Blog from September, 2022

Interesting Opportunity logo

I have been interested in teaching ever since college. During graduate school, I tutored undergraduate students in introductory biology, chemistry, and math. I also made sure to take courses in teaching pedagogy. When I started my NICHD postdoctoral fellowship, I told my mentor, Dr. Gisela “Gigi” Storz, about my interest in teaching. She encouraged me to explore this career option. As a result, I attended the NIH Community College Day, where I met representatives from Montgomery College. I would scour their jobs lists every so often to look for an adjunct opening, but didn’t know when they would have positions available or if they would match my skillset.

Aisha Burton in a gold blazer with the Sigma Gamma Rho crest

Aisha Burton, PhD

When the pandemic hit, I took the Scientists Teaching Science course offered by OITE virtually. This helped me gain confidence to teach my own course. In August of 2020, a biology position became available at Montgomery College—I applied and was offered the job.

I currently teach the lab section of Principles of Biology I (BIOL 150) at the Montgomery College, Rockville Campus. Previous semesters were virtual, but most students are back to in-person now for both the lab and lecture components. The classes have a maximum of 22 students, and there are 19 students in my current course. My students have an asynchronous lecture component, which they can complete on their own time without going to a live session. Other sections of this course do offer in-person lecture and lab.

Through this experience, I learned a lot about the time commitments involved in teaching. Logistically, virtual classes take about the same amount of time to prep, but engaging students virtually can be difficult. For me, the time commitment for the lab class itself is 2.5 hours per week. We have coordinators who set up the labs for us, but I do spend another hour prepping material and grading. I have taught both the lab and lecture (lab 2.5 hours, lecture 3 hours per week). I was grateful for that opportunity, but the time commitment was challenging to manage while completing my research at the NIH.

Being able to teach while a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH has helped me grow professionally as an educator. I have learned how to create a syllabus, generate and grade assessments, and assess the time commitment per course. Most importantly, I feel more confident in my teaching methods. I can meet my students where they are , which might mean that I offer more resources or explain a topic in a different way so that everyone can understand. My current career goal is to be a principal investigator at an R1 institution but being an adjunct has opened my eyes to the different types of teaching positions that are accessible to me. For example, I could work in an industry position full-time while teaching adjunct during my free time; or move towards a smaller institution.

If you are interested in teaching, take the Scientists Teaching Science course, which is offered at no cost to NIH fellows. After taking this course, you will receive ob announcements for adjunct and full-time teaching positions. The NIH Foundation for Advancing Education in the Sciences (FAES) also has opportunities for fellows to teach. I also recommend setting a Google search for jobs in your area of interest. Good luck!

Want to hear more from Dr. Burton? She will serve on the “Cultivating the Next Generation of Researchers” panel at the NICHD 60th Anniversary Symposium on October 17, 2022. Check out the event website for more information!

Have You Visited the Bio Careers® Website?

NICHD has an institutional membership with Bio Careers®, an online service that provides in-depth information about career paths for life scientists with advanced degrees. For more information, please visit http://www.biocareers.com to access numerous job ads, helpful webinars, and a newsletter to keep you up-to-date with their latest posts.


NCI Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program Accepting Applications

Deadline to apply is Tuesday, November 1

The NCI Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program (TTAP) is open to NIH postdoctoral trainees, staff scientists, staff clinicians, graduate students, and postbacs at specific Institutes and Centers, including NICHD.

TTAP is a hybrid training/mentoring program that offers participants the opportunity to augment their current research activities with 5–8 hours per week of hands-on training in biomedical invention development, commercialization, and entrepreneurship. Find more information for the program at https://techtransfer.cancer.gov/aboutttc/ambassadors.

Application & Deadline:

If you are interested in joining TTAP, download the application from the website and return with the requested materials to TT_Ambassadors@mail.nih.gov by Tuesday, November 1, 2022. Questions and inquiries can also be sent to this address.


Let Us Know about Your Recent Accomplishments

We’d love to recognize your great news from 2022—from winning a poster award to landing a new job! Please email a brief description of your accomplishment(s) to our editor, Dr. Shana Spindler (shana.spindler@nih.gov), and we will include them in our December issue.


