Wednesday, January 24, 2007


New Link Added: Bio Job Blog

This is a great news site posted by a fellow PhD and AMWA member. If you are interested in medical communications career, many of his posts are targeted in that direction.

Noteworthy posts include:

Discussion on medical writing and communications training certificates
Gloomy days at Pfizer
Cogent definition of medical communications
Some non-bland interview tips

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Pfizer to Lay-off 10,000 Workers

As part of this 'restructuring', Michigan is being hit very hard, for Pfizer is closing its Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor campuses. I do not have anything astute to add except to say that it is saddening and unnerving given job searches take ~6 months and you are competing with your peers in a small job market. More discussion here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The Taxman Cometh

For those postdocs paid under the moniker of "certain government payments" i.e. are required to file quarterly, 1/16/2007 is the due date for last quarterly federal tax payments of 2006.

Federal taxes must be sent by mail, NC state income taxes are due 1/15/2007 but there is now a web link where you can pay your pound of flesh for a small fee. (I personally prefer making them fuss with a piece of mail and wait for a check to clear).


Friday, January 05, 2007


CSBN Seminar Series, Featuring BD Technologies

Albert A. Lauritano is the director of business developement at BD Technologies, the corporate and innovation research center for BD, a medical technology company with a worldwide footprint. He will be speaking on his experiences in both large and small biomedical industries. The event is at UNC Chapel Hill and is open to the public.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


CED Biotech Forum, Monday January 22nd, 2007

The first CEDNC Biotech Forum of 2007 covers partnering among biotech companies. Postdocs can benefit from attending this event by a) being educated on how certain aspects of business operate in industry and b) meeting new people who have already secured an industry position.

Unless you find a way to get drunk and dance tabletops during the talks, chances are you will only benefit by attending.

Featured panelists include:

Check back here to register.


Healthcare Businesswomen's Association January Event

I have posted about the HBA many times, and I want to emphasize to all the female biomedical scientists out there what great networking and mentoring opportunities their RTP chapter events provide. This month's event is open to non-members and focuses on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I don't think I will ever be convinced that this is possible as a postdoc, but I would check it out anyways.

The Art of Balancing Life

Tuesday January 16th, 2007

NC Biotechnology Center

Congressional Room

15 T.W. Alexander Drive

Research Triangle Park, NC 27709


Program Agenda:
5:30-6:30 Registration and Networking

6:30-7:00 Soup and Salad Buffet

7:00-8:30 Program

Register online

Monday, December 18, 2006


Comment Moderation, Engaged!

So those of you looking for Viagra, Cialis, and a bigger bust in 30 days as well as other quackery will have to click elsewhere. There have been too many junk comments recently.

News is slow given the holidays, but this forum will be updated more often after the new year. Please continue to check back!

In the meantime, if you need a sobering read, check out Peter Fiske's new science careers blog. Particularly, "Watching a Train Wreck, part 1".


Friday, December 15, 2006


Best Places to Work for Postdocs 2007

The annual The Scientist postdocs survey is up, and this is your chance to rate your institution. Check out the link.

All those who complete the survey by January 10, 2007 may choose to enter a prize drawing for a gift certificate worth $250 from

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Speculative Job Ads

Dave Jensen at started a thread on the value of job ads posted online and explains why they are of decreasing usefulness for the typical job seeker:

"One company that I know buys so many job ads that they've brought the price down on a major job posting site to as little as $5 per ad. This means, I'm afraid, that managers can run many different versions of an ad. Some companies use the job ad as a screening tool, not just to find the right candidates, but to identify the right kind of job description. "

This is an important point, and illustrative of why time spent applying online may be of limited use compared to finding ways to get your resume/CV physically in the hands of the as-of-yet unidentified hiring manager for a particular position. I will admit, the latter can feel scarier.


Quintiles Expanding Durham Office

All the more reason to get your clinical ducks in a row (or start finding some ducks to begin with... or maybe dressing your chickens as ducks...particularly since at the NIEHS we are overrun with Canadian Geese--would those doing resume screening know the difference?)

Mangled, tongue-in-cheek metaphors aside, there are bound to be a few extra PhD jobs in there over the next 6 years, and it is wise to watch the direction of expanding companies in the area.


Monday, November 27, 2006


Postdoc Journal Competition from Nature Jobs

For several years Nature magazine has had an electronic graduate journal that featured commentary and stories from graduate student columnists. Finally, the Nature editorial staff has decided that postdocs need a dedicated voice as well and is accepting applications from postdocs who feel that they could be an engaging journal keeper. A one year commitment to a monthly column is required regardless of your future employment status.

