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Dr Wei-Yu Lu

Dr Wei-Yu Lu

Dr Wei-Yu Lu
University of Birmingham
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Professor Shinya Yamanaka – Nobel Laurate 2012 : Prof Yamanaka revolutionised the stem cell field with the discovery of induce pluripotent stem cells, showing that mature cells can be reprogrammed and become pluripotent. I am truly impressed by his persistence in trying combinations of transcription factors and finally discovered the 4 transcriptional factors which determine cellular plasticity. His drive to translate his scientific finding to clinical use is also inspirational.

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

Supportive, Open-minded, training (research mental awareness) orientated.

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.

I am a supportive and interactive supervisor who are still active in the lab and enjoy discussing results and planning experiments with my Post-docs and students. I encourage my students to develop independent research mentality whilst making sure they are well trained in experimental skills. I will also provide guidance when my students are unable to solve the problems by themselves after their attempts.

Provision of training:

I will provide technical training to students at the beginning of project, with explanation about the theory, mechanisms, and reasons behind each technical step. It is important to understand the purpose of each individual steps instead of following protocols blindly. At later stage of the project or the student’s career, modifications to the standard protocol may be required to deliver their project outputs. This also trains the student to be an innovator with critical thinking.

Progression monitoring and management:

I will set quarterly goals (big directions) for students, but allowing students to have freedom to arrange their experiment plans on achieve these goals. I will have regular weekly meeting with my lab to get updates on experiments results and help to troubleshoot problems and questions. Since I am still active in the lab, my lab members can reach me easily whenever they have questions in addition to weekly lab meeting.


I am reachable by e-mail and respond swiftly all hours including weekend, however I will not expect my lab members to do the same. Our group have a Whatsapp group chat which we regularly use to communicate during the week and weekends including both work / non-work related matter. Whilst I expect a good communication amongst team members, but I will recommend my team to have a good work/life balance, and take holidays when needed. I also encourage my team members to have a mentor within the institute who are independent from our line of work to get unbiased career advice.

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

At least 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?

At least 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?

At least 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 fortnight

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

Face to face (if allowed under current health and safety advice)

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response (if required) on every working day.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

Work in my lab requires being present on site (be it in a laboratory or at a field site) during the core hours of [complete defined hours and days] (or a subset if working part time).

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

I need at least 2 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.