Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Biomedical Postdoctoral Council


Information on the various committees of the BPC. Click on a committee for more information, including a detailed list of activities and contact information.



To advocate for postdoc benefits to the administration and to the UPenn community at large.

Current Activities

The committee is currently advocating for the addition of 403b retirement accounts as well as flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for healthcare and daycare. We are also advocating for inclusion the existing Penn program for pre-tax deduction of SEPTA passes that students and faculty have access to.



Jason Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., Co-chair


Public Relations

All articles, current and past, can be found at the bpc newsletter's website. Articles from the current year can be found below.


The BPC Newsletter is looking for writers! We cover both Penn BPC events and broader issues relevant to post-docs in the biosciences. Writers have the flexibility to write on topics including scientific research, science policy, career issues, lifestyle, and more. Whether you have experience in science writing or would like to build new skills in this area, the BPC Newsletter provides opportunities to develop and refine technique in science writing. 

Ongoing activities

The BPC Newsletter is published quarterly.

Get Involved!

We are always looking for new writers.  If you would like to write for the BPC Newsletter, please contact the Editor in Chief,

If you have a story or event relevant to biomedical postdocs that you would like covered, please contact

Learn more.

Find out about us and check out past issues here:

Volume 3, Issue 1
Volume 3, Issue 2
Volume 3, Issue 3
Volume 3, Issue 4



Career Enhancement and Training (CET)


The Career Enhancement and Training Committee (CET) assists postdocs in becoming highly marketable by providing information, as well as conducting programs that enhance postdoctoral professional development.



Day One of Your Postdoc: Suggestions to start with:

  • Know where the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP) office is located and all the resources they can provide (BPP Webpage)
  • Begin to draft your Individual Development Plan (IDP)
  • Start thinking of at least one additional mentor who will be a good resource for your training besides your PI
  • Become an active member of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council (BPC)
  • Attend professional development programs and activities
  • Visit the career services webpage: Career Services  and Handshake


Proactive Career Development: Take Charge!

  • Develop and utilize networking skills including social media (LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Take advantage of the seminars and workshops organized by BPC, BPP, and Career Services to further your training
  • Voice your suggestions on what you will like to see as part of your training to BPC
  • Stay connected to your UPenn postdoctoral community


Obtain mentors (on and off campus) for multiple areas of your career planning, for example including mentors with:

  • Diverse program of training scientists for a broad range of careers
  • Reputation for placing trainees in great positions
  • Very successful grant applicant
  • Active consultant and collaborator
  • Have industry contacts




Patrick Cherubin, PhD

Aladdin Riad, PhD


Community Service


The goal of the Community Service committee is to provide opportunities for the biomedical postdocs to participate in service activities, sharing our skills with the community while gaining valuable experiences and having fun. 

Current activities

Science Outreach at Moder Patshala and the Free Library of Philadelphia

The University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Postdoctoral Council’s Community Service Committee currently organizes science outreach programs at two local institutions: Moder Patshala (44th and Market) and The Free Library of Philadelphia (40th and Walnut). This program pairs a Postdoc with a group of students ranging from grades K-8 at each location. Once to twice monthly, postdocs volunteer their time to prepare and present a science-based demonstration that is educational and engaging. The objective of these demonstrations is to not only educate the students, but to benefit the postdocs by developing transferable skills.

Donation Drives

Donations will be collected for the community centers we serve and for Bethesda Project in January/February 2017. Check back for updates.

Special Activities

  • Judging George Washington Carver Science Fair

(Volunteer Here:

          Elementary (Grades 4-6): February 22nd

          Secondary (Grades 7-12): March 14th

  • Philadelphia Science Festival: April 21-29
  • Philadelphia Science Carnival: April 29 10am-4pm

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in doing some community service on your own?  Check out these great local organizations! 

How can you contribute?

We are always looking for activity ideas and/or leaders.  If you have an idea of an activity you think would be fun, or if you’d like to lead an activity, please let us know. 

Announcements of upcoming community service events will be sent by email to the postdocs.  Keep your eyes open for new volunteer opportunities.  