This is of course a great opportunity to fuel your personal PR machine as well as build a portfolio as a budding science writer.


Saturday, November 18, 2006


December CED Biotech Forum Announced

When: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 5:00-8:00pm
Where: Schiciano Auditorium of the Fitzpatrick Center at Duke University
Registration: $20 for CED members; $30 for non-members (on-site registration higher)

The goal of this month's forum is to discuss current venture capital investment trends in the biotechnology sector and to explain how the VC landscape has changed in recent years.

Speakers Include:

  • Vipin K. Garg, Ph.D., President & CEO, Tranzyme Pharma
  • Garheng Kong, Partner, Intersouth Partners
  • Carol A. Marino, Vice President Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation
  • Sherrill Neff, Managing Partner, Quaker BioVentures
  • Ed Torres, Principal, Lilly Ventures


NC Museum of Natural Sciences Science Cafe, 11/28/2006

Copied from the above link:

TUESDAY, November 28, 6:30–8:30 pm

Science Café is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore current topics in science and technology. Science Café programs take place in coffee shops, bars and restaurants around Raleigh.

Location: Zely and Ritz at 301 Glenwood Ave. Directions
Topic: Human Space Flight: Return to the Moon and Mission to Mars
Speakers: Dr. Fred Dejarnette and Dr. Andre Mazzoleni from NCSU Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

NASA's Vision for Space Exploration plans for a return to the moon by the end of the next decade to pave the way for eventual Mars colonization. After completing the International Space Station and retiring the shuttle fleet by 2010, humans and robotic explorers are set to work together on these new journeys.

This Science Cafe will explore the technical aspects of the human species next steps off planet earth. These steps may include following a wave of robotic probes that will prepare the way for a permanent human presence and garner the resources needed to secure the survival of our future generations.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Katey Ahmann at 919.733.7450, ext. 531. or

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Interviewing And Living Through It

Thanks to 'SS' at the forum for sharing this. Although it is chemistry-specific, I think the points mentioned are relevant to us biomedical folks as well.

(However, I do find the artwork at the head of the post very, very odd. Why is there a Rubenesque naked women in heels and men with swords and fezzes?)

Based on recent experiences, I would add the following thought:

Interviewers may ask you to interview them as their way of determining how prepared you are. This may be more likely to happen when speaking to upper management that you would not be working directly with in the job (i.e. CEO).

Trust me -- It can help to have this in mind ahead of time.


Monday, November 13, 2006


New Link Added: Auerbach's Pharmacology and Toxicology Links

A potpourri of info is linked to one spot here, and I in particular enjoy the blogs section very much. Check it out next time you feel like taking a random stroll through the Pharma/Tox web.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Words That Weaken Your Resume

This article goes through a bunch of common resume words and explains how these either gum-up your resume with inefficient formulations or detract from your accomplishments.

I agree that highlighting accomplishments in the clearest way possible is a good move. But the article dissuades the use of 'responsible for' because it relegates your accomplishments to a laundry list of duties. I would argue that mentioning your responsibilities can show leadership, although I am not a hiring manager.

Additionally, as far as the word 'interface' goes, I think that is a perfect, compact word for one who works with interdisciplinary teams. In fact, many bioinformaticists in industry act as liaisons between the hardcore programmers and the bench biologists. Wait, sorry, 'liaison' is bad word too....

Of course Yahoo HotJobs does not have the last say on resume advice, but it seems that there is a ton of conflicting advice out there that can really fray the nerves of job seekers. After all, we always hear how our carefully crafted applications have <45 seconds to impress hiring managers, GSK has 20K+ resumes submitted via their website a week, and improper keyword usage can cause a database to hold your resume hostage.

So I do not have any solutions, but comments on the anti-keywords are appreciated.


Friday, November 10, 2006


Join the National Postdoctoral Association Marketing and Public Relations Committee

This is a unique opportunity to gain marketing experience, which is not something normally available to us as research scientists.

Due to the new affiliate membership category, everyone at the NIEHS, Duke, and UNC Chapel Hill is eligible to participate on NPA committees for free.

Individual membership for postdocs and graduate students at other locations is a low $35/year.

Having these business and leadership skills on your CV/resume can put your name to the top of the candidate list. This is a critical part of your training that is underdeveloped and underemphasized by most academic settings.

