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.

Mentoring committee
In consultation with their primary postdoctoral advisor, postdoctoral researchers are asked to select 2-3 additional Stowers investigators to serve as mentors to provide additional scientific and career advice and professional support.

Scientific and professional development

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Open Mic

Open Mic Science is an open scientific forum open to any Stowers researcher during the summer months. The casual open platform allows for interdisciplinary discussions of ongoing work and is meant to fuel new ideas and initiate new collaborations.

  • Postdoc Meet-up

Once a month, postdocs informally gather in the library for informal discussions about their science and career plans. The postdocs often invite a more senior scientist to share their experiences and answer questions. These individuals include current PIs and Stowers postdoc alumni that have gone on to start their own labs. These meetings also solidify relationships and contacts amongst postdocs that will serve them throughout their scientific careers.

  • Supergroup Meetings

A series of supergroup meetings brings together Stowers and other local researchers interested in a specific research area to discuss relevant ongoing work at the institute and breaking developments in the field. Currently, the groups that meet include areas of interest in:

Neurobiology

Developmental Biology RNA Club
Chromatin & Gene Expression   Chromosome Segregation

 

 

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.

Research Integrity course
All trainees (postdoctoral associates, fellows and/or graduate students) enroll in the Responsible Conduct of Research course offered at the Stowers Institute at least once during their time at the institute. The intensive, 19-contact-hour course covers ethical considerations and recommended best practices for topics that span the research experience. The course is team-taught by over twenty Stowers faculty and combines didactic training in the areas of laboratory best practices with discussion-based learning focused around case studies that illustrate the related principles of research integrity.