Dr. Dole’s Bone Energetics and Metabolism (BEAM) laboratory focuses on understanding the impact of nutritional variation on bone development and repair, and the role bone plays in maintaining energy metabolism. We use disease models and take micro and macro-scale approaches to gain a comprehensive insight into fundamental mechanisms linking nutrition and bone energetics to defective bone mechanics that shape our overall physiology. Our ultimate goal is to leverage bone and target bone physiology for restoring metabolic health and improving physical performance and quality of life in humans.
Current projects in the Dole lab investigate:
- The role of nutriepigenomics in regulating the bone structure and function
- The mechanisms implicated in obesity-linked skeletal diseases
- The role of novel adipokines in driving bone remodeling
- The impact of maternal nutrition on the microarchitecture and quality of bones from the offspring
Lab Philosophy and Values
Our mission is to improve human physiology and quality of life by alleviating musculoskeletal ailments, especially chronic metabolic diseases. We can only achieve this goal by working as a team that respects individual perspectives, encourages creativity, nurtures learning, accepts challenges, and values personal health and work-life balance. The Dole lab is a safe environment for every lab member to learn, grow, and achieve their career and personal goals, and all lab members should abide by the following values to maintain lab harmony:
Kindness and Collegiality
A considerate lab environment is integral to the health and well-being of its members. So it is paramount that we are thoughtful, respectful, and encouraging towards each other. Together we are responsible for creating a collegial, safe, and productive environment for each other to promote personal and professional growth. Each lab member’s success contributes to our team and community’s success.
Diversity and Inclusion
Science is a global pursuit, and we believe that diversity of people, backgrounds, ideas, and abilities is key to advancing science. We acknowledge and celebrate the presence of diversity in our lab and department. The Dole lab not only strives to dismantle barriers pertaining to racial bias in all forms but also advocates for gender equity and diversity in STEM. We are actively seeking members from underrepresented groups and are creating a lab representative of society as a whole.
Communicating is essential for our team’s success, be it communicating our science to the public or a group of scientists, clinicians, trainees, or communicating with members of your lab. The Dole lab recognizes the value of frequent and open communication, and we ensure that all members are heard and all voices are valued. We are always open to constructive feedback and believe that growth can only occur when we are willing to have meaningful conversations about our science. Apart from communicating science, as your mentor, I want us to periodically discuss your career goals, which might shift from time to time, your obstacles, and your expectations from me. Through this exercise, I want us to be on the same page throughout your tenure in my lab. Remember, I am in your corner, and my role is to guide you through your journey.
As required by our funding sources, all researchers within the Dole laboratory have to abide by scientific research ethics and practice integrity in science. Scientific integrity is vital because it creates trust, and trust is at the heart of the research process. Researchers must be able to trust each other’s work and be trusted by society since they provide scientific expertise that may impact people’s lives. The six best practices that are encouraged in the Dole lab to instill scientific integrity in the lab are:
- To undergo responsible conduct in research every three years to detect, discuss, and resolve grey areas in scientific research and what might be ethically challenging situations.
- Strengthen scientific integrity in research through better oversight. Ask questions regarding controls, methodology, data analysis, statistics, and data interpretation to encourage the best research practices amongst ourselves.
- Encourage reproducibility of research through transparency. If another lab member can’t reproduce your experiment, it is your responsibility to help them troubleshoot the caveats and ensure that your findings are reproducible. We will not publish an investigation that has not been repeated at least four times with ample technical replicates.
- Ensure that your documentation of lab notes is up to date. Seek help from me if you struggle to keep up with experimental notes. Experiments conducted using federal grant funds must be maintained in a physical format, and failing to do so can jeopardize your and the lab’s future.
- Design rigorous and comprehensive evaluation criteria that recognize the validity and rigor of the data.
- Establish open science as a standard operating procedure throughout our scientific career and Look in scientific journals for whether the high standards of quality and scientific integrity are met.
Safety and Cleanliness
Your health and safety in the lab are most important; hence all lab members must complete and renew the environmental health safety training as per UAMS regulations. All lab members must also keep updated on vaccination requirements per UAMS guidelines. Safety and cleanliness go hand in hand, so keep your personal and shared lab benches organized and safe at all times. All tubes and storage containers, including waste containers, should be labeled with the chemical name, date, and lab member’s initials. Shared spaces, including the cell culture room, must be kept clean and tidy. As a lab, we will conduct a spring clean-up event, and all lab members must participate in this event.
Mental and Physical Well-Being
Taking care of your physical and mental health should be your top priority. I encourage everyone to explore different fitness and nutrition programs accessible to UAMS employees. Avoid mental fatigue by taking periodic breaks, discussing your tipping points, and working with your lab family to figure out solutions. One of the most common ways to be mentally drained and fatigued is by comparing your research and progress with others. Remember, different disciplines have different metrics for productivity, and your anxiety will only curb your productivity and derail your career plans. Be proactive in seeking help and measure your productivity by tracking your IDP regularly. Judge your tenure in the Dole lab by what you learned and how you grew than by what or where you published.
Are You Thinking About Joining?
We are recruiting new graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to our lab. You don’t need a background in bone biology to join our lab. We value passion, enthusiasm, a positive attitude, perseverance, and a desire to work hard to learn our science. We believe in the creativity, insights, and viewpoints that our newest members can bring. In Dole lab, we strive to provide a supportive research environment with career development and training opportunities for every lab member while pursuing exciting and transformative science.