Marketing duties include:

  • Create and implement new ways to draw postdocs into the NPA, particularly if they do not have a postdoc office at their institution.
  • Develop and implement an Annual Marketing Plan. The marketing plan will be derived from the NPA Business Plan and the NPA Strategic Plan.
  • Monitor publications and other communication vehicles for coverage of issues affecting the postdoctoral community. Seek out opportunities to respond as appropriate.
  • Cultivate relationships with members of the news media, especially those serving the above audiences. Maintain the NPA Press List.
  • Maintain the NPA Press Room on the NPA website.
contact if interested

Thursday, November 09, 2006


RTP Postdocs Happy Hour!

Faithful readers: Let's meet up on for an informal happy hour at

Satisfaction Restaurant and Bar in Durham.

Look for the balloons that say 'NIEHS'. All are welcome.

Friday, November 17th 2006

Don't be shy! C'mon out and meet new people!

Organized by the NIEHS Trainees Association


Espresso Careers: Science Outreach and K-12 Education

Tuesday November 21st, 2006
UNC Chapel Hill
Registration required

Join PhD scientists working in the area of science education outreach and K-12 Education for a discussion about their careers and their career path. Enjoy gourmet coffee, pastries and bagels and a panel comprised of Carla Easter, PhD, Science Education Specialist at National Human Genome Research Institute; Rochelle Swartz Bloom, PhD, Professor Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Director Pharmacology Education Partnership at Duke University; Jory Weintraub, PhD, Science Education and Outreach Manager at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center; Christine Muth, PhD, Instructor of Biology at North Carolina School of Science and Math.

Thanks to the UNC Postdoctoral Office

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


2006 BioPharma Forum

Friday, November 3rd. 2006
7AM - 1pm

The NC Biotech Center is hosting this event which features presentations but pharmaceutical leaders as well as newcomers to the industry.

There is no charge, but preregistration is requested.

Speakers include:

* George B. Abercrombie, President and CEO, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.
Topic: Roche's Approach to the Bird Flu Pandemic

* Robert McMahan, Senior Science and Technology Advisor to the State of NC and Executive Director, NC Board of Science and Technology
Topic: Biotechnology Industries and North Carolina

* Indu Parikh, President and CSO, and Thomas H. Roberg, Vice Chairman and CDO, BioMarck Pharmaceuticals
Topic: Working in a Virtual Innovation Environment

* John R. Plachetka, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, POZEN
Topic: The POZEN story

* Chris Viehbacher, President, U.S. Pharmaceuticals, GSK
Topic: Changing the Healthcare Industry: Prevention, Intervention, Innovation


November Breakfast in the Park Seminar Announced

The November Breakfast in the Park will be held on Thursday, November 16, 7:30AM, Radisson RTP.

The speaker will be Rick L. Weddle, President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation. This group oversees the future development of Research Triangle Park.

'Breakfast in the Park' seminars are held once a month and are particularly attractive to those who cannot attend other networking functions in the area due to work constraints. The breakfast costs $15 at preregistration and$20 at the door. Lectures from prior speakers are in mp3 format on the linked site.


BioServe PhD Scientist to Present Monday, November 6th at the NIEHS

11:00-12:00 Monday, November 6th 2006
Executive Conference Room

Dr. Terri Lehman will discuss the use of the Sequenom iPLEX system for performing multiplex SNP analysis. The use of this genotyping platform has significantly reduced the cost of SNP analysis for both large and small projects. BioServe offers high throughput SNP genotyping, and a wide range of genomic services including DNA methylation analysis.

BioServe is a small biotechnology services company located in Laurel, MD.


NC Ph.D./Masters Career Fair

Universities from across the area are teaming up to sponsor a Career Fair.

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006
1:00 pm - 4:30
Friday Center, Chapel Hill, NC

30 employers will be exhibiting and accepting CV's/resumes.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Biomarck VP of R&D to Speak at November CSBN Seminar

From his biosketch at

Dr. Ted Murphy has approximately 15 years of research and regulatory experience in academia and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining BioMarck, he consulted for several years for major U.S. pharmaceutical companies, was then the Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs for Cato Research, and served as Director of Regulatory at Research Triangle Institute. Dr. Murphy has led efforts that resulted in FDA approval of a biologic to treat infant botulism, a rare (orphan) disease, directed an effort that resulted in FDA approval of a new chemical entity to treat a rare gastrointestinal disease, and has submitted more than 10 successful INDs.

