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LEoPARD is always seeking ambitious undergraduate students who have a strong interest in laboratory-based work. At present, students can apply to fill the following three categories of increasing involvement and demand:

  • Student-technicians
  • Student-researchers
  • Student-investigators

Descriptions and requirements for these various positions can be found below.

Student-technicians

The student-technician position is intended for students who may not want a substantial role in research — at least, not yet — but who are still interested in the workings of a laboratory environment, and who may eventually be interested in pursuing more intensive research at a later time in their undergraduate degree or possibly upon graduation. Student-technicians will support student-researchers and student-investigators in LEoPARD by completing preparatory work, monitoring and replenishing the inventory of reagents, and maintaining the research lab in a state of cleanliness and readiness. Students who are interested in the student-technician role are expected to join LEoPARD with a serious commitment to furthering research, and must be willing to devote substantial time and effort towards this goal. 

Prospective student-technicians must meet the following requirements:

  • Prospective student-technicians may consider their commitment to LEoPARD on a semester-by-semester basis;
  • Must be able and willing to dedicate a bare minimum of no less than 3 hours per week to in-lab work (i.e. work that takes place in the lab, preparatory work, cleaning, etc.);
    • Student-technicians may not contribute more than 10 hours per week to LEoPARD. Instead, students interested in spending more than 10 hours per week in a lab environment should seriously consider applying to the student-researcher position. 
    • During a break period (e.g. Thanksgiving week, Christmas break, summer, etc.) where is student-technician is local — i.e. they have a place to live in relative proximity — they are strongly encouraged to work no less than 6 hours per week, and up to no more than 20 hours per week (otherwise they should consider the role of student-researcher). 
  • Must be able and willing to schedule and attend a weekly 1-hour update meeting, and other meetings as required;
  • Must have a clear understanding that their duties with LEoPARD will not be compromised by any other commitments to non-academic pursuits including (but not limited to) other employment, residence life, volunteering, athletics (including practice, games, travel time for away-games), etc.; 
  • Must have an earnest, genuine interest for laboratory work. Prospective student-technicians need not be already committed to a career in laboratory work — but should be willing to give this work their dedication for the time that they remain in LEoPARD. There should also be an understanding that student-technicians will not be spearheading or leading work — but rather following the instructions disseminated to them by Dr. Dieni and also by student-researchers and student-investigators.

Apply for the student-technician role now. Special consideration for students eligible for work-study.

Student-researchers

The student-researcher position is intended for ambitious students who want to take on a substantial role in research — and who are passionate about giving serious consideration to making research part of their long-term career goals (e.g. pursuing graduate studies, performing cutting-edge work in a biotechnology company, having a prominent role in drug discovery and clinical trials, etc.). Student-researchers will execute and analyze the results of the core experiments in LEoPARD’s various research projects, with the utmost care and meticulous attention to detail — in pursuit of the ultimate goal of publishing discoveries in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Students who are interested in the student-researcher role are expected to join LEoPARD with the highest commitment to furthering research — and must be willing to devote considerable time and effort towards this goal. 

Prospective student-researchers must meet the following requirements:

  • When at all possible, a prospective student-researcher should carefully consider their ability to make a full calendar year commitment to research with LEoPARD. For instance, a student who wishes to join LEoPARD as of the Fall 2021 semester should also carefully consider their ability to commit to research during the Christmas 2021/New Year 2022 holiday season, the Spring 2022 semester, and Summer 2022 as well; 
  • Must be able and willing to dedicate a bare minimum of no less than 10 hours per week (and often, considerably more than the 10-hour weekly minimum) to in-lab research (i.e. work that takes place in the lab, making reagents and solutions, running experiments, recording data, etc.);
    • During a break period (e.g. Thanksgiving week, Christmas break, summer, etc.) where is student-researcher is local — i.e. they have a place to live in relative proximity — they are strongly encouraged to work no less than 20 hours per week. Consistent and repeated failure to take advantage of the potential productivity afforded by break periods may affect a student-researcher’s future with LEoPARD.
  • Must be able and willing to work “odd hours” (e.g. evenings, weekends) as necessitated by laboratory protocols and/or the scheduling of intensive research time-blocks around coursework;
  • Must be able and willing to dedicate no less than 5 hours per week (and often more) to out-of-lab research (i.e. work that takes place out of the lab, processing data, plotting graphs, searching out and reading references from the peer-reviewed literature, writing manuscripts and poster presentations, etc.);
  • Must be able and willing to schedule and attend a weekly 1-hour research progress meeting, and other meetings as required;
  • Must have a clear understanding that their duties with LEoPARD will not be compromised by any other commitments to non-academic pursuits including (but not limited to) other employment, residence life, volunteering, athletics (including practice, games, travel time for away-games), etc.; 
  • Must have an earnest, genuine interest for research. Prospective student-researchers need not be a research expert, or already committed to a career in research, but should be willing to give research nothing short of their uncompromising dedication for the time that they remain in LEoPARD.

