Development Awards, and Upcoming Elections

by Asma Hatoum

The PDA focused mainly on professional development this spring. In addition to hosting the ongoing Tri-Institutional PDA seminar series, we channeled the bulk of our efforts toward planning and organizing the annual PDA retreat. After careful consideration of potential venues and a few site visits, we decided to hold the retreat at the Interlaken Inn Resort and Conference Center in Lakeville, Connecticut. The resort is situated on a lakefront property in the beautiful Litchfield Hills, which promises to provide a pleasing scenic backdrop for the event. The retreat will take place over two days and one night on September 12-13, 2012.

Our theme this year is prominent women in science, and after considering potential keynote speakers suggested by the postdoc community, we have invited Dr. Pamela Silver. She is one of the founding members of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and the first Director of the Harvard University Graduate Program in Systems Biology. Her accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards and honors including a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and an Innovation Award from BIO, the world’s largest biotechnology organization. A comprehensive description of Dr. Silver’s research interests and achievements may be found at the following website: Dr. Silver promptly and enthusiastically accepted our invitation and she is looking forward to meeting us at the retreat and delivering the keynote address.

Our program will also include other guest speakers from outside and inside The Rockefeller University. We are delighted to announce that our president Marc Tessier-Lavigne has also accepted our invitation to attend the retreat. He will be one of the guest speakers participating in a panel discussion on a current topic in science (to be announced). In addition to the keynote address (on the first afternoon) and panel discussion (on the second afternoon), there will be ample time allotted for postdoc-research talks on both days. For postdocs who are interested in presenting their work and wish to reserve a slot in advance, please e-mail the PDA at Registration details and the call for speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. We will also be sending out a detailed program for the retreat as soon as the talk schedule is finalized.

In addition to planning the retreat, the PDA distributed career development awards this spring. These awards are granted twice a year for partial or full reimbursement of expenses associated with attending conferences and/or workshops. In April, thirteen applicants were considered, and six were awarded $500 to cover conference expenses. Preference was given to postdocs who had been employed at Rockefeller for three to five years and who had not yet attended a conference or workshop. Stay tuned for the next call for applications, which will take place in the fall of 2012.

The time to elect new PDA Board members is approaching. We will be accepting nominations throughout the month of July, and elections will be held in the beginning of August. Serving on the PDA Board and representing postdoc interests to the administration is an excellent way to help build our community while gaining valuable leadership experience. Do consider becoming a PDA representative and stay tuned for upcoming election announcements.

Finally, the PDA has not forgotten about the social front! We are organizing a summer Wine, Cheese & Appetizers party, which will take place at the end of July (details will soon be announced). We hope to see you all there!

July/August 2012