President's Message

Thank you, postdocs

Ann Stock
By Ann Stock
Sept. 1, 2022

This month, from Sept. 19 to 23, universities around the country will celebrate the 13th annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week — an event established in 2009 by the National Postdoctoral Association to recognize the contributions of postdoctoral scholars.

Postdocs are a powerful force in the academic research enterprise. They deserve recognition for their many contributions — as researchers, as mentors of junior lab members and, importantly, as the next generation of scientific leaders.

I look back fondly on my postdoc as the best years of my scientific career. I was immersed in exciting research that I had chosen in a lab headed by a fantastic mentor and powered by incredible lab mates, many of whom remain in touch after more than 30 years. I was able to capitalize on the experimental skills I had honed as a grad student, learn new techniques and focus on research without the distractions of funding, budgeting and personnel management. It was indeed a special time.

Before slipping too far into rosy retrospection, I must admit that the freedoms and opportunities that make these years so enjoyable also can create challenges and anxiety. Postdoctoral training has no specific requirements or quantitative metrics of success. It lacks the matriculation date and structured social network created by a graduate class. There is neither a clearly defined end point nor a single path forward. In positions that fall between student status and permanent employment, postdocs often face uncertainties and inequities.

Fortunately, postdoctoral fellows need not face these challenges in isolation. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers many activities to engage our community of postdocs. Here’s how you can get involved. And each year, we celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week on our social media channels with the hashtag #ASBMBLovesPostdocs!

In closing, to all our current postdocs:

We look forward to celebrating with you! We appreciate you not only this week but every week. Revel in our appreciation of all you do, and take a moment to reflect on the freedom and opportunities you have now. A research career is a continuum — as you look toward your next destination, don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
Ann Stock
Ann Stock

Ann Stock is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers and resident faculty member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. She became the ASBMB’s president in July.

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in Opinions

Opinions highlights or most popular articles

What is better for your career than a publication? A preprint.
Essay

What is better for your career than a publication? A preprint.

Sept. 22, 2022

“Depositing a paper outside of an academic journal allows an author to start promoting the work immediately,” Ken Hallenbeck writes.

Mentoring wins over training in science
Essay

Mentoring wins over training in science

Sept. 19, 2022

“Mentoring helps students to develop coping mechanisms to handle stress, uncertainty and unknowns that are an integral part of a scientific career,” Shantá D. Hinton writes.

What we’re asking for — on your behalf
News from the Hill

What we’re asking for — on your behalf

Sept. 14, 2022

The ASBMB’s recent advocacy activities focus on sustained funding for curiosity-driven science, safe and equitable work environments, and support for next-generation researchers.

Having an abortion during your Ph.D.
Essay

Having an abortion during your Ph.D.

Sept. 10, 2022

A graduate student reflects on her choice to end a pregnancy and on what the overturning of Roe v. Wade means for trainees in the United States.

‘How life began merits a preceding discussion of what life actually is’
Books

‘How life began merits a preceding discussion of what life actually is’

Sept. 8, 2022

A new book uses biochemistry and evolution to describe hypotheses of life’s origins and the last universal common ancestor, an anaerobic prokaryote.

Free digital tools for grad students

Free digital tools for grad students

Sept. 2, 2022

Our careers columnist curated a list of what she found to be the most helpful.