A postdoctoral fellowship, as defined by the NIH, is a temporary period of mentored research and/or scholarly training that allows a recent recipient of a doctoral degree to acquire the professional skills needed to successfully pursue a career path of their own choosing.
At MD Anderson, we provide a comprehensive educational program to all postdoctoral fellows that covers three major domains: research skills, professional skills, and career skills.
Click on the topics below to learn more about courses, programs and workshops available to our postdocs.
The Office for Postdocs organizes a bi-monthly orientation that aims to facilitate a smooth transition to life as a postdoctoral fellow. Smart Track focuses on the essentials for a productive first year, including career planning and goal setting tools, information on various departments, offices, and resources, and education, training, and mentorship programs.
Postdoctoral training is one of the most challenging times in a young scientist’s career. Research, career advancement, professional relationships, and other priorities compete for time and resources. Need to be pointed in the right direction? Need to consult someone? The Office for Postdocs offers one-on-one advising sessions.
Responsible Conduct of Research
Biomedical science builds on work done by others and operates on trust that research is performed with the highest standards of integrity and transparency. The responsible conduct of research (RCR) is therefore a key cornerstone on which discoveries and advances in medicine are built. All MD Anderson employees are required to complete the Research Foundations course offered by the Office of Institutional Compliance on an annual basis. In addition, the Office for Postdoctoral Fellows runs a monthly RCR series that focuses on a number of topics,: conflicts of interest; research involving human subjects; research involving vertebrate animals; safe laboratory practices; mentor/mentee responsibilities; collaborative research; peer review; data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership; research misconduct; responsible authorship and publication; and the role of a scientist as a member of society.
Rigor and Reproducibility in Research
Scientific rigor and reproducibility of research findings are fundamental to the responsible conduct of research. As a member of the Gulf Coast Consortia, MD Anderson offers regular workshops that cover rigor and reproducibility of research that focus on key areas identified by the NIH: scientific premise of the proposed research, rigorous experimental design for robust and unbiased results, consideration of relevant biological variables, and the authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources.
Various divisions, departments and training programs at MD Anderson offer seminars and workshops that cover every aspect of cancer research. In addition, shared resources (core facilities) conduct regular training on sample preparation, experimental techniques, use of specialized equipment, and data management and analysis. These seminars, workshops and training sessions are available to all postdoctoral fellows at MD Anderson.
Trainee Leadership Program
An 8-hour leadership course designed by the Leadership Institute in collaboration with the Division of Education & Training specifically for students and trainees at MD Anderson. Designed to be covered in two-half day sessions, the program covers the following:
- Understanding “Self” and How One “Shows Up”
- Resiliency and Adaptability
- Having Difficult Conversations
- Conflict Resolution
- Building Emotional Intelligence
Career Planning for Biomedical Trainees
Many postdocs choose to pursue non-traditional careers, including positions as industry scientists, business consultants, policy advisors, health care providers, and patent agents. Explore your options and jumpstart your career planning by taking advantage of the following resources offered by the Office for Postdoctoral Fellows:
- Career Exploration Series
- Versatile PhD
- Labor Insight Occupation Reports
- Cover Letter and Resume Workshops
- Interviewing Workshops
- 1:1 Career Advising Sessions
Navigating Academic Careers
Success as a tenure-track faculty member depends on much more than just producing cutting edge research. It requires a number of competencies that many junior faculty learn on the job. Navigating Academic Careers is a 26-hour course delivered to cohorts over 13 weeks and covers the following important topics:
- Academic Positions
- Developing Your Niche
- Application Materials and the Interview Process
- Time Management and Work-Life Balance
- Laboratory Management
- Leading Teams and Projects
- Mentorship and Sponsorship
- Perspectives from Senior Faculty
MD Anderson and its sister institution UTHealth jointly operate the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). Postdoctoral fellows can audit or take courses for credit offered by one of nine PhD programs: biochemistry and cell biology, cancer biology, genetics and epigenetics, immunology, medical physics, microbiology and infectious diseases, neuroscience, quantitative sciences, and therapeutics and pharmacology.