Welcome to the Berkeley Postdoctoral Association! 

The Berkeley Postdoctoral Association (BPA) is a volunteer organization of postdocs working for all postdocs.  On our website you can find information on social events, schedule of orientation for new postdoctoral scholars, policy issues of interest to Berkeley postdoctoral scholars, announcements for seminars for professional development, and lists of useful resources.

Meet the Board 

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Events and Announcements for March 2015 

Welcome to the March edition of the BPA newsletter!  Check out the great events this month below.







March 2

Changing the Postdoc, 3:30-5pm at Genentech Hall/Mission Bay UCSF



March 4

BPA Happy Hour with beer and pizza, 6:00 pm in front of Pat Brown’s Grill



March 6

PIEP Site Visit-LakePharma, 12:30-5pm, Belmont, CA



March 12

Career Pathways, 6:30-7:45pm, Career Center 2440 Bancroft Ave, Gold Room



March 14/21

PTOP: Teaching Workshop for Postdocs in Barrows Hall, Room 652



March 16-17

Beyond Academia 2015, Clark Kerr Campus



March 18

BPA Pub social, 6:30 pm at the Beta Lounge



March 19

BPA Monthly Board Meeting, 6:45 pm in Barrows Hall, Room 652



March 20

Postdoc Pedagogy Lunch Series, 11:45 am–1:15pm in Barrows Hall, Room 652



March 25

Thriving in Science Lecture, 6pm in Stanley Hall, Room 105



March 30

BPA Movie Monday, 6pm in Barrows HallRoom 652




1.       Changing the Postdoc: 
 is a grassroots movement of postdocs at UCSF who believe the current training model is insufficient or incomplete. Our goal is to research and produce tangible action items for the university to act upon that would improve the postdoc experience. 

We are hosting an event to propose several ideas and seek feedback from the UCSF postdoc community as well as administration, faculty, and students. The event will be held March 2nd from 3:30-5pm at Genentech Hall/Mission Bay UCSF. As follow up, we are seeking an audience with the Chancellor to present the results of our work: up to 5 plausible and concrete action items that could be enacted at UCSF. We are actively coordinating our efforts with other concerned groups like the UCSF Science Policy Group. 


If you’d like more information about P-Value* and this event, please visit our Facebook event page or send us an email at pvalueUCSF@gmail.com.  Also, on March 1, the P-value event will have a live-streaming link on their Facebook page.


2.       BPA Happy Hour:  Please come join us WednesdayMarch 4 for free pizza, wine, beer, cider and soft drinks, on the Wayne and Gladys Valley Plaza, at6 pm (outside of Pat Brown’s Grill near Koshland Hall and Li Ka Shing).

IMPORTANT:  Please note that UC Berkeley's Police Department is now requiring us to check IDs.   Postdocs who wish to consume alcoholic beverages will need to show their CAL ID and their guests will need to show a form of ID that indicates they are over 21.  Those who do not bring proof of identification that they are over 21 years old unfortunately will not be permitted to drink alcoholic beverages at the BPA Happy Hour.


Email the BPA at vspa@berkeley.edu if you have any further questions.


3.      PIEP Site Visit-LakePharma: Friday March 6 from 12:30-5p, Belmont CA


The LakePharma visit is limited to 10 visitors. In order to be eligible for the opportunity, please finish a 14-question survey and submit your current resume here: http://goo.gl/6ZkZTvThe deadline of application through the above link is Friday, Feb 27th at 5:00 pm. You will be notified in the week of the event on the outcome of your application.


ABOUT LakePharma

LakePharma is a leading contract research organization (CRO) in the Bay Area specializing in antibody and protein engineering, cell line development, and protein production. LakePharma is keen at innovating and implementing the best technologies in order to provide low cost and high quality services to its customers. A number of high efficiency gene expression systems for protein and antibody production have been developed in house since its foundation in 2003. To learn more, please visit their website: https://lakepharma.com



All visitors will get a chance to explore the unique corporate culture, business model, and working environment of LakePharma as well as the opportunity to interact face-to-face with current employees.


Postdocs, graduate students or visiting scholars who want to explore career options in such CRO/Biotech companies are encouraged to attend. If you are in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology (or related field), this visit is also a great chance for you to directly meet with a local employer that is continually growing and looking for new hires.