The seminar will be at UNC on November 15th, 4pm, Bioinformatics Bldg room #1131. This event is open to the public, so take the opportunity to meet a biotech insider!


Saturday, October 21, 2006


Attention Visiting Scholars: Visa Lottery Deadline

The Department of State (DOS) has announced the registration period for the 2008 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2008), or Green Card lottery.

Registration began October 4, 2006 and ends December 3, 2006. Applications can only be submitted electronically; no other forms of submission, such as mail-in applications, will be accepted.

Instructions and eligibility requirements are provided here.

Scam Warning: DOS does not charge a fee to enter the DV lottery. A common scam is for imposter web sites or emails that charge a fee to process DV lottery applications. Scientists should always be wary of providing personal information and payment to questionable web sites or emails. A warning on imposter sites is located here.

Friday, October 20, 2006


College Teaching Resources

Many postdocs wonder how they can attain more teaching experience when at a place without students, such as a government institute or other nonprofit. Dr. Debbie Swope of the NIEHS Office of Fellows' Career Development has some resources for you:

1) Duke has a Professional Development Center for its graduate students, which includes a teaching component. You can access the Blackboard website for the "Introduction to College Teaching" class for free (click on "Courses" and enter "gs302"), which provides course materials and assignments. Also, on the Blackboard for this class under "External Links", there are several links to help you with teaching statements/portfolios.

2) Appalachian State University has a website with resources on teaching:

3) Northwestern University has an "Online Assistance with Teaching" site at with lots of great Q&A. There is another site with links to teaching and learning resources at

4) Princeton University's McGraw Center has a website called "The Scholar as Teacher Tip Sheet" that has links to good topics.

5) Syracuse University’s Center for Support of Teaching and Learning has good links under “Resources.”

6) The national "Preparing Future Faculty" graduate programs website also has some teaching and mentoring resources.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Videos on NIH Funding Opportunities, Peer Review and Grant Writing now available

Stanford University has posted videos of grant writing workshops presented by Anthony Coelho, Ph.D. , Review Policy Officer, NIH on their website. There are two videos available---one on scientific peer review and the other on "grant writing for success". There is also a link to a video on a mock study section that shows you how applications are reviewed.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


CSBN Seminar on Patent Law Careers - October 25th, 2006

CSBN really has a great series of seminars on alternative careers.

This month the speaker is Arles A. Taylor, Jr., a former researcher at the NIEHS. He has practiced in biotech and chemical patent law for over eleven years, and can practice for the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

He is a specialist in intellectual property issues, and I encourage anyone interested in this alternative avenue of employment to attend his lecture.

Check out the link for details!


Sunday, October 15, 2006


HBA Opens Its November Networking Luncheon to Nonmembers

The Healthcare Businesswomen's Association has the mission of aiding the career advancement of women who work in the biomedical arena as well as fostering collegiality between those of all career types and stages.
As a member, one is eligible to attend monthly networking luncheons and the majority of participants have advanced graduate degrees in scientific fields. This invitation to nonmembers represents an unparalleled opportunity for women in biomedical science to make new connections and find mentors outside of academia.

Approximately 30-50 individuals attend.

November 9th, 2006

Cafe Parizade of Durham

See the link for more info


Wednesday, October 11, 2006


SAS-JMP Webinar

Perhaps you are a regular SAS-JMP user, interested in the package, or like me have it installed yet have not found the time to tinker with it. If so, JMP-start (ack! terrible!) the learning process by listening to some webinars. Two are available on 10/16 and 10/20 which tackle the topic of processing voluminous high-throughput datasets. Interestingly, SAS has archived previous webinars that can be viewed at your leisure.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Grant Opportunity - 1 Gigabase of DNA Sequencing!

(note -- you may have to enter your country first and then retype the address)

Roche Applied Science wants to know what you would do with 1 gigabase of free DNA sequencing performed on a 454 Life Sciences Genome Sequencer System. A 1000-word grant proposal is requested and the recipient would supply all samples whereas Roche would generate the data.

This is a fantastic opportunity for young scientists to attain grant writing practice as well as take a research project that extra mile. Peruse their web site for more information detailing their technology, for the applications go beyond simple PCR amplicon resequencing.

Subscribers to the print version of
Science may notice that the 10/5 issue came packaged with a booklet that describes the sequencing methodology and highlights papers that relied on the technology. Recently, a sizeable chunk of woolly mammoth DNA was sequenced by this system thus invigorating the field of paleogenomics.

