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Professor Karuna Sampath

Karuna Sampath

Professor Karuna Sampath
University of Warwick
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Marie Curie, for her brilliance and tenacity. Her work led to many routinely used tools in modern medicine (e.g. X-rays). More recent scientific heroes include RNA biologists Melissa Moore and Katalin Kariko (who spearheaded development of RNA-based Covid vaccines).

In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

I don’t keep tabs on hours spent in the lab and expect you to manage your time.
I enjoy working with creative and self-motivated students who are passionate about science. Students who are resourceful, enthusiastic and organised are a joy to work with!
I am available to meet you regularly for discussions throughout the doctoral project. Initially, I will provide substantial input and expect you to become more independent over the PhD duration.

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:

Your day-today training will be supervised predominantly by experienced post docs/PhD students in my group and I will meet you weekly to discuss the overall project and training goals.
It is expected that you will progressively work more independently over time.

Progression monitoring and management:

We will meet on a weekly basis to discuss your ongoing work and next steps.
I expect you to manage your time. Our weekly meetings and the lab electronic notebook will give me an overview of your progress and help identify areas where additional support, guidance or alternate strategies may be required.


I sometimes email my team after hours and on weekends. Whilst you may generally reply at your convenience, for matters that are urgent, I will indicate this on the email header (e.g. URGENT/Important/PLEASE READ) and would appreciate a quick response.
I am happy to discuss the issues that impact your ability to fulfil your potential or my/our expectations and help you achieve your potential.
If there are matters that I cannot help with, I will point you towards the postgraduate research student support team and other student support services at Warwick.

How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?

Once per week

In year 1 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

Once per week

In year 2 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

Once per week

In year 3 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per week. If we are working together on a manuscript/paper, we might discuss more often, as needed.

What form do your 1:1 meetings with PhD students take?

A mixture of face to face and via video chat. All students are expected to record their ongoing work in the lab electronic lab notebook ahead of the scheduled meeting so that I get a chance to see and mull over it before our discussion. Likewise, if you read around your area of work ahead of our meetings, you will get more out of our discussions.

Open door policy?

I am generally available and contactable for an instant response on weekdays. I can be contacted after hours as well, for any emergency.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

Certain tasks (pertaining to zebrafish work) may need to occur at set times, and students need to be able to commit to a rota/timetable shared with other members of the team and the Warwick zebrafish user groups.
Other than that, students are expected to manage their own time (barring scheduled meetings).

Notice for feedback (e.g. on reports, manuscript drafts, thesis chapters)?

I need at least 1 week notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.