Postdoctoral Research - Mentoring

Postdoctoral research is a critical period for accomplished young investigators to gain further experience and the credentials necessary to launch independent research careers. At the Stowers Institute, the intense collaboration between faculty members and postdoctoral researchers combined with a strong mentoring program provides an unparalleled experience and opportunity to obtain the necessary skills young scientists need to excel on their own.

Faculty liaison
Currently, Dr. Jerry Workman heads the postdoctoral training program at the Stowers Institute. He serves as a contact and resource for postdoctoral researchers in addition to the principal investigators. A dedicated mentor, Dr. Workman has trained several generations of postdoctoral researchers, many of whom have gone on and established successful research careers of their own.

Centralized recruitment program
Choosing the right lab is just as important as choosing the right research project. To help postdoctoral researchers find the best environment for their specific goals the Stowers Institute created a centralized recruitment program. Candidates interested in taking advantage of the centralized Recruitment Program are offered the opportunity to meet with several Stowers investigators and postdocs in their respective labs during the interview process. Once they start talking, investigators and postdoctoral candidates with different scientific interests quite often discover common ground leading to exciting new ideas and research directions.

Senior Co-mentors
In consultation with their primary postdoctoral advisor, postdoctoral researchers are offered the opportunity to choose a second Stowers principal investigator to serve as a co-mentor to provide additional scientific and career advice and professional support.

Seminars, symposia and lectures

  • Young Investigator Research Symposium

Held annually at the Stowers Institute, this event provides postdocs with the opportunity to host leading international scientists and present their own research.

  • Friday Science Club

Postdocs participate in this weekly institute-wide seminar series to hone their presentation skills and discuss the direction of their research. The presentations are followed by an informal end-of-week program to encourage discussions between institute members and foster collaborations.

 
  • Wednesday Lectures

The intensive seminar program brings internationally renowned scientists to the institute on a regular basis. Postdoctoral researchers have the opportunity to meet with invited speakers over lunch to discuss science and make important connections. They also select and host several speakers each year.

  • Supergroup Meetings

A series of monthly supergroup meetings brings together researchers interested in a specific research area to discuss relevant ongoing work at the institute and breaking developments in the field. Currently, the following groups meet on a regular basis:

 

Neurobiology
Participating labs:
Ron Yu
Kausik Si
Rong Li
Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
Hiroshi Nishimuni (KUMC)

Developmental Biology
Participating labs:
Susan Abmayr
Matt Gibson
Robb Krumlauf
Paul Kulesa
Tatjana Piotrowski
Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
Paul Trainor
RNA Club
Participating labs:
Peter Baumann
Kausik Si
Bioinformatics group


Communication Skills
Scientists spend a lot of time and effort to hone their formal presentation skills but communicating effectively with colleagues in social settings takes practice, too. At Stowers postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to interact with guest lecturers during informal faculty lounge-gatherings and to join invited guest speakers and their faculty hosts for dinner to gain exposure and practice networking skills, both of which are indispensable for a future career.

Ethics course
All trainees (postdoctoral associates, fellows and/or graduate students) enroll in the research integrity course offered at the Stowers Institute at least once during their time at the institute. The course is based on eight real-life case histories, which are presented and discussed by the audience before the outcome of the case is revealed.