should not make as a supervisor in the future. Thank you for this great workshop.

The figures for my recently accepted first paper seems like rubbish. However, I've learned how to improve. Thank you.

A very interesting speaker. Covered all the problems I've ever encountered during research. Spot on! Have learnt so much in this workshop. Felt so lucky to have been able to attend.Would be great if faculty members would attend the workshop too! Thank you SCMB and Dr Sun!

The course should be compulsory to every postgrad student or even honours students! But more importantly the PI - they sometimes forget to be teachers too! As a student you get lost without the PI being teachers. Probably a course like this can be modified to show these PI that there might be a better way without bruising their ego. Prof Sun, you are an inspiration! Thank you!

I really love the workshop! I think it would be even better if academics/supervisors have the chance to attend this so they can pass this on to new graduate students.

Great talk. Every PhD student should attend this workshop. Thank you. Very good workshop. Mostly common sense, but things we don't consciously remember to think about before each experience/paper/talk. Dr Sun is a very interesting and entertaining speaker. Well worth a day.

This lecture will help me plan about my PhD. Could completely relate to this lecture. Should have such lectures regularly.

Very good formalisation of ideas and lessons often learnt the hard way through experience. Should be offered to more students at start of research career. Some lab experience is required to fully appreciate the lessons.

Postdoctoral fellows


I think that this course should be mandatory for all graduate students/postdocs/ and professors! Everyone can get something useful out of this workshop!

Fantastic course! I wish I had been able to benefit from this 10 years ago. Thank you very much! This course should be taught in some form by every research institution at the beginning of every academic year.

This should be compulsory for all PhD students and highly recommended for all staff within SCMB.

It's a workshop that I'd highly recommend all honours students and PhD students to attend.

This course should really be compulsory for PhD and maybe even honours students, to make sure they have got the right tools before they start lab work.

Very entertaining and well presented.

This course is very useful for every young researcher.

2011 Sept 26, NYU ; Scientific Methods: Survival Skills for Young Biomedical Investigators(Back to Workshop List)


The Rockefeller University


Dr. Sun is a very dynamic and engaging speaker

This was a great workshop

Please encourage young PIs to participate in this course/workshop

NYU School of Medicine Graduate Students


I strongly believe that professors, reviewers, editors should have some sort of this course too.

You are a very engaging speaker, and I thoroughly enjoyed your talks.

I wish I had something like this during my undergraduate research years, although supplementary guidance from university professors would be necessary for undergraduate to appreciate this wealth of knowledge Dr. Sun has to offer. Thank you so much!

I really liked this course! I strongly encourage to extend this course to faculty level. It would be easier to follow if professors were also on the same page. It would serve best the context of a teaching view, because many professors don't know how to present and it's hard to learn.

Very engaging and a good range of concepts and details. A good way to enforce some things already knew.

The workshop was really helpful and I would love to attend more similar courses at least twice a year.

Fantastic! I learned a lot. The information provided was valuable. This course is central for any young (or old) scientist who wants to have a promising career in science. Thank you.

It has been a wonderful workshop every minute of it so sweet.

SUNY Downstate



As a new graduate student this course has helped me orient my ideas. It has given me a clear perspective on how to build my future and what I want to achieve through the course of my PhD. Thanks.

Dr. Sun is a very engaging lecturer and should be invited each year to lead this workshop.

Mount Sinai


This is my second time attending this workshop and it was just as useful as the first time. I found Dr. Sun's advice practical, and importantly found aspects of my current approach were based on Dr. Sun's advices from last year. Thank you!

Dr. Sun is one of the most entertaining speakers I have seen.

This seminar is extremely important and it highlights everything that we as graduate students should know, but have never really been taught. It explains exactly what we should be focusing on and what we will hopefully be able to apply to our careers. I think that more examples will allow people to figure out how to apply these techniques. Thank you so much for taking your time to teach us all of these amazing suggestions and guidelines for how to succeed.

Such a pleasure. Here's to improving the quality of science across the board! Many thanks to offer this opportunity to the greater NYC community. Thank you so much, I loved this presentation (especially your quotes). I found the attention to proper lab note book particularly helpful, since I have never received any formal training (or advice) on such an important aspect of research. I think it is very important that faculty hear this talk in order to improve their mentorship. Also, would it be alright for me to borrow some of your ideas when I am lecturing or mentoring hightschoolers/undergrads involved in scientific research? Thanks again.

Excellent. Looking forward to your book.

I would have liked to have heard this lecture a few years ago. It contained a lot of ideas and material that I had figured out for myself, but only after having certain failures and negative experiences in past laboratory work. The message is quite strong, and I am happy to feel that my experience has allowed me to find a proper path for myself and my research.




Wonderful seminar, Dr. Sun is a great speaker. I was engaged throughout and will definitely apply the advice he has so generously given.

I like the letcture very much. They were very helpful and Prof. Sun was extremely funny.

Extremely amazing talks. Very instructive! Strongly encourage the continue of this kind of lecture! Really appreciate this chance!




The speaker was wellspoken, organized and clear. This was an excellent and helpful workshop.




The lecture dealing with experimental design was great. These are strategies and ideas never taught in a classroom, but critical in a research environment.

In presentation skills section, spend some time explaining how you made the transition form just "reading" slides to really having a conversation w/your audience. You were very effective delivering your ideas. How did you get so good? Practice? Experience? Confidence? Do you have any workshops specially for transitioning from postdoc to PI? I appreciated your advice on not stuck trying to find the "perfect" idea to move on and will use your binder skill on helping the organize a research plan. Thanks so much, it was great.