Apply for the student-researcher role now. Special consideration for students eligible for work-study.

Student-investigators

The student-investigator position is reserved exclusively for committed students who have proven themselves over at least one semester with LEoPARD and who are wholeheartedly certain — for all intents and purposes — that they want to engage in research amidst their long-term career goals. Student-investigators will not only execute and analyze the results of the core experiments in LEoPARD’s various research projects — but will also assist in the planning and coordination of projects, training of newer personnel who join LEoPARD, and the mentoring and directing of both student-technicians and student-researchers. Students who have spent a minimum of one semester with LEoPARD as a student-researcher, and are interested promotion to student-investigator, must be willing to entirely dedicate their time and effort towards this singular goal with little or no competition from other pursuits; please be advised that this level of dedication is not for everyone and not to be taken lightly! 

Prospective student-investigators must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be willing and able to make make a non-negotiable, full calendar year commitment to research with LEoPARD, and have a minimum of a complete 365 days remaining before anticipated graduation date, and a genuine ability to remain with LEoPARD for the entirety of that period. As one example — a student-researcher who has completed prior research with LEoPARD and who wishes to upgrade to a student-investigator as of the Fall 2021 semester must also commit to being a student-investigator during the Christmas 2021/New Year 2022 holiday season, the Spring 2022 semester, and Summer 2022 as well. As another example — a student-researcher who has completed prior research with LEoPARD and who wishes to upgrade to a student-investigator as of Summer 2021 must also commit to being a student-investigator during the Fall 2021 semester, the Christmas 2021/New Year 2022 holiday season, and the Spring 2022 semester as well;
  • Must have spent at least one prior successful semester with LEoPARD as a student-researcher;
    • In the one (or more) prior successful semester(s), the prospective student-investigator must have shown a talent for research and a strong desire to put research interests above other priorities.
  • Must be able and willing to dedicate a bare minimum of no less than 18 hours per week (and often, considerably more than the 18-hour weekly minimum) to in-lab research (i.e. work that takes place in the lab, making reagents and solutions, running experiments, recording data, etc.);
    • During a break period (e.g. Thanksgiving week, Christmas break, summer, etc.) where is student-investigator is local — i.e. they have a place to live in relative proximity — they are strongly encouraged to work no less than 36 hours per week. Consistent and repeated failure to take advantage of the potential productivity afforded by break periods may affect a student-investigator’s future with LEoPARD.
  • Must be able and willing to work “odd hours” (e.g. evenings, weekends) as necessitated by laboratory protocols and/or the scheduling of intensive research time-blocks around coursework;
    • Additionally, the student-investigator must realize and embrace that in addition to evenings and weekends, it is necessary to have days upon days — or, more accurately, weeks upon weeks — of uninterrupted research to make any substantial progress. The student-investigator is therefore expected to make every reasonable effort towards in-lab work for a significant portion of “break” periods such as the Christmas/New Year period, Spring/Fall break (if applicable), Thanksgiving, and summer, among others;
    • Barring exceptional circumstances, the student-investigator may not be absent from the lab for a period of any longer than 28 calendar days — or they will be reassigned from their student-investigator position to a student-researcher position instead.  
  • Must be able and willing to dedicate no less than 8 hours per week (and often more) to out-of-lab research (i.e. work that takes place out of the lab, processing data, plotting graphs, searching out and reading references from the peer-reviewed literature, writing manuscripts and poster presentations, etc.);
  • Must be able and willing to schedule and attend a weekly 1-hour research progress meeting, and other meetings as required;
  • Must not be involved in other non-academic pursuits to any significant extent, including (but not limited to) other employment, residence life, volunteering, athletics, etc. — without prior discussion and express permission from Dr. Dieni;
    • Given that the student-investigator will likely not be involved in employment outside of LEoPARD due to the high level of dedication required, it is strongly recommended that prospective student-investigators are eligible to pursue intensive research through one or both of the following pathways:
      • 1) Prospective student-investigators should be competitive or otherwise eligible for funding sources such as work-study, internal and external research scholarships, stipendiary allocations to external grants, and others as appropriate. Prospective student-investigators who are under financial duress and who would otherwise anticipate a strong need to pursue employment in order to fund their basic necessities (e.g. tuition, housing, food, etc.) might want to first discuss their interest in being a student-investigator with Dr. Dieni before taking any steps;
      • 2) Prospective student-investigators should try to dedicate as many elective credits in their degree program as possible to research. This will allow a shift in focus from credit-based coursework to credit-based research, with a possibly more favourable reorganization of their weekly schedules to accommodate the long hours required for research.  
  • Must have above-average writing skills and an interest in writing anything and everything from laboratory standard operating procedures (SOPs) to manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication;
  • Must have above-average presenting skills and an interest in speaking about their research at a variety of internal and external venues;
  • Must have above-average leadership skills and an interest in training, mentoring, and directing student-researchers and student-technicians who are junior to themselves.

Students interested in any of these roles should contact Dr. Dieni.