Proposals are due December 8th and notification of the winner will occur in January.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


CED Biotech Forum, October 16th 2006

The theme is 'Meet the New Companies' where young area biotech firms will be on hand to discuss their technologies, business plans, and financing strategies.

Participating companies include Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, Cempra Pharmaceuticals, and Vascular Pharmaceuticals. The session is moderated by Peter Johnson, CEO of Scintellix.

This is a good opportunity to take an evening and learn first hand about the real struggles of entrepreneurship as well as network with participants.

See the link above for registration.
$20 CED and NCBIO Members ($25 on-site) / $30 Non-members ($40 on-site)

Monday, September 25, 2006


Area Fellows: Kick off the Fall with KickBall!

The RTP EPA Networking and Leadership Training Organization (NTLO, their onsite postdoc and grad student group) is seeking members for a Co-ed kickball team as part of a local league.

Registration is approximately $40, and at least 14 committed individuals are needed to form a team.

Games would be on Tuesday nights at ~6:30-7:30.

If interested in registering, please email by this Friday (9/29) if possible.
(but if it is Monday and you are just now reading this, email anyways!)
Thanks to Mary at the EPA for this info!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Introducing the Park Guide: RTP News and Events

The site for this quarterly magazine hosts a blog as well as 'Breakfast in the Park', an early AM seminar series featuring speakers from the life sciences and technology industries in RTP. If 7:30 is too early for you, they also post a podcast of the talk downloadable from their home page.

Previous speakers have included executives from local biotech companies and consulting firms.


New RTP Interest Group: Chromosomal Biology and Epigenetics

Monthly meetings will feature two ~ 30 minute presentations from local scientists (presentations from postdoctoral fellows and graduate students are encouraged) including groups from UNC, Duke, and NIEHS. The first meeting will be Monday, October 30, 5:45 PM at the NC Biotech Center.

Their kick-off event is previously posted Atlantic Coast Chromatin Conference on 9/30 at UNC.

Contact Paul Wade at the NIEHS to be added to the mailing list.


NIEHS Trainees Assembly Meeting, Friday September 29

NIEHS Fellows, Graduate students, and trainees (there are over 200 of you!):

Annual NTA Assembly Meeting
Friday, September 29th 2006
2-3pm, Rodbell 101 B

  • Presentation: Monica Horvath, NTA Chair and Debbie Swope, Office of Fellows' Career Dev.
  • Comment period
  • Visit NTA sub-committee tables
Raffle and Refreshments provided!

As an NIEHS fellow, this is your chance to
  • Learn what services the NTA provides
  • Communicate your needs to enrich your NIEHS experience
  • Volunteer for committee work that covers a wide range of projects
PS: Show you initiative!
Participation looks fantastic on your CV/resume and builds your network!


Carolina Student Biotechnology Network

You may have noticed that CSBN is featured on our links panel, and this group would like YOU to know more about their activities:

"The Carolina Student Biotechnology Network (CSBN) is a non-profit, student organization promoting career development, education, entrepreneurship, and industry outreach. Our mission is to host events and provide services that allow members to explore and pursue careers in the life science industry.

While based at UNC-Chapel Hill, membership is open students and postdocs at all regional universities/institutions, as well as industry professionals. CSBN hosts numerous events throughout the school year such as a monthly seminar series, lunch with industry professionals, social events, and much more. If you are at all interested in CSBN, we encourage you to visit our website ( and sign up to become a member (membership is free). As a member you will receive email updates regarding all CSBN events, as well as the CSBN Access newsletter featuring profiles of regional companies, news regarding relevant events in RTP, and more. Provided there is sufficient interest from students/postdocs at other area universities, we will attempt to host some future CSBN events at those schools."

Much thanks to Justin Brown, UNC, CSBN Executive Committee


New Science Careers FAQ available hosts a popular and highly active forum moderated by Dave Jenson. This is an exceptional resource where one can ask specific questions from industry experts, get advice and perspective on work-related issues, and discuss science and education policy. Participants are exceptionally well-informed and have great passion for these issues.

Dave has recently composed a comprehensive FAQ that not only summarizes answers to some of the most common questions, but links the relevant discussion threads as well.

Some great entries include:
"My postdoc is not working out. My project does not seem to be going well, or I am not getting along with my PI. Should I leave?"

How will my career be affected if I do a second postdoctoral fellowship?"

Should I take a job as a research assistant professor?"

"What do I need to know to interview successfully by telephone?

