Postdoctoral fellows are often the unsung heroes of laboratory research. Transitioning between the learning experience of graduate school and the weighty responsibility of heading up their own laboratories, these researchers can bring invaluable support and creativity to the scientific effort.
|Aprille Seidel, left, and David Finger (Photo by Darrin S. Joy)|
In recent years, postdoctoral fellows have begun striving to increase their visibility and stature in the scientific community and expand opportunities to share and build their skills. The National Postdoctoral Association, or NPA, has led the charge, and City of Hope’s Postdoctoral Studies Office recently participated in the association’s first-ever National Postdoc Appreciation Day.
The event, held Sept. 24, comprised 70 gatherings of fellows and faculty in 27 U.S. states as well as two in Canada and one in Australia.
City of Hope joined with the California Institute of Technology, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for the Pasadena, Calif., event. Postdoctoral fellows and faculty from the four institutions and others met to honor postdoctoral fellows and to foster collaborations between institutions.
David Finger, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Biology’s Division of Radiation Biology, and postdoctoral fellow Aprille Seidel, Ph.D., of the Department of Virology, led City of Hope’s efforts to organize the event.
“Our goal was to spotlight postdoctoral scholars and the contributions they make to research enterprise in the L.A. area and nationwide,” said Finger, who chairs NPA’s national Outreach Committee.
The meeting drew more than 100 attendees from the four organization institutions, according to Finger, and nationwide individual membership in the NPA jumped by more than 35 percent afterward. He hopes future events will continue the trend.
Founded in 2003, the NPA works collaboratively with research institutions, scientific funding agencies and other organizations to foster administrative and policy changes in support of postdoctoral fellows. For more information, visit www.nationalpostdoc.org.