Lab Research Ethics

The Shalek Lab aims to understand and engineer how human tissues function. We develop and apply new analytical tools to enable fundamental discoveries, and thereby seek strategies to prevent and cure diseases. We study autoimmunities, infections, and cancers that afflict people around the world. Our approach is to collaborate extensively with local and global partners, including those impacted directly or indirectly by a disease, fellow scientists and clinicians, and funders. Our scientific strategy begins by examining human diseases directly, working with samples donated by study participants. This helps us to identify key factors associated with disease development and severity. By proving the importance of these factors in relevant model systems, we uncover new targets to improve or restore human health.

We deeply value and respect the work we do, and are mindful that it serves a purpose outside of ourselves, our lab, and research science. We wholeheartedly believe that studies of humans should put people first. Our research is challenging and its outcomes often uncertain; nevertheless, we have agency to control how we approach our work, and recognize the significant and meaningful impact that our actions can have on others within the scientific community and beyond. Therefore, through our words and deeds, we seek to honor those who contribute to and benefit from our work – especially those from communities that have been traditionally exploited, marginalized, and underserved by biomedical research.

Therefore, we are committed to:

  • Recognizing that everyone who partners with us in our research is an equal contributor.
  • Giving our trust early and continuously earning it from others.
  • Listening carefully, internalizing, and centering the hopes and needs of our partners – especially those who are most vulnerable.
  • Respecting the humanity of patients and study participants throughout projects and partnerships by ensuring that:
    • our studies speak to the real-world needs of patients and study participants
    • our study participants are fully informed and willingly engaged
    • our goals actively and accurately represent patients’ and study participants’ wishes for improved outcomes – whether for themselves, their community, or other patients – now and in the future
  • Engaging the community at large (beyond the immediate scope of our research) – whether patients, study participants, biomedical coworkers, funders, or more general audiences – through active training, capacity creation, outreach, and dialogue.
  • Ensuring our partners derive equal or greater benefit from our joint activities than we do.