Save the Date: K Awards for Clinical Fellows (Clinical Fellows Only)

Wednesday, November 9, 9 a.m. to 12 noon (Zoom)

For those of you considering applying for an NIH K-series funding opportunity, our office (in collaboration with NHGRI, NIAMS and NIDCR) is excited to offer a special grant writing workshop, specifically developed for clinical fellows.

This webinar, led by Dr. Paula Gregory, Associate Dean for Faculty & Educational Development at University of North Texas, is designed to provide support, opportunities, strategies and resources for career development in clinical and translational research. The critical aspects of writing NIH Career Development (K) grants will be covered, including: the NIH review process, how grants are scored, writing clear and concise Specific Aims, writing the Career Development and Training sections.

The workshop also emphasizes the partnership between the candidate, the mentors and the institution that is necessary to make career development award proposals successful.

Please send an email to Ms. Veronica Harker (veronica.harker@nih.gov) to register for this webinar, and the Zoom link will be provided to you a few days prior to the session.


Register Today! Preparing for Science-Based Non-Traditional Careers (PSNC) Workshops

Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. from October 5 to December 7, 2022 (except November 23)
Presentations will be held virtually via WebEX.

The Preparing for Science-Based Non-Traditional Careers (PSNC) workshops will start on Wednesday, October 5th. The PSNC workshops are aimed to help participants learn about the various career opportunities that lie outside of independent academic research. Many of you will be exploring and choosing from various science-based career options in the future. Given these may include unfamiliar roles outside of traditional bench science, we have invited guest speakers from various science-based backgrounds to provide information and insight that will help inform decisions about potential future endeavors.

Please register by October 26, 2022. The course schedule and registration details are available on the PSNC program website. For more information, please contact Dr. Ravi Dhar.


The NICHD Innovative Culture Staff Survey—Coming Soon!

Do you have ideas or creative solutions for making work more efficient or impactful? What is your perspective and experience on innovation at NICHD?

The Innovative Culture initiative is one of the M&A (Management and Accountability) focus areas that came out of the NICHD 2020 Strategic Plan, and we would like to hear from you! We’re looking at how NICHD can successfully foster an innovative culture within the institute in a way that promotes workforce development, responsive infrastructure, administrative efficiency, and an overall culture that encourages continuous improvement and idea exploration.

Later this month, you will receive an email with a link to a survey. Your anonymous responses will help us gather input on the current culture and hear your suggestions for how we can promote and support innovation.  

The survey will be open from October 25th–November 8th and should only take about 5 minutes of your time so please respond as soon as possible with your honest and candid feedback. Following the survey, we will be asking for volunteers and selecting participants to conduct focus groups that will enable us to further explore the themes and insights gleaned from your responses.

If you have questions for the Innovative Culture Project Team, or are interested in participating in one of the focus groups, please reach out to NICHDInnovativeCulture@mail.nih.gov.


NIH UNITE: Ending Structural Racism (ESR) Activities

The NIH UNITE initiative was established to identify and address structural racism within the NIH-supported and the greater scientific community.

The ESR Intranet includes various resources like the Toolkit, Newsletter, FAQs, and other information. UNITE Milestones and Progress and the Co-Chairs Corner (public ESR webpages) are other avenues to stay informed on UNITE efforts.

Rep Report logoAs the current NICHD Basic Sciences Institutes and Centers (IC) Representative, I represent NICHD postdoctoral fellows at the NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) meeting every month and share the latest news with you here. Do you have a concern or question that you want brought up at the next meeting? Contact me, Dr. Hyo Won Ahn, at hyowon.ahn@nih.gov!


The September FelCom meeting included a short presentation by CREx Program Manager Dr. Chris McGinity, NCI Office of Science and Technology Resources. CREx is the first and only NIH online marketplace for NIH intramural researchers to explore research services. Some of the services catalogued in CREx include:

  • 250 NIH core labs
  • 74 trans-NIH and collaborative facilities
  • 18,000 external vendors

You can log in using your NIH credentials and search for services by keywords. You can also submit custom requests, and the CREx concierge team will help you! Tutorial videos are available on the NCI OSTR website. Feel free to reach out to Dr. McGinity (chris.mcginity@nih.gov) with any questions.

