This blog offers a platform for the exchange of experiences among postdoc leaders. Whereas postdoc leaders share goals (to enrich or improve the postdoctoral experience), situations differ and require different approaches. For instance, leading an association of 20 members will bring different organizational challenges compared to leading an association of 800 members. On this platform, postdoc leaders will be given the chance to share their stories with the aim of helping each other learn from them. Through learning from their peers, postdoctoral associations can expedite the grassroots (postdoc led) effort to improve the postdoctoral experience.
Kate Brown is focused on understanding the biology of stem cells, both during health and disease. After completing her PhD at UC Berkeley, she currently is pursuing postdoctoral studies on how stem cells respond to their immediate microenvironment. She has several research publications in high-impact journals, including Science. While at Berkeley, she had been elected president for three consecutive terms for a graduate student cooperative, and has maintained her interest in grass-roots organization and community advocacy through her membership on the SURPAS council and leadership on related committees. Her interests in the council have led to contributions on the transportation initiative, increasing postdoc stipends, and organizing a community wide-survey for metrics-based advocacy.
Antoine de Morrée is interested in how tissues heal and why this capacity changes with age and disease. After training in the Netherlands and Sweden, he now pursues postdoctoral research at Stanford, where he studies the molecular mechanisms that enable stem cells to repair tissue damage. In his spare time, Antoine teaches postdocs to share the value of their ideas so they become more successful in their careers. From 2011 to 2016, Antoine has been an elected leader in the Stanford University Postdoctoral Association (SURPAS) directly involved in efforts leading to improved healthcare and transportation benefits, career development, and financial support for postdocs. Both his scientific and volunteer work has been published at international conferences and journals, including Nature and Science, and Antoine has won several prestigious awards including a Development Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Zoe Samara is investigating how magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain can be used to understand which type of antidepressant therapy would be the most efficient for each patient. After her PhD training at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, she has been conducting postdoctoral research at Stanford’s School of Medicine. She focuses particularly on large-scale neural networks and their dysfunction in depression and anhedonia, a mental state characterized by severe loss of pleasure and positive affect. She has been awarded the Interdisciplinary Scholar Award in 2017 by Stanford’s Neuroscience Institute. Zoe is interested in research and writing about leadership, professional development and entrepreneurship. She aims to promote discussion on professional development and career management particularly for postdocs and minorities.
In 2015, Kate and Antoine teamed up to create Postdoc Leaders. In 2018, Zoe joined the editorial team. It is their hope that this blog will empower other postdoc leaders by offering a shared history for postdocs to educate and support each other as well as to guide future postdoc leadership.
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All images owned by A. de Morree.