Postdocs receive needed resources from new office

Postdoctoral appointees — research scientists who train in a faculty member’s laboratory for several years after completing a doctoral degree — are critical “cogs” on the research “wheel,” and postdoctoral training often is viewed as essential preparation for an academic career.

However there has been no official organizations or guidelines to help arrange employment or to provide support and cohesion during these in-between years.

Now, this group has a source of support. The University is one of several institutions around the country trying to address the unique needs of this specific group.

To further this goal, the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences has launched the Office of Post Graduate Affairs. The office supports postdoctoral appointees at the School of Medicine and in the Department of Biology, but all University postdoctoral appointees are welcome to attend seminars and events.

“Our main focus is to provide resources and advocacy for postdoctoral appointees,” said Mary Bradley, the manager of post graduate affairs. “We look at it as a win-win situation: We’re here to serve the postdoctoral appointees, but it also benefits the departments and the University because postdocs make a critical contribution to the University’s overall research mission.”

The office’s first order of business has been to develop and maintain a database of current postdoctoral trainees, a challenging task because there is no centralized means of identifying these individuals. The office also is communicating with postdoctoral appointees and organizing meetings, seminars and events.

Among other projects, the office has compiled welcome packets to help new trainees acclimate to their St. Louis surroundings, produced a brochure to help recruit new candidates and maintains a postdoc Web site.

For more information about the office, call Mary Bradley at 362-2591 or visit