President's Message

Thank you, postdocs

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!

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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 2022.

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