Join Us

Current Openings:

Dr. Fritz-Laylin is committed to helping all lab members build the skills needed to achieve their long-term career goals. Such skills include biological knowledge, molecular and cell biology techniques, project management, as well as science communication in the form of oral presentations, scientific publication, and grant writing. Dr. Fritz-Laylin meets with lab members weekly to discuss research progress and training needs. Enthusiastic applicants with diverse perspectives who wish to join a dynamic research group are encouraged to apply!

Graduate students: We accept graduate students through the UMass Amherst MCB and OEB programs. If you are interested in joining and/or rotating in the lab, please email Lillian directly or come by the lab.

Postdocs: If you are interested in joining the lab as a postdoc, please email Lillian directly, and include your CV and a cover letter explaining why you are interested in joining the lab and an idea you have for a project.

Meanwhile, you might want to know more about us:

Mission statement

The mission of the Fritz-Laylin lab is to take advantage of organismal diversity to understand cellular behaviors and how they evolved. We ask clear and important scientific questions and develop the most direct approaches to answer them. This includes learning new techniques, initiating collaborations with other labs, and developing new model organisms.

Acting Principles

Each lab develops its own unique culture that has a profound affect on the lab’s science and the quality of day-to-day life in the lab. Our lab culture is based on the following acting principles:

  • Science can be hard. We love it anyway… especially when it gets hard.
  • Our biggest resource is our intellectual capital. We maximize it by: reading literature, thinking deeply, and actively engaging in discussion.
  • Everyone in the lab is our colleague, and we treat them as such.
  • Diversity is strength.
  • As individuals and as a group, we actively seek to improve our strength of character. We admit when we are wrong and do not tolerate sloppy science, lies, or plagiarism.
  • When we don’t know, we ask. When we are asked, we help.


Joining a lab is like joining a sportball team. To help us play effectively as a team, it helps to know what we can expect from each other.

What you can expect from Lillian

  • To help you develop clear scientific questions and guide you in designing experiments to answer them.
  • To provide timely feedback on manuscripts, abstracts, and funding applications.
  • To work with you to develop clear milestones and targets towards reaching your scientific and career goals.
  • To use her resources to help you achieve these milestones.
  • To be present in lab during work hours whenever possible, and responsive by email when absent.
  • To make every effort to keep the lab funded, and to be transparent with the lab on any and all funding issues.
  • To provide a safe working environment.

What the lab expects from you

  • To take responsibility for your science. No one understands your project more than you. Get in the driver’s seat.
  • To seek out opportunities for your and your lab mates’ career development. This includes applying for your own grants and fellowships.
  • To keep careful records in your lab notebook and maintain protocols and databases. This allows all of us to focus on new science instead of wasting time reinventing wheels.
  • To actively participate in lab meetings (see below).
  • To keep a regular schedule, and note any expected absences on the lab calendar as far in advance as possible.
  • To be considerate of your lab mates, which means cleaning up after yourself and contributing to lab tasks.
  • To work with safety in mind.

Lab notebook

Your lab notebook is the most important product from your time in lab. In order to share our ideas and work most effectively, we use electronic lab notebooks. Your notebook must include all information needed to replicate your experiments (cell lines, concentrations, quantities, times, etc), as well as links to where your raw data is stored on the lab server. Your lab notebook should be updated by the end of the day. It is tempting to assume you will remember what you did, but it is easy to forget critical details. You can’t afford to risk it. Be prepared to show your lab notebook during meetings.

Lab meetings

There are different types of meetings, each with its own purpose and expectations. Active participation in lab meetings is expected from all lab members.

One-on-one meetings are a forum to set milestones/deadlines to help you meet our shared scientific objectives and your personal career development goals, as well as discuss progress and strategize.

Your time is precious. My time is precious. In order to maximize the value of these one-on-one meetings, come prepared with an agenda (the recommended way to do this is for both of us to collaborate on a google doc agenda ahead of time). Prioritize your agenda to make sure we cover the most pressing concerns first, as we might not have time to get through everything on your list. Also bring something with which to take notes. If we don’t discuss anything worth writing down, we might not have needed to spend time on the meeting to begin with.

Sub-group roundtables are designed to help lab members working on related projects to troubleshoot experiments, and share important know-how. Bring your raw data as well as the analyzed versions of it. Remember, it is really hard to help you troubleshoot if you don’t do controls or label your data; please don’t waste everyone’s time by doing this.

Formal lab meetings are an opportunity to practice discussing our research in a broad context. Communicating science clearly is a key skill that we all can improve upon. For the audience this means paying attention, and asking questions. For presenters, lab meeting is a good time to step back and think critically about what you are doing and where you are going.