Prospective postdoctoral fellows may apply directly to participating faculty program members for acceptance into the training lab. Often prior to making a decision, candidates are invited to an interview day, which includes giving an informal research seminar and meeting with the faculty member and with individuals in the training lab. Currently postdoctoral fellows are supported either by individual fellowships or preceptor research grants but two slots are available each year on a competitive basis on the Microbial Pathogenesis training grant.
Postdoctoral fellows devote the vast majority of their time to their research. They are encouraged to attend relevant seminars, which include weekly MPHD, Immunology, Cell Biology, Cancer Biology, and Biochemistry seminars as well as the weekly student/faculty BMS or PIBS journal clubs. Postdoctoral fellows directly supported by the MPHD training grant are required to present their research yearly at our weekly MPHD seminar, which gives them the opportunity to receive feedback from the Executive committee as well as other faculty members and their peers. In addition, the postdoctoral fellows and graduate students participate in the lab meeting and journal club of their own lab. The postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to attend and present at the the annual Bay Area Microbial Pathogenesis Symposium and participate in the BMS or PIBS annual retreat, and attending scientific meetings outside the university. Postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to audit graduate courses if appropriate, including the Microbial Pathogenesis course. A time slot is reserved for postdoctoral fellows to meet with the MPHD and BMS seminar speakers. We expect fellows without prior postdoctoral experience to spend 3-4 years in the MPHD Program, a period that we consider essential for the acquisition of skills requisite for the assumption of an independent position. Many of those who complete the program should be well qualified to assume junior faculty positions at leading universities and to conduct independent research programs in molecular and cellular immunology. Research positions in the Biotech industry are also popular options with our trainees.
Mentoring Program: We are offering postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to join a mentoring program in which they are paired with a program faculty member other than their lab head. This mentor meets with the postdoctoral fellowat least once per year to discuss career goals and progress. In addition, presentations in the MPHD weekly seminar series are coordinated so that the mentor can attend and provide feedback. The mentor also agrees to provide help in preparing a job talk when the time comes. So far we have made the program voluntary and the number of postdoctoral fellows s requesting inclusion has been matched by faculty members volunteering their time. Of course, some of our postdoctoral fellows had sought out mentoring on their own previously, but this program facilitates this process, especially for individuals who are a little less outgoing or confident.
UCSF's Office of Career and Professional Development provides many excellent career development series for postdoctoral fellows, including workshops and seminars on finding a job and on grant writing. See the OCPD website for more information.
The UCSF Postdoctoral Scholars Association is a wonderful resource. Their goal is to develop a sense of community by fostering professional and social interactions among postdoctoral scholars throughout the institution, provide a forum to disseminate accurate information and address issues relevant to postdoctoral scholars, and promote a productive dialogue among postdoctoral scholars, the administration, and the faculty.