Lab Info

Revision as of 14:03, 19 June 2019 by Gunnar (Talk | contribs) (Rules and Practices)

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Mission statement

The long-term goal of the ViKinG lab is to uncover fundamental principles of brain function by investigating sensory-motor control. Our research program exploits the fact that virtually all processes in the brain start with sensation (e.g. vision, proprioception or touch) and ultimately culminate in an action (e.g. an eye, head or arm movement) to influence the outside world or gather new information. Thus, by studying the various sensory-motor processes underlying ecologically valid behavioural outcomes, we hope to gain insights into the computational building blocks of the brain. To do so, we take a multi-disciplinary approach that taps into the strengths of complementary experimental and computational methods to answer specific questions from as many perspectives as possible, ultimately solidifying (or falsifying) proposed concepts. We thus work towards advancing our understanding of the computational principles underlying brain function and dysfunction and hope that the cumulative body of work from our lab will make an impactful contribution.


Visit here for a list of available equipment.

Rules and Practices

Life in the lab

  • there are no fixed office hours. Chose your work times to maximize your productivity!
  • make sure your work hours overlap with your supervisor!
  • communicate with your supervisor frequently!
  • inform your supervisor about absences (sickness, vacation, conferences, etc)
  • make sure you have a healthy work-life balance and get enough exercise!
  • for the respect of others, the lab is a scent-free environment. There is no official dress code but please dress respectfully.
  • we expect honesty and scientific integrity. But everyone makes mistakes - communicate them to your supervisor to find solutions!
  • no form of harassment or discrimination will be tolerated!
  • if you have a problem that you feel uncomfortable talking about to your supervisor, please use available university services to resolve the issues (e.g. talk to graduate program assistant - Lucy; make use of student health services; uses SGS resources)
  • be a good citizen in the lab and at the CNS! Active engagement and participation in lab / program activities is expected!

Experimental labs

  • Handle equipment with care! There is about $1M worth of equipment in the lab!
  • Every experimenter must have read the relevant equipment manuals prior to starting a project to ensure proper handling and usage of all devices.
  • Experiments are only to be carried out after explicit approval of your supervisor!
  • Please book experimental sessions on the lab Google calendar!
  • After experiments, the lab should be left the way you would like to find it, i.e. clean and in order. Even if you are the only one running experiments! Also, please lock all windows / doors!
  • Make sure there are no cables, electronics, computers or power bars on the floor! We have had floods in the past and we should always minimize all tripping, electrocution, and other hazards!
  • Please make sure that there are always enough lab supplies available (e.g. disposable electrodes, bite bar cement, etc). Orders can take a while to arrive. Notify your supervisor when you can anticipate running out.
  • Do not handle food / beverages around lab equipment other than the computers.


  • Write an abstract BEFORE even starting a project!
  • Pre-register all experimental studies!
  • Always adhere to the highest ethical and research standards in the field. You are responsible for your research!
  • Back up your data frequently! Always imagine you could lose all of your data / work today!
  • Communicate with your peers: if you have a question, it’s likely someone else in the lab has already solved it
  • Collaborate! Collaborate with your peers, with lab friends and experts in the field. Collaboration is fun and elevates everyone's research!
  • Communicate often with your supervisor!

Data / recording / analysis organization

  • Always back up all data!
  • Visualize newly recorded data immediately to ensure all signals have been recorded, all devices / software is working properly and all required information is present. Cables and hardware can fail at any time without resulting in data acquisition errors...
  • keep detailed lab notes regarding experimental procedures, participant information and particular situations arising.
  • Create one folder for each project / experiment. This folder should have appropriate sub-folders for all the data (raw and analyzed), all required Matlab (and/or other software) scripts for analysis / marking / plotting, all software to run the experiment, and the manuscript resulting from the study.
  • write clean analysis code! You will have to publish the data set along with the complete analysis pipeline! (anyone should be able to understand and execute your code and obtain the exact figures from your paper)

Paper writing

  • (Re-) write the abstract first!
  • Make use of the resources on this wiki! (e.g. CCC, Konrad’s writing advice)
  • Make figures and an outline with the logic and chain of arguments first and get feedback from your supervisor!
  • NEW: once the first draft is written, we will finalize it together! I.e. we will sit together in front of a computer and work on it together to maximize learning!
  • Open Science: all papers should include a link to the analysis/model code used and potential data that were used/produced.


  • Conferences are a reward of good work!
  • The goal is for everyone to attend at least 1 conference / year.
  • The condition to attend a conference is that you must have NEW material to present!
  • Conference abstracts are NOT written in the 11th hour! Your supervisor will pull the plug if that happens and you don’t get to go!
  • Keep conference costs at a minimum! The less it costs, the more money is available for research / other conferences. Your supervisor will give you a budget for each conference that is not to be exceeded.
  • Conferences are an amazing learning experience! Take fully advantage of them!