Next up in our multi-part series on how to foster a successful postbac experience, postbac fellow Ashley Pratt writes about the importance of forming a research community. Ms. Pratt joined the laboratory of Dax Hoffman, PhD, Senior Investigator in the Section on Neurophysiology, within the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person restrictions during that time made it challenging to experience the full laboratory dynamic.

Reading Ms. Pratt’s article reminded me how critical and meaningful those initial connections are for incoming trainees. It’s a first-hand account of what it was like to begin a research career with minimal individuals in the lab, and what Ms. Pratt gained once her broader research community formed.

For any fellows who are struggling to find a research community, we have assembled a list of “Communities on Campus” for you to explore and potentially join. They range from communities based on your research interests to listservs tied to your level of training. Participating in one or more of these groups is a wonderful way to expand your research network right here on campus. Many additional opportunities to grow your community can be found in the May announcements and events.

Do you know of a group that you think would be of interest to other NICHD fellows? Let us know, and we can help spread the word!

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