Thursday, January 24, 2019
“That machine? You’re gonna have to get up close and personal with it,” Josh, my fellow postbac, told me. I looked at this small metal contraption and nodded, trying to appear as if I understood, while thinking: he just means that people spend so much time sectioning organs on the microtome that it’s like spending an extended amount of time with a loved one, right?
Fast forward a few days, and I find myself breathing warm, moist air onto a paraffin-embedded mouse lung to soften the wax, just before I slice four-micrometer sections of mouse lung tissue that will later be stained and examined under a microscope. “He wasn’t kidding,” I muttered.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
It was picture day, and I sat stiffly in front of a wrinkly blue curtain, nervously patting my hair into place. “You can smile, but just make sure no teeth are showing,” the person taking my picture told me. I laughed at that, and she also laughed, adding, “Everyone gets a good chuckle out of that one,” as she snapped my photo. A few days later, I picked up my photo, printed (not so) nicely with a vertical stripe running down my face. I didn’t even notice. I thought, this is real, as I proudly held up my official NIH ID badge.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Upon entering the sunny foyer of the NIH’s Natcher Conference Center last Thursday, I was immediately struck by a burst of loud, excited chatter. As it always is on NIH’s annual Summer Poster Day, the building was filled with hundreds of high school and college students and the scientists, families, and friends who had turned out to see what these young men and women had spent the summer doing.
Monday, May 7, 2018
On Wednesday, May 2, hundreds of researchers gathered at NIH’s Natcher Conference Center to show off their recent discoveries. But unlike a typical scientific conference, the letters “M.D.” and “Ph.D.” were noticeably absent from these scientists’ credentials. Instead, the event — NIH’s annual Postbac Poster Day — celebrated the accomplishments of individuals participating in the NIH Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Program.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
After postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research complete their training, they are prepared to land permanent positions that utilize their unique research skills. While some may choose the traditional academic route, and become tenure-track scientists, many take posts that keep them engaged in science, but not necessarily doing research.
For the first time at the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), these non-faculty jobs, and the numbers of NIEHS postdocs in them, are broken down in a study that appeared online in the January 15 issue of Nature Biotechnology. The paper discussed a new tool that visualized the kinds of work the former postdocs were doing.