During the first semester, you will rotate in a minimum of three laboratories prior to selecting a permanent laboratory home. Each rotation will last approximately four to five weeks. It is important to take all rotations seriously; while you are evaluating the Advisor and lab to decide if it’s a good fit, the Advisor and lab are simultaneously evaluating you.

Rotations provide students with the opportunity to:

  • Assess the Advisor’s mentoring style and determine if the laboratory is a good fit
  • Learn more about the research projects available to students
  • Get to know the members of the laboratory

Choosing Rotations:

  • You are encouraged to gather information from faculty rotation talks during orientation, review faculty web pages, and review publications to help identify faculty with matching interests.
  • You are advised to meet with at least six faculty members whom you are interested in rotating with in order to discuss questions or obtain more information about the lab.
  • You should then arrange a suitable 4-5 week rotation period with three faculty members. Submit the “Rotation Schedule" form to the Program Coordinator, with at least the first rotation scheduled, by September 2. The first rotation should start no later than September 2.
    • Rotation 1: ~Month of September
    • Rotation 2: ~Month of October
    • Rotation 3: ~Month of November
  • The goal of rotations is to provide you with a realistic glimpse into the workings of the Advisor and lab.  You should immerse yourself into the daily routine of the lab and spend as much time there as possible. Doing so will give you a basis for making an informed decision when it comes time to choosing an Advisor and joining a lab in December.

Choosing an Advisor/Lab:

  • All students must have a Cancer Biology faculty Advisor. The Advisor advises students about coursework, supervises the student’s research, and acts as a mentor to the student throughout his/her graduate career.
  • Remember that “what you see is what you get,” i.e. your experience as a rotator is likely to reflect what it will be like once you join that lab. You should talk to the Advisor, as well as other members in the lab, in order to get a clear idea of the Advisor’s expectations, mentoring style, dynamic of the lab and intellectual environment. Some things to learn while rotating include:
    • What is the mentoring style of the Advisor? i.e. how much time did you spend interacting with the Advisor and what were those interactions like? Does he/she meet regularly with the students in the lab?  Are there regular group meetings?
    • What is the intellectual culture/environment of the lab like? While in the lab, how interactive are the students?
    • Do the students in the lab publish, review manuscripts, attend scientific meetings, and participate in seminars and journal clubs?
    • How long did it take the last few students in the lab to graduate? 
    • What are former students doing now? 
    • What research projects would be available to you? 
  • You will choose your Advisor/laboratory, by mutual agreement, in early December. If you experience lab rotation difficulties or are unable to determine an appropriate lab at the end of your third rotation, please contact the Program Coordinator.