12:30 pm                  Transportation from UC Berkeley to LakePharma

1:15 pm                    Arrival and check in at LakePharma

1:30 pm                    Company introduction

2:00 pm                    Panel discussion of career paths at LakePharma

2:45 pm                    Tour of company facilities

3:15 pm                    Reception and networking with current employees

4:00 pm                    Departure


PLEASE NOTE that the site visit is FREE to all visitors. If the registration is above 10, the applicants will be selected based on the company’s preference. In the case of LakePharma, experience with protein and antibody purification, assays and cell culture are preferred. So it is important to submit a targeted resume to have a better chance of being selected.


Should you have any questions about the LakePharma site visit, please feel free to contact the Postdoc Industry Exploration Program (PIEP) at ucb.piep@gmail.com.


4.       Career Pathways:

From computer science and engineering to an exciting job at Google. We have an inspiring talk from Dr. Vijay D'Silva on career perspectives for you.

The Berkeley Postdoctoral Association is pleased to invite you to our Career Pathways seminar series designed to expose you to unique career paths and to connect you with people who are working in exciting fields outside of academia. Career pathways is Thursday March 12 6:30-7:45pm at the Career Center 2440 Bancroft AveGold Room. (new location!) Come join us for a lively discussion on careers options. Light snacks will be served.


Vijay D'Silva is an engineer working in Google's security team, which he joined in early 2014. Prior to that, he spent a decade as an academic tourist by working at universities in different countries. Between 2012 and 2014, Vijay D'Silva was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science in UC Berkeley. He received his undergraduate degree from IIT Bombay, his masters from the University of Zurich and his PhD in 2013 from the University of Oxford, all in computer science. Vijay also spent time in the University of New South Wales in Sydney, ETH Zurich and the Technion in Haifa. His research life has recently completed the circle from practice to theory and back. He started out working on programming electronic chips, did his doctoral work in mathematical logic, worked as a postdoctoral researcher applying logic to computer programs, and now develops tools for digital forensics.


REGISTRATION: This series is open to all Postdocs, Graduate Students, and Visiting Scholars. To register, please go to: https://bpacareerpathwaysmarch12.eventbrite.com



5.       PTOP

The Postdoc Teaching Opportunities Program (PTOP) will be hosting a two-day teaching workshop aimed at postdocs with little or no teaching experience, as well as those interested in newer teaching practices such as active learning, backwards curriculum design, evidence based teaching, etc. The goal of this workshop is to provide postdocs interested in a career involving a significant teaching component with an introduction to various key topics in college teaching. This course will also give attendees the opportunity to develop a syllabus and teaching statement and receive feedback from peers.

While this course is open to postdocs in all disciplines, the examples and worksheets will be drawn from STEM fields, from Biology in particular. Most of the research on assessment and active learning has been done in STEM courses, yet the principles can be applied to any form of teaching.

certificate of completion will be issued by the VSPA Program to everyone completing both meetings and the assigned tasks.

Saturday, March 14th  from 9 am - 5 pm


Saturday, March 21st  from 9 am - 1 pm

Note: If you are interested in this course but the dates do not work for you, please complete the survey anyway, as this will help us gauge demand and plan, if required, for additional offerings.

Lunch will be provided on March 14th, and refreshments will be available on both meeting dates.

This course is limited to 20 postdocs. People interested in this course should complete the following survey before Wednesday March 4th


The 20 participants will be selected based on their survey answers.

IMPORTANT:  The cost of materials for this course is more than $100 per person.   Selected participants who do not complete the course will be charged for the course materials.

Natalia Caporale is currently a lecturer at UC Berkeley, for the MCB and IB Departments and also a lecturer in the Biology Department at San Francisco State University. Originally from Argentina, she did her PhD and Postdoctoral Training in Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and UCSF. Since 2011, Natalia has dedicated herself to teaching college science levels and also to learn about active teaching strategies and evidence-based teaching. She has attended workshops on the topic (such as SEPAL Science Education Summer Institute at SFSU) as well as provided one-on-one mentoring to postdocs new to teaching. Natalia is also the co-chair of the PTOP program at UC Berkeley.

There might be additional assisting instructors participating in the course. Their information will be announced to the participants when it becomes available.


6.      Beyond Academia Conference:

Greetings everyone! We are putting the final touches on our 2-day 2015 conference, and we think you won't want to miss it.
#BA2015 features:

Key Speakers - Bill Lindstaedt & Liz Silva (UCSF Career Center), L. Maren Wood (Lilli Research Group), Rosemary Joyce (Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, UC Berkeley)

Workshops with Nathan Gold, Andrew Green, Doug Kalish, Celia Sepulveda, Maren Wood, Jerry Engel, Debra Behrens, and many others on topics like: the job hunt process, negotiating job offers, tailoring your CV and cover letter, finding out what jobs might be best for you, creating a business plan, and public speaking.