Reminder! The Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) application is now open! Postdocs who started their postdoc on or after July 1, 2021, are eligible to apply. Applications are due on October 3. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to reach out to PRAT liaison Dr. Veronica Ryan (veronica.ryan@nih.gov) or the program director, Dr. Edgardo Falcón-Morales (edgardo.falcon@nih.gov).

The Fellows Safety Committee Listserv is now up and running: FELLOW-SAFETY-COMM@LIST.NIH.GOV. The officers are in the process of planning an open house (likely virtual) to bring in new members, so stay tuned!

The Visiting Fellows Committee (VFC) is looking for VFC representative for each of the 27 NIH institutes. Those of you who are interested, please visit the sign-up form.

The NIMHD NIH Epidemiology and Behavioral Science Trainees group is inviting fellows from all ICs to join the group. If you are interested, feel free to join their Microsoft Teams group. You can also reach Dr. Jessica Renee Fernandez (jessica.fernandez@nih.gov) for more information.

Did you know that all NIH postdocs/fellows can obtain National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) affiliate individual memberships at no cost? Join now! There are 28,500 jobs on the NPA Career Center. Upload your resume/CV for FREE and follow NPA on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Did you know that there are several ways to stay informed on postdoc activities and events? Sign up for the Fellows listserv (Fellow-L) and/or the Visiting Fellows listserv.

Wednesday, October 5, 1–2 PM

Postbac Seminar Series
Speaking About Science: Giving Scientific Presentations
Public Speaking Coach, Mr. Scott Morgan

If you are interested in joining the class, please email Ms. Katherine Lamb (katherine.lamb@nih.gov) to register.


Thursday, October 13, 9–11 AM

From Postdoc To Faculty: Successful Transitions To Academia
Dr. Paula Gregory, Associate Dean for Faculty & Educational Development in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Texas

Are you thinking about a career in academia? Often postdocs spend time crafting their future research program but are not introduced to important steps necessary for the successful transition to academia. Come learn the basics about navigating the academic job search process and important academic interviewing skills. Discover ways to prepare for success in academia once there (grants, mentoring & collaborations) and tips to avoid burnout.

Please email Ms. Veronica Harker (veronica.harker@nih.gov) if you are planning to join.


Thursday, October 13, 1–4 PM

NICHD DIR Tenure-Track Investigator Virtual Symposia Series
“Decoding Developmental Signaling”
Hosted by Dr. Katherine Rogers

This series provides tenure-track investigators within NICHD the opportunity to organize a virtual mini-symposium to showcase their area of science to the NICHD DIR and larger NIH intramural community. These symposia are open to all faculty, trainees, and staff at the NIH.

Join the symposium at https://nih.zoomgov.com/j/1602852307.


Monday, October 17, 8 AM–5 PM

NICHD 60th Anniversary Symposium: Healthy Pregnancies. Healthy Children. Healthy and Optimal Lives.

This virtual symposium will focus on future directions of research related to pregnancy, reproductive health, child and adolescent development, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and medical rehabilitation. We'll also recognize several major accomplishments of the last 60 years and showcase our efforts to cultivate the next generation of researchers and promote an inclusive scientific culture.

Attendees can tune in virtually through the NIH videocast website for the livestream the day of the event. Learn more about this symposium, view the agenda, and register to attend on the event website.


Wednesday, October 26, 1–2 PM

Postbac Seminar Series
Interviewing for Professional School
Public Speaking Coach, Mr. Scott Morgan

If you are interested in joining the class, please email Ms. Katherine Lamb (katherine.lamb@nih.gov) to register.


Ongoing Events Around Campus

NIH-Wide Office of Intramural Training and Education Events
For more information and registration, please visit Upcoming OITE Events.

