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Plan to Publish

Dr. Richard Behringer, Department of Genetics
G&D 2009 Newsletter

Joining a top research laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow significantly increases your chances of advancing to an independent research career. This is because these labs consistently produce significant findings that move science forward, have broad name recognition, and are usually in an outstanding scientific environment surrounded by other top laboratories. How can G&D students compete successfully for a postdoctoral position in a top laboratory? Below are some suggestions.


It is essential for your success to publish multiple first author primary data papers of scientific significance. Always perform your research in the context of writing a manuscript. Outline the potential figures of a manuscript at the onset of your study. Generate publication quality data with positive and negative controls. Following these simple guidelines should quickly lead to the generation of a manuscript. If you perform experiments without a plan for publication, then you will take a long time to
generate papers.

At the beginning of your thesis research consider writing a comprehensive review of your field for publication in a prominent journal (e.g. Nature Reviews). Journal editors are always eager to recruit quality reviews. Your mentor can contact the editor to determine if they would be interested in such a review. This will help you to get to know your field in depth. In addition, this published review could serve as the introductory chapter of your thesis.

Make contact with potential labs early.

Contact the head of the lab at least one year before finishing your degree. One very productive way to make contact would be to attend a scientific meeting that the PI will be giving a talk. You can present your poster to them or if you are chosen for a platform talk they can attend your session. G&D provides travel fellowships each year to supplement the costs of students presenting at scientific meetings.

If you want to pursue postdoctoral training in a top lab, then consider these suggestions to enhance your chances of success in the future.

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