Panels about careers in tech, non-profits, non-academic research, university administration, science communication, government, consulting, and education; what recruiters are looking for in applicants; what computer skills you need for your career path; plus what current graduate students are doing to prepare for their careers NOW!

Our website is being updated with information regularly: beyondacademia.orgThe ticket price ($20 day or $35 for a two-day ticket) includes a networking lunch and happy hour. Register now! (tickets are going fast and the conference will sell out!) 

-The Beyond Academia team


7.      BPA Pub Social @ Beta Lounge: Affordable drinks, priceless conversation. Come and chat with your fellow postdocs over drinks at the Beta Lounge(@Durant and Fulton) from 6:30pm-closing, Wednesday March 18th. We have ‘reserved’ signs courtesy of Beta Lounge so look out for them at one of the tables or sofas in the back. Beers are $3.50 and wine is $5/glass. Come by and say hi!

8.       BPA Monthly Board Meeting: The BPA board is always open to new ideas; we encourage everyone to get involved and help out. So if you would like to voice issues that you feel affect postdocs, or programs you’d like to start, then join us on Thursday March 19th at Barrows Hall, 6:45 pm (new time!) inRoom 652. Pizza and refreshments are included.

9.       Postdoc Pedagogy Lunch Series: Are you interested in discussing teaching experience and opportunities for postdocs? Come join the Berkeley Postdoctoral Association for the Pedagogy Series Lunch (PSL) designed to provide a forum on pedagogy for postdocs. The talks are informal and will take a ‘soapbox’ style, that is, you get 5-10 minutes to share your idea(s) with time for questions.  The Postdoc Pedagogy Lunch Series will be on Friday March 20th , 11:45 am – 1:15pm in Barrows Hall, Room 652.


10.   Thriving in Science Lecture: Courage to Explore: What Does Organizational Research – Tell Us about Learning from Failure?   Join us on Wednesday, March 25 at 6:00 pm in 105 Stanley Hall for a talk by Monica Worline, Affiliate Faculty, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; President, Vervago, Inc. This event is open to all, but it is primarily targeted at grad students and postdocs in the scientific community on campus.


Academic communication is not unique in its reliance on narrative to convey information and gather interest. Unfortunately, the narratives that we routinely construct can encourage unrealistic expectations in participants new to our disciplines. We'll discuss the typical narratives academics engage in, compare how they are interpreted differently by different audiences, and consider the best (and healthiest) ways to construe them.

11.   BPA hosts: Movie MondayBig Hero 6: 6 pm Monday, March 30, 652 Barrows Hall.  Join us for this month's Movie Monday! Light refreshments provided. 


Movie Description: Robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) lives in the city of San Fransokyo. Next to his older brother, Tadashi, Hiro's closest companion is Baymax (Scott Adsit), a robot whose sole purpose is to take care of people. When a devastating turn of events throws Hiro into the middle of a dangerous plot, he transforms Baymax and his other friends, Go Go Tamago (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Fred (T.J. Miller) into a band of high-tech heroes.


Have ideas for future Movie Mondays? Please fill out our survey and let us know!




For more information, look us up at http://postdoc.berkeley.edu/ or to sign up for postdocnet; an informal list to exchange info and look for furniture, housing, etc. - go to https://calmail.berkeley.edu/manage/list/listinfo/postdocnet@lists.berkeley.edu


If you know someone that doesn’t receive our emails, but would like to, they need to REGISTER their email address.  To register, or to change the address your emails are sent to, write to vspa@berkeley.edu



Interested in Outreach? 

Community Resources for Science


Community Resources for Science (CRS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting and engaging educators, students, and scientists in a vibrant community working together to excite all children about learning through the scientific exploration. CRS is funded by foundation and corporate grants, including UC Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and private donations. Through the Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) program, CRS recruits, prepares, and places Cal scientists and science students into local classrooms to deliver hands-on science lessons aligned with state standards, and to serve as enthusiastic and diverse role models.  CRS also facilitates classroom placements for various Cal education outreach groups, provides information and support services to teachers in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville and other local schools, and partners with Cal campus programs for pre-service teachers including CalTeach and Environmental Leadership Pathway