NIH Library Training and Events
For more information and registration, please visit the NIH Library Calendar.

Dr. Triesta Fowler, former Director of Communication and Outreach for the NICHD Office of Education, continues her work in the NIH Intramural Program as a Scientific Diversity Officer at the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. We sincerely thank Dr. Fowler for her leadership and heavy involvement in creating valuable additions to the NICHD DIR program, including:

  • The NICHD Office of the Scientific Director News Bulletin, a monthly publication that ensures important information is circulated to all NICHD Division of Intramural Research staff and scientists
  • A new article series in The NICHD Connection titled “Deconstructing Bias,” which provides tools and resources to help you become aware and educate yourself on the issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • The NICHD-wide diversity initiative known as STRIVE (Strategies to EnRich Inclusion and AchieVe Equity)
  • The NICHD-Howard University partnership program, which links NICHD principal investigators with honors biology undergraduate and medical students
  • The guest lecturer series for the Howard University OB/GYN residency program
  • A career planning and professional development seminar series for Howard University undergraduates interested in MD, MD-PhD, and PhD paths
  • Several new seminars and workshops focused on the academic and professional development of NICHD trainees

To learn more about Dr. Fowler’s background and career journey, check out her story on NICHD’s #WomenInScience series on Instagram. Please join us in wishing Dr. Fowler the best of luck in her new endeavors! 

Dr. Triesta Fowler

Triesta Fowler, MD

“I am truly grateful for all my experiences and career growth that has occurred during my 15 years at NICHD. It has prepared me to transition to this opportunity at NIMHD. During my time in the Office of Education, I have come to enjoy all the interactions with the fellows and undergraduate students from Howard University. I am honored to have had the opportunity to impact the trajectory of their education and career. My virtual door is always open, and I look forward to working with all of you in the future.”

I hope everyone was able to attend at least a few presentations during the multiple NICHD retreats last month. Keep an eye out for the retreat recaps in upcoming issues of this newsletter. If you missed out, you still have an opportunity to hear about 60 years of the institute’s impactful research at the “NICHD 60th Anniversary Symposium: Healthy Pregnancies. Healthy Children. Healthy and Optimal Lives” on Monday, October 17. The agenda includes an exciting lineup of speakers, including several of our own intramural investigators—and even a trainee! Aisha Burton, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Storz lab, will serve on a panel titled “Cultivating the Next Generation of Researchers” toward the end of the event.

Dr. Burton is a busy fellow, as she also graciously agreed to write an “Interesting Opportunity” article about her experience as an adjunct professor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. She shares valuable information about teaching position announcements, expected time commitments, and what helped her prepare for the role. If you’re not interested in teaching, many, many, more interesting opportunities can be found in this month’s Rep Report and announcements and events.

Before I close out my letter for this month, I want to say a personal congratulations to Dr. Triesta Fowler for her many accomplishments while she was the Director of Communications and Outreach in the NICHD Office of Education. In working with Dr. Fowler on this newsletter, I witnessed her incredible passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in science. I look forward to carrying on Dr. Fowler’s enthusiasm for DEIA in our newsletter content, as she had an indelible influence that will benefit trainees for years to come.

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

This newsletter is for NICHD fellows and by NICHD fellows. We want to hear from you! Please send your questions, comments, and ideas to our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.

Frances Fernando smiling with a white brick building and a leafy green tree behind her

Frances Fernando while running a workshop in Colombia for the non-governmental organization Fundación JuanFe.

Photo courtesy of Ms. Fernando.

Frances Fernando, MPH, completed her postbac research fellowship in the NICHD Contraceptive Development Program under the mentorship of Dr. Diana Blithe from 2019–2021. With Dr. Blithe, she worked on projects analyzing the hormonal profiles and user experience of novel contraceptives in Phase II clinical trials. Simultaneously, Frances detailed at the NIH Fogarty International Center and conducted implementation science research for HIV/AIDS in adolescents living in Sub-Saharan Africa. She currently works as a strategy and analytics consultant for Deloitte, where she supports development of COVID-19 strategy and responses as part of the trans-NIH COVID account.

