2016 SOT Education-Career Development Session: The Evolution of the Postdoc

Chairperson(s): Karilyn E. Sant, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and Samantha Snow, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research
Triangle Park, NC.

Endorser(s): Career and Resource Development Committee Graduate Student Leadership Committee Postdoctoral Assembly

The postdoctoral experience has changed considerably over the past decade. The number of postdocs in the United States has been consistently growing, as has the time spent in this transitional position. The average age at which scientists are appointed to their first faculty job and awarded their first NIH grant has been increasing. This “hypercompetitive” culture in biomedical research has resulted in several publications and reports by the National Academies and the National Postdoctoral Association that focused on the best practices needed to improve the quality of the postdoctoral experience. This session is designed to bring leaders from across various research sectors to discuss what it means to currently be a postdoc in an academic, government, and industry setting.
Speakers will focus on (1) the modern state of postdocs in their sector; (2) the advantages/disadvantages of pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in their sector; (3) the postdoc as a mentored position; and (4) how we move forward to produce a high-quality, sustainable workforce. Each speaker will discuss how their sector is addressing the current needs of postdocs
and the workforce, and will provide the audience with their thoughts on how to navigate to different career paths. Speakers will also address
how a postdoc in their sector may help produce a diversified workforce. This discussion will be highly relevant to all student and postdoctoral
attendees, as well as senior scientists currently mentoring trainees. This career development session will inspire toxicologists to think critically
about their training and to develop an improved roadmap to navigate to their ideal careers. (Abstract #2960)

12:35 Challenges, Opportunities, and Future
Directions of the Traditional Academic Postdoc
in Toxicology. I. Jaspers. University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

12:50 Postdoc Training: Thinking Beyond the Bench.
L. Birnbaum. NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC.
1:05 Pfizer’s Postdoctoral Program: An Example of
an Industry’s Approach to Ensuring a HighQuality Postdoctoral Experience. J. Cook. Pfizer,
Inc., Groton, CT.

1:20 Institutional Transformation Strategies for
Acceptance of Multiple Career Pathways
as Successful Outcomes for Trainees in
the Biomedical Research Workforce. A.
Mathur. Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.
Sponsor: K. Sant.

1:35 Panel Discussion/Q&A.