"What do I do if they ask me about my salary expectations?"

How do I work with a recruiter to advance my career? Who should pay a recruiter's fees?"

"How do I identify the hiring manager?"

What other options are available if I have a PhD in the sciences but do not wish to work at the laboratory bench?"

The opinions are varied and included people from wide range of perspectives. With the data available forum-wide, Dave could really compose a fantastic book that should be put in the hands of every aspiring or practicing scientist.

Check it out!


Thursday, September 21, 2006


David Clayton, VP and CSO of Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Speak at NIEHS

"Mammalian Mitochondrial DNA Replication: What We Know"

David A. Clayton, Ph.D.

Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer,

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Monday, September 25, 2006

10:00 - 11:00AM

Rall Bldg. Rodbell ABC

David A. Clayton, Ph.D., is the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Prior to joining HHMI, he was a professor of both pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University. He has made several highly significant contributions to our understanding of mitochondrial DNA replication and transcription.

Monday, September 18, 2006


September 30th is National Museum Day

On this day participating museums are teaming up with the Smithsonian Institution to provide free access. You can download your pass here and peruse the list of participating venues here.

Although the list of participants local to RTP is lackluster (I believe most of our local museums are free already!), perhaps you will be in another part of the country that day or could share this with friends and relatives.

Being from Pittsburgh, I could spend days as a college kiddo in the fantastic Carnegie Museums, but those were definitely not free. On the 30th, however, they will be.



Free SBIR/STTR Workshop in Raleigh on October 18th

Do you have an entrepreneurial attitude? Do you think you have what it takes to translate your science into a start-up company?

If so, SBIR/STTR grant workshops will be held in Wilmington, Charlotte, and Raleigh in October. These federal grants provide seed money for research-based businesses and have marked the beginning of many R&D companies. The workshop provides a program overview, information on forming a SBIR/STTR-eligible company, and practical advice from awardees.

The flyer can be found here.

You may not be aware that the State of North Carolina runs a program that will match 75% of phase I funding (feasibility research). In the past, NC has also created an incentive program where one could request reimbursement for a portion of the costs incurred in preparing a SBIR/STTR application. Although the incentive program has not been announced for the 2006-2007 application cycle, the website cryptically states:

"The Board has authorized the publication of a Notice of Solicitation for Grant Applications under the North Carolina SBIR/STTR Incentive Program for FY2006-2007."

So perhaps that is a good sign.

Note: The above event is focused towards those applying to the DOD (Department of Defense) program. A workshop will be held on 10/24 at UNC Charlotte geared towards NIH applications, and it will feature Jerry Heindel, a Scientific Program Administrator at the NIEHS.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Carolina Student Biotechnology Network Announces Speakers for Fall Seminar Series

The first speaker will be Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation on 9/27, 3:00pm, at the Michael Hooker Research Bldg., BCBS Rm, UNC. Attendance is open to all.

From CSBN's website:

"Lesa Mitchell is a vice president with the Kauffman Foundation. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. The vision of the Kauffman Foundation is to foster “a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities. ” In service of this vision, and in keeping with our founder’s wishes, the Foundation focuses its grant making and operations on two areas: advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth."

Thursday, September 07, 2006


The PhD Glut

The Scientist has an excellent article on the job-seeking woes of postdocs that uses a mix of anecdotal stories and broad survey statistics to bolster the following viewpoints:
  • Universities produce PhD's at a rate that far exceeds the availability of jobs, and the academic culture clings to this status quo since it generates highly skilled hands available at low cost.
  • Most graduate programs are completely ineffective in training students for alternative careers.
  • Particularly problematic is the rise of 'superpostdoc' positions, funded by soft money, that are marketed with an unofficial promise of a tenure track position. When this later comes up short, these Research Assistant Professors can find themselves painted as 'too academic' for industry.
  • The employment prospects of the average postdoc are tragically comic in light of the heavily bemoaned need for a fatter scientist pipeline.
The fellow holding the 'will work for food' sign (he's a regional manager for AstraZeneca) has some interesting anecdotes on his blog regarding street reaction to his stunt.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Society (GEMS) 24th ANNUAL FALL MEETING, Thursday October 26th, 2006

Oxidative Stress and Damage

Friday Center of the University of North Carolina

100 Friday Center Drive (off of Hwy 54 East), Chapel Hill, NC

So the interesting thing here is that there is a $1000 best talk prize as well as $250 for the best poster within the following participation groups: Technician, grad student, 1st or 2nd year postdoc. This money can be used to travel to a conference of your choice!