Check out our Q&A with Frances to learn more about her career path in public health strategy:

What does a strategy and analytics consultant do?

Strategy and analytics consultants help improve processes, identify risks, and develop strategic responses to client concerns. We view problems from a macro-level perspective to identify roadblocks and develop strategic roadmaps to best advance our NIH clients’ goals and their missions.

Each day varies but generally consists of client and internal team calls, developing materials for our clients’ needs, and strategizing the next best steps. We sync with our internal team members multiple times a week to stay up to date on cross-workstream activities and maintain an organized approach.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to pursue this career field?

During my last few months at the NIH, I decided I wanted to approach public health problems from a higher level and to develop strategic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You successfully navigated a challenging experience during the pandemic and landed an exciting position. What steps did you take to get there, and what was helpful along the way?

I conducted many informational interviews in order to hear what public health officials’ and practitioners’ jobs entailed and their journeys. Informational interviews are a great way to develop a broad-scope understanding of what jobs exist in a field. Don’t be afraid of cold-calling, emailing or sending a LinkedIn message!

What was the application/hiring process at your current company like?

The hiring process varies at my firm, depending if someone applies through open job positions or if the position is created for them. Luckily, I spoke with a senior manager who saw my potential and was hired within a week.

How important do you think it is to have scientific publications before applying to a position like this?

Scientific publications are not necessary but certainly enhance a resume. They are primarily an indicator of capability to drive a project to the final result. Being published shows perseverance in the sometimes-uncertain scientific process and is a testament to high quality work.

Can you talk about being a Fogarty International fellow while at NICHD and what you did?

I loved working with Fogarty. During my time at NIH, I was searching for an opportunity to practice my research skills, learn about topical areas in global health, and contribute to a publication. I found all of these at Fogarty and am grateful to the team for taking me in an unprecedented way. I worked on an implementation science scoping review of Fogarty’s Adolescent HIV Implementation Science Alliance for adolescents living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Where do you currently seek out mentorship?

Currently, I seek mentorship from my manager and senior manager. They help guide my development in the firm and enable me to grow into my interests.

Were there any workshops or programs at NIH that helped you prepare for your current position?

I believe the fellowship was most helpful because of the standard of excellence expected in work quality, and the exposure to NIH researchers and research culture.

Do you have any final tips for fellows who are thinking about pursuing a similar career track?

Finding a job takes time—don’t be discouraged, and keep persevering! Be bold and advocate for yourself. Research the organization well and practice for your case interview! 

September 19–23 is National Postdoc Appreciation Week

The thirteenth annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week will take place the third week of September this year. To learn more, visit the National Postdoc Association website, and don’t forget to show appreciation for your fellow NICHD postdocs!


DUE THIS MONTH: Intramural Research Fellowship (IRF)

Funding opportunity for all NICHD fellows

In 2017, DIR launched the Intramural Research Fellowship (IRF), a competitive research funding opportunity for NICHD postdoctoral, visiting, and clinical fellows. Its main objective is to promote grant writing among our intramural trainees, while enhancing awareness of the various components of an NIH grant application.

The IRF submission date is Friday, September 9, 2022.

For more information on the IRF, please visit NICHD Intramural Research Fellowships or email Dr. Erin Walsh (erin.walsh@nih.gov).


DUE NEXT MONTH: PRAT Program Applications Due October 3

Fellows in the NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) program receive three years of stipend support to conduct independent, mentored research in an NIH intramural laboratory. The PRAT application process is like the F32 Postdoctoral NRSA, and applicants who are already in the NIH intramural program may apply if they began postdoctoral training on or after July 1, 2021, and are a US citizen or permanent resident.

If you plan to apply in this application cycle, please contact Dr. Erin Walsh (erin.walsh@nih.gov) as soon as possible, as your application submission will be through the NICHD Office of Education.

The PRAT program is especially interested in ensuring the applicant pool reflects the diversity of the biomedical PhD talent pool, and strongly encourages applications from scientists in groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. For more information about the program, eligibility, and the NIGMS mission, please visit https://www.nigms.nih.gov/training/pages/prat.aspx.


