Humor Medicine Science

What kind of PI am I?

For those not in academic biomedical research, “PI” stands for “principal investigator”; i.e., the person who wrote the grant that funds the laboratory effort and (usually) the leader of the laboratory. Unlike Revere, I’ve only been a PI for around 8 years and an NIH-funded PI for only around two and a half years, I still remember what it was like to be a graduate student and then a postdoc laboring away under my PI, all for the greater glory of his name (and, hopefully, mine), as well as to produce preliminary data to bolster the next grant application.

Via Revere, I find this rather amusing take on the Nine Types of Principal Investigators:


I haven’t decided which kind of PI I am. On most days, I’m probably the Laid Back type; other days, the Science Wonk or the Big Talker. On rare occasions I can be the Psycho or Control Freak (these times usually coincide with the month before a grant deadline), but that’s very uncommon–at most a couple of times a year. There are also times when I like to think I’m a Rising Star, but that may be an exaggeration. One thing’s for sure, I’m definitely not the DemiGod, nor am I likely ever to be one.

Another odd observation is that both PIs that I worked for for an extended period of time most resemble Big Talkers. They thought big, talked big, and emphasized the big picture, motivating me to find my niche in the machine trying to advance the overall project and keeping me motivated about how important it was. That’s not a bad thing.

If you’re a PI, what kind of PI are you? If you’re a graduate student or postdoc, what kind of a PI is your PI?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

Comments are closed.