Paul Metzler is nominated in the Lab Heroes Awards - TM

Paul Metzler, Chaudhary Lab, Dartmouth College, US

08 Dec 2023
Paul Metzler, Chaudhary Lab, Dartmouth College, US

"Paul holds the position of lab manager in our mycorrhizal ecology lab at Dartmouth College. Paul is the primary person responsible for the everyday operation of the lab, which includes training new undergraduate workers and supporting ongoing post-doctoral, graduate student, and PI-led projects. Not only does he perform his duties in an exemplary manner, Paul is also an exceptional mentor and supervisor of our students, and has played an immensely positive role in shaping the next generation of scientists.

Aided in no small part by his warm and welcoming disposition, sense of humor, and personability, Paul genuinely connects with our students and garners their respect from the first day. Paul uses a gentle, guiding approach to mentorship and supervision and offers our students the space to learn and develop. Through his technical training, students rapidly gain “bench” skills and learn the practical methods associated with our research. With his encouragement, students feel confident and prepared to move beyond the bench and begin to design their own experiments. Paul’s expertise in our field provides a strong advantage in helping to shape the research questions and approaches of students as they develop their own projects.

Thanks to Paul’s mentorship and encouragement, multiple students in the lab have learned how to conduct research in our field and have also secured significant funding to conduct research on and off-campus. We are tremendously grateful to Paul for his management of the lab, and for his mentorship and guidance of our lab members. Paul ensures we all hold a sense of accomplishment in our work, continuously highlighting achievements and presenting mistakes as learning opportunities. Most importantly, Paul has made the lab a welcoming place for students to flourish into the next generation of scientists in our field.

Paul’s exceptionally positive attitude and determination are best illustrated by the story of the trapped bird. This summer, a small songbird became trapped in our building on campus for nearly two weeks. Facilities and building workers tried to no avail to capture the bird and resigned to wait for the bird to die. However, Paul refused to give up on the bird and strategically left it food and water near the building’s exit; he was eventually able to free the bird by visiting after dark and attracting the bird to the exit using lights. Paul’s perseverance is both inspirational and imperative when troubleshooting the challenges that arise in research."

Nominated by Sarah Cuprewich, Chaudhary Lab, Dartmouth College, US