NICHD Annual Postbac Seminar Series: Professional Development and Career Exploration

The next cycle of our Annual Postbac Seminar Series begins next month!

Currently there are approximately 100 postbacs conducting clinical and basic science research in our intramural laboratories. During your one or two years of training here at the NICHD, we want you to have an enriched research experience, while at the same time growing more prepared and excited about your chosen career path.

The year’s series will take place (virtually*) on Wednesdays, from 1 to 2 pm. The intent is to create a comfortable environment within a small group of peers to help postbacs improve their analytical skills as scientists, while expanding their knowledge of biomedical research and its relevance to human health.

This course also focuses on professional development:

  • Learning how to present your science
  • Exploring different career trajectories
  • Meeting physicians and scientists from various clinical or research settings
  • Preparing for the medical or graduate school application cycle (including interviews!)

*All sessions will be held via Zoom until NIH guidance permits in-person meetings.

Upcoming sessions (to take place from 1 to 2 p.m. unless otherwise indicated):

DateSpeakerTopic
October 5Public Speaking Coach, Scott MorganSpeaking About Science: Giving Scientific Presentations
October 26Public Speaking Coach, Scott MorganInterviewing for Professional School

Additional sessions will be announced in upcoming newsletter issues, and via email.

If you are interested in joining the class, please email Ms. Katherine Lamb (katherine.lamb@nih.gov) to register and let her know which sessions you plan to attend.


SAVE THE DATE! From Postdoc to Faculty: Successful Transitions to Academia

Thursday, October 13, 9–11 a.m.

Are you thinking about a career in academia? Often postdocs spend time crafting their future research program but are not introduced to important steps necessary for the successful transition to academia. Come learn these basics about navigating the academic job search process and important academic interviewing skills. Discover ways to prepare for success in academia once there (grants, mentoring & collaborations) and tips to avoid burnout.

This virtual seminar will be given by Dr. Paula Gregory, Associate Dean for Faculty & Educational Development in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Texas. Please email Ms. Veronica Harker (veronica.harker@nih.gov) if you are planning to join.


NIH UNITE: Ending Structural Racism (ESR) Activities

The NIH UNITE initiative was established to identify and address structural racism within the NIH-supported and the greater scientific community.

The ESR Intranet includes various resources like the Toolkit, Newsletter, FAQs, and other information. UNITE Milestones and Progress and the Co-Chairs Corner (public ESR webpages) are other avenues to stay informed on UNITE efforts.

Photo of Hyo Won Ahn wearing a white blouse and smiling pleasantly

Hyo Won Ahn, PhD

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. After graduating with a BS in animal science from Konkuk University, where I gained an interest in basic science research, I moved to the United States and completed an MS degree in physiology of reproduction at Texas A&M University. After graduation, I worked as a research associate in a reproductive genetics lab for several years. I studied transcription factors involved in primary ovarian insufficiency, a disease in which women's ovaries stop functioning prematurely, which often leads to infertility.

To pursue my interest in research further, I joined the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia for my PhD research. During rotation, I was introduced to retrotransposons and became fascinated by their ability to copy themselves and jump to new locations in the host genome. I completed my thesis work in the lab of Dr. David Garfinkel, studying budding yeast retrotransposon Ty1, specifically yeast proteins regulating Ty1 copy numbers in the yeast genome. In 2019, I joined the lab of Dr. Henry Levin (Section on Eukaryotic Transposable Elements) here at NICHD to conduct my postdoctoral research on investigating human transposable elements as causal genetic variants of neuropsychiatric diseases.

I am very excited to serve as the basic science representative for NICHD fellows. I encourage our fellows to participate in the NICHD Fellows Advisory Committee, where your suggestions and voice will be heard! Also, I would love to hear from our fellows. As my career path shows, I have been in many situations where fellows with diverse backgrounds can relate to and understand the problems faced by fellows. Please contact me with any ideas, concerns, or questions. My email is hyowon.ahn@nih.gov.


