Post Doc - how to pick

SLForsburg susan_forsburg at
Thu Jan 25 19:02:58 EST 1996

jcoleman at wrote:
> On this issue of how to get the right Postdoc....when is it 
> appropriate to start writing to lab heads and seeing if they 
> might have a position or be looking for someone? 

You want to give time for funding, time to write your own 
fellowships and time for the PI to write you into their proposals.
A year in advance at least is ideal.  Shorter notice gets harder
with respect to money.

> When you go to visit their labs, how specifically should 
>  you know what you want to do? 

That depends in part about whether you are changing fields or
systems or areas.  Most people do change.  They may have a general
interest but not enough specific knowledge to know exactly what they
want to do.  Postdoc projects usually grow out of 
conversations with the PI and the lab and what is going on.
  OFten the idea starts with the PI, who knows the system
best, and where things are heading, but the postdoc fleshes it out.
Sometimes the postdoc comes with definite ideas, but they don't
pan out;  that's okay too.

Don't worry if you dont know exactly what you want to do.  Most
 candidates know the work through the literature;  which means, it 
isnt necessarily what is happening at the moment in the lab. 
But they like the problem, the systme, and the general approach.
Specifics can come after that. 

> Also has any one here done a Postdoc and spent that time away from > your partner? Like bicoastal? or intercountry relationships? Is 
>  this really feasible?

I know several people who have done this.  Not ideal, but I guess
you can stand anything if you know it is for a finite period and
will end.

-- susan
S L Forsburg                             
susan_forsburg at
 "I don't speak for the Institute,         
 and the Institute doesnt speak for me."

More information about the Womenbio mailing list