Early registration can be done until 9/25 and the fee is $10-$60 depending on your status.


NIEHS Information Technology Survey Still Available

(NIEHS login required)
If you have not done so already and you work at the NIEHS, *please* fill out this 5 minute survey on the effectiveness of your IT support. An outside reviewer is evaluating the cost and quality of computer services here at the NIEHS, and this is *the* time to get your comments heard.

Although I have heard some complain that no one will listen to the results which would make participation moot, it really takes only a few minutes and this gives you the structural foundation for your soapbox the next time you encounter aggravation.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Cool Site: PhD Career Clinic

This site provides a candid commentary on issues surrounding the search for an 'alternative' career that still embraces one's scientific core. Although it is a bit ad-heavy, it is regularly updated with a bevy of honest articles such as "Network Nerves: How Do You Actually Talk to People" and “How Do I Know What I Want to Do with My Life?”

Thanks to Becky for the link

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Ladies--HBA Fall Event is Announced, Tuesday Sept 26!

The RTP Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association is a new and fantastic place to connect with established professionals from all over the Triangle. The membership roster is quite varied and includes CEO's, scientists, clinicians, consultants, medical writers, managers --essentially anyone who works in the local biomedical arena. These are primarily networking events with a dinner and speaker. Registration is open to non-members at a slightly increased cost.

The Art of Getting What You Want: A Woman'’s Guide to Negotiating Everything Better

Join us as Lee Miller, Senior Consultant with The Cabot Advisory Group and the Managing Director of, talks with HBA members and guest on "The Art of Getting What You Want." You don't want to miss the opportunity to learn Lee's groundbreaking tactics, techniques and proven strategies that tap into your innate abilities to convince, collaborate and create. Whether asking for a promotion or negotiating with your clients and vendors, Lee Miller will show you how.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Duke Clinical Research Institute
2424 Erwin Road
Hock Plaza, Auditorium
Duke University Medical Center Campus, Durham

Contact Monica at if you would like to learn more about the HBA.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Industry Scientist to Speak at Laboratory of Experimental Pathology Seminar

Dr. Christopher Houle of Experimental Pathology Laboratories here in RTP will speak on Tuesday, August 29, 1:00PM, Rall conference room A.

Parallels Between Human and Mouse Lung Cancer

EPL is a local CRO that works with the NTP here at NIEHS. Since we schedule only a few non-academic seminar speakers, this is a good opportunity to meet Dr. Houle and ask about life at a CRO.


1st Annual Duke Systems Biology Symposium

The Duke Systems Biology Group and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy announce the 1st Annual Duke Systems Biology Symposium, to be held on the campus of Duke University on Thursday and Friday, September 14-15, 2006. Attendance is free and open to all, but registration is required for our planning purposes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Six Networking Myths: Fact or Fiction?

MSN CareerBuilder has a nice networking article, which I believe covers some of the most common misconceptions.

Thanks for the link, Becky!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Winter Cold Spring Harbor Meetings Announced

November 1 - 5, 2006
Abstract deadline has been extended to September 1, 2006
Topics include: -Metabolic and Insulin Resistance Disorders, NRs in Heart and Muscle Disease, Nuclear Receptors in Cancer, Nuclear Receptors in Inflammation, Nuclear Receptor Architecture & Designer Drug, Estrogen Action & Disease, NRs in the Brain

November 15 - 18, 2006
Abstract Deadline: September 1, 2006
This meeting will focus on the opportunities presented by the growing contribution of emerging genomic information and technologies to interdisciplinary approaches in the study of variable responses of humans to drugs and toxic agents, and how research may benefit the individual. The meeting will provide an in depth focus on diverse areas including the biochemistry and physiology of drug action, uptake and metabolism, and how this is affected by genetics; the opportunities for discovery and design of new therapeutic agents; personalizing medicine; understanding and managing adverse drug reactions; the impact of academic and commercial initiatives; ethical, legal, regulatory and social consequences of genetics applied to medicines.

November 30 - December 3, 2006
Abstract Deadline: September 15, 2006
Proposed Topics: Triplet Repeat Diseases, Tauopathies, Synucleinopathies, Cerebral Amyloidoses, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration, Current Therapies and Prevention, Cell and Gene Transfer
Genetics, Genomics & Patient Selection, Innovative Clinical Study Design

Thanks to Debbie Swope


Science Magazine Seeks Your Opinions on Authorship Issues!