Our basic science representative is a postdoctoral fellow who serves on the NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) on behalf of the institute's fellow population. Representative appointments last for 12 months and can be renewed for an additional year.

Responsibilities of the institute’s representative include attending all scheduled FelCom meetings, participating on a subcommittee, disseminating information to the fellows in their institute, communicating fellows’ concerns to the committee, and coordinating the distribution of information via subcommittees. For NICHD, our representatives also work closely with the Office of Education to plan events for all NICHD postdoctoral trainees.

If you would like more information about serving as a basic science or clinical postdoctoral representative, please contact Dr. Erin Walsh (erin.walsh@nih.gov). For information about serving on a FelCom subcommittee, contact one of the committee chairs directly.

Thursday, September 8, 1–4 PM

NICHD DIR Tenure-Track Investigator Virtual Symposia Series
“The logic and illogic of cell fate decisions”
Hosted by Jeff Farrell, PhD

This series provides tenure-track investigators within NICHD the opportunity to organize a virtual mini-symposium to showcase their area of science to the NICHD DIR and larger NIH intramural community. These symposia are open to all faculty, trainees, and staff at the NIH.

Join the symposium at https://nih.zoomgov.com/j/1605758868.


Wednesday, September 14, 12–2 pm

“How Does Diversity Affect Innovation in Pharma?” Virtual Seminar

The NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) office will host a virtual event, “How Does Diversity Affect Innovation In Pharma?,” on Wednesday, September 14, from 12 noon–2 pm (seminar: 12–1 pm; tea-time for trainees: 1–2 pm).

The panelists are leaders in pharmaceutical organizations and will discuss how diversity impacts creativity and innovation in pharma. During the tea-time that follows, panelists will share stories from their professional paths, opportune transition points, the importance of a circle of mentors, and options outside of academia.

Registration is now open! Learn more about the seminar at the COSWD blog.


Tuesday, September 20, All Day (Virtual Event)

NICHD Intramural Scientific Retreat

We strongly encourage all NICHD intramural researchers, PIs, and lab members, to attend as we celebrate our research achievements and try to spark new ideas and collaborations. There is no registration required to attend the meeting, but anyone who would like to submit a poster online may do so at https://dir.nichd.nih.gov.


Wednesday, September 21, 1 PM

NICHD Postbac Orientation Session

Our institute has approximately 100 postbacs conducting both clinical and basic science research. The Office of Education would like to bring our postbacs together to meet each other and discuss opportunities for service and leadership, along with the various resources and services available to you at NICHD and NIH-wide.

We aim to enrich fellows’ NIH experience with career development, outreach, and social activities. Learn about:

  • NIH Library resources
  • The Annual Postbac Seminar Series
  • Opportunities for enhancing your science communications skills
  • Shadowing opportunities in the NIH Clinical Center
  • NICHD Office of Education Services & Resources
  • The Office of Intramural Training and Education
  • Medical & Graduate School Application Support
  • And more!

The NICHD Postbac Orientation Session is mandatory for all postbacs who started on or after January 2022, but all NICHD postbacs are welcome. To register, please contact Ms. Katherine Lamb (katherine.lamb@nih.gov).


Thursday, September 29, All Day (Virtual Event)

The 17th Annual Meeting for Postdoctoral, Clinical, Visiting Fellows, Graduate Students, and Postbacs

Please register by Friday, September 9

This meeting will allow you to step away from the lab for a day to network with your NICHD colleagues, participate in a career exploration session, and learn more about the recent developments in our intramural research programs.

This year’s retreat will include:

  • Keynote presentation by Dr. Rosa Puertollano, Senior Investigator at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  • Afternoon keynote presentation by industry consultant Lauren Celano of Propel Careers.
  • Career breakout sessions with professionals from academe, industry, teaching, government administration, science communications, science policy, and grants management.
  • You can be a highlight at the retreat too! You will have the option to create a poster for online viewing and present your poster with a three-minute talk. There will also be slots for several fellows to give ten-minute scientific presentations.