From the 8/22 NPA E-alert:

A reporter for Science Magazine, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee , is seeking personal stories from postdocs regarding the unique challenges associated with obtaining credit as an author for papers developed in collaboration with a supervising Principal Investigator and other colleagues. If you would be interested in sharing your story (confidentiality may be granted), please contact:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


New NIEHS-Sponsored Chromatin Conference, September 30 2006

Atlantic Coast Chromatin Conference

Saturday, September 30
at the
Friday Center in Chapel Hill

Keynote Speaker, Dave Allis
Mitch Smith, John Lucchesi, Yi Zhang, Trevor Archer
Karen Adelman, Beth Sullivan, Greg Crawford

Registration is FREE. To register, send an email to Kristine White (

Posters from symposium participants are welcome. If you are interested in presenting a poster, please email the name of the poster presenter, the names of all other contributors, and the title of the poster to Kristine White (

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


GenomeDance! Coming to Duke 9/14-9/15

If you are skeptical about interpretive dance as a method to bring genome science to the public, well, I'm right there with you. However, based on some of the performance reviews I have read, it could be fun to watch (even if not for the reasons the choreographers intended).

From the Wesleyan Argus, 2/10/2006

"Ted Johnson, in a monastic costume, portrays Gregor Mendel exuberantly.... A large box-like structure covered in a gauzy fabric encloses Johnson for a time on stage. When he leaves it, he engages it in a dance that evokes the feeling of witnessing an internal dialogue in the scientist's mind that gives birth to his discoveries in heredity.... Another "character" used to explain factual information is the flamboyant Miss TATA. Unlike Mendel, Miss TATA is completely fictional; her name is a play on a particular sequence of DNA. As Miss TATA, Elizabeth Johnson mischievously tantalizes the audience as a dominatrix of DNA and cell life. With a flourish of her whip, Miss TATA explains how she turns cells on, provoking the biological processes that determine how our bodies work. She excitedly explains the magic of cell activity, even embracing death."

Duke tickets can be purchased at:


Sunday, August 13, 2006


Tackling the thorny topic of the public understanding of evolution

The science that many of us carry out on a daily basis would not be possible without the process of biological evolution. However, researchers are at odds with certain groups of the lay public who argue against evolution as a tenable theory.

While this may insult many of us to our scientific core, such views and the scientific misunderstandings that create them must be addressed if we are preserve wide-ranging public support for research activities.

AAAS, the publisher of the renown
Science magazine, has released The Evolution Dialogues which stands up evolutionary theory against comments from its detractors. Its goal is to educate both sides to each other's views and find common ground for discussion.

You may find this book a useful study piece to bolster your own conversations. It costs only $11.95 with shipping.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


New Biotech Catalyst Newsletter from NC Biotech Center

Highlights include:

a) Novartis is opening a vaccine plant in Holly Springs, NC to create 350 jobs. Although such facilities often don't do the basic research that creates a relatively large number of PhD jobs, there have got to be a few forthcoming, right? :)

BioSpace will be holding another career fair on November 15th in Durham at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel. I will post to our event calendar once more details are available.

c) The NC legislature voted to revive the
SBIR/STTR small business grant matching program. They also increased funding to the NC Biotech Center, who says they will put the money towards things such as training programs and small business loans.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


You Now Have NO Excuse-- Become an NPA Member!

The NPA (National Postdoctoral Association) is pleased to offer a free affiliate membership to all individuals affiliated with selected sustaining member institutions. Enrollment as an affiliate membership is based on the use of the e-mail address associated with your institution.

As a postdoc, this is your primary advocacy group. Members have access to resources providing news, toolkits, commentary, and career advice. The NPA in particular focuses on leadership development and is a great way to take that first step towards career-relevant activities away from the bench.


In Bethesda in October? Then check out the job fair

Job Fair for NIH Postdoctoral, Research, and Clinical Fellows.
Date: Thursday, October 19, 2006
10:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Natcher Conference Center, NIH Bethesda Campus
This year Dr. Elias Zerhouni (Director of NIH) will be giving the opening address! All attendees of the Job Fair need to plan to be at the opening address (10:30-11am).

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Welcome to the RTP Postdocs Blog!

This blog was started to disseminate random news and events of interest to biomedical science postdocs in the Research Triangle Park, NC area, particularly those who work at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Please check back often-- we will be starting up a yahoo or google calendar of events as well.

Best regards,


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