As the current NICHD Basic Sciences Institutes and Centers (IC) Representative, I represent NICHD postdoctoral fellows at the NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) meeting every month and share the latest news with you here. Do you have a concern or question that you want brought up at the next meeting? Contact me at hyowon.ahn@nih.gov!


The August FelCom meeting included a short presentation by Irwin Arias, MD, Senior Scientist Emeritus, NIH. He introduced the Demystifying Medicine Seminar Series, which presents patients, pathology, diagnosis, and therapy in the context of major disease problems and current research. This series is designed to help bridge the gap between advances in biology and their application to major human diseases. He encouraged all postdoc fellows to join the lecture series. All Demystifying Medicine Seminar Series lectures are stored in the NIH VideoCast and can be accessed if live lectures are missed.

Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) co-chairs presented a summary of the FARE2023 statistics and results to the scientific directors (SDs). The SDs agreed to continue the 6th-year extension eligibility for FARE applications. A total of 16 Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs) have accepted to grant additional awards to FARE2023 recipients. The selected FARE2023 awardees will be invited to give a talk at their respective SIG.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) applications will open on September 3rd! Incoming and early-stage postdocs are encouraged to apply (postdocs who started their postdoc on or after July 1, 2021, are eligible). Applications are due on October 3rd. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to reach out to PRAT liaison Veronica Ryan (veronica.ryan@nih.gov), or the program director, Edgardo Falcón-Morales (edgardo.falcon@nih.gov).

The Career Development Committee is planning to organize a series of three panels on “Careers in Academia” from September to November. The schedule and further details will be available soon, so stay tuned!

Women Scientists Advisors Committee (WSA) invites you to join the 2022 Anita B. Roberts Lecture, a series that highlights the outstanding research achievements of woman scientists in the NIH Intramural Research Program and honors the role of Dr. Anita Roberts as an exceptional mentor and scientist.

  • Speaker: Brigitte Widemann, MD, Senior Investigator and Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, NCI
  • Title: “Advancing the Development of Effective Therapies for Children and Adults with Rare Tumors”
  • Date: November 3, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Videocast: https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=45832

Did you know that there are several ways to stay informed on postdoc activities and events? You can sign up for the FelCom listserv (Fellow-L) and the Visiting Fellows listserv.

When I think of the word retreat, two definitions come to mind. First is the forced military drawback of troops, and second is a break from life’s daily tasks for a defined period of reflection. In both senses of the word, the group or individual is pulling back to assess the situation, which will inform a plan to move forward. This month, NICHD fellows have the opportunity for two retreats: the NICHD Intramural Scientific Retreat on September 20th and the NICHD Fellows Retreat on September 29th. These events are not merely a break from benchwork for the day; they are designed to disseminate knowledge, catalyze discussion, and stimulate collaborative ideas and next steps.

The Fellows Retreat has an added bonus. Attendees can learn about various scientific careers through the first-hand experiences of panelists in science administration, policy, academia, industry, and more. To kick off career exploration ahead of the retreat, we follow up with former fellow Frances Fernando, a strategy and analytics consultant at Deloitte. In a Q&A session, she describes the role of a strategy and analytics consultant and recounts the experiences that led her to this particular career field.

We wrap up this issue with a big thank you to postdoctoral fellows for all of your hard work. Please join us in showing postdoc appreciation during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, September 19th–23rd. In honor of this event, we’d like to introduce you to your new NICHD Institutes and Centers postdoc rep, Dr. Hyo Won Ahn. She will represent the interests of NICHD postdoctoral fellows at monthly FelCom meetings and summarize relevant meeting information in the “The Rep Report.” If you have any questions or comments for Dr. Ahn, she welcomes your emails at hyowon.ahn@nih.gov.

I do hope to see each of you at this month’s retreats. I know that hours feel short, and timing is tight, but pulling away from your typical activities for the day to meet with colleagues will ultimately allow you to press forward in your research and career investigations. With that said, I’ll see you there! 

Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD

This newsletter is for NICHD fellows and by NICHD fellows. We want to hear from you! Please send your questions, comments, and ideas to our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.