Amanda Boggs, PhD

Brian Fugelstad, PhD



The Diversity Committee is a branch of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council run for and by postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and/or marginalized communities. These include, but are not limited to, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), women, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning, intersexed, agender, asexual, and ally) community.

This committee aims to provide information about opportunities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, grants/fellowships, travel awards, and volunteer opportunities uniquely related to issues of diversity. In addition, this committee seeks to provide a social and support network for underrepresented members of the biomedical postdoctoral community.

Get Involved!

Mentoring Circles

Mentoring Circles is a program developed by the Diversity Committee of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council to engage, encourage, and support Penn’s STEM scholars through mentoring at all levels of the pipeline – think mentoring in a round! This is an informal support group that offers opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty to network and learn from each other. If you are interested in gaining mentoring experience, volunteer to join our initiative. We are always looking for more postdoctoral fellows to lead the circles. Check out this feature in Penn Today (


If interested, please contact us at or by emailing the Co-Chairs listed below in the contact section.


Resources, Fellowships, and Funding for Underrepresented Postdoctoral Groups, and More

Minority Postdocs

L’Oréal for Women in Science Program

Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

MOSAIC Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00)

NIH Current Programs in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD)

Research Career Development Awards



Tiffany King, PhD (Co-Chair)


Amaliris Guerra, PhD (Co-Chair)


Jose Luna PhD (Member)


Brittany Taylor, PhD (Member)


Bárbara Domingues Bitarello, PhD (Member)


Environmental Action

Mission of the environmental committee is to create awareness and a strong sense of environmental responsibility among the biomedical postdoctoral community. The committee aims to acknowledge existing environmental problems, create awareness, implement simple, eco-friendly solutions, and promote environmental health and safety. We believe that your every small green action makes a huge difference! Biomedical Postdoctoral Council invites you to be a part of “Green Culture”.


  1. Increase environmental awareness

  2. Provide green guidelines for everyday life

  3. Promote recycling  at workplace

  4. Promote environmental health

  5. Community eco drives and outdoor eco-activities

Current activities

Survey: How green are research labs at Penn?

We prepared a survey to collect your feedback and opinion on Penn's green practices. We aim to set up the major axis of our future action plan based on the survey results. Please fill out our survey.

Chemical policy reform:  

Aims at replacing toxic chemicals in labs with lesser toxic, environmental friendly alternatives. This includes extensive research on toxic chemicals and their alternatives, price comparisons, interaction with EHRS and increase awareness among postdoctoral community.

Recycling lab waste: 

Aims at recycling non-biohazardous, non toxic lab waste.  This will include contacting vendors to recycle waste of the products purchased from them, and also increasing awareness among researchers to participate in recycling.

Past activities

Set up recycling for empty pipette tip boxes and packaging materials.

News and Events

Penn Sustainability

Green Links

EHRS policies on lab waste disposal

Toxic substances portal

Alternatives to toxic lab chemicals

Get Involved!

Go Green! Join us and make the difference!


Vito Rebecca, Ph.D. 


Foreign National Committee (FNC)

The University of Pennsylvania has altogether around 800 postdocs working in various schools. Approximately 70% are foreign nationals. Since the issues, requirements and experiences relevant to foreign postdocs are significantly different from those who are US citizens or permanent residents; this committee is actively involved in promoting activities that will enhance training, relocation and social resources available to Foreign National postdocs. The main goal of this committee is to create a general awareness especially for the postdocs coming to US for the first time.

Some of the major activities of the FNC are:

  • Bi-annual Visa seminar is conducted by a professional immigration lawyer who explain all the details and latest developments regarding H1, J1 and other visas as well as requirements for Green Card.
  • We would like to help postdocs adjust to life in the US and at the University
    • Postdocs can mail anyone in the council for any information or assistance
    • We want postdocs to interact and establish networking amongst themselves
  • We would like you to enjoy American holidays, sports and other social events
    • Look for announcements about upcoming events where you can meet people and share your experiences


The Foreign National Committee organizes mini-orientations for postdocs on last Thursdays of every month. All postdocs are welcome to attend our mini-orientations, give inputs and share their experiences as postdocs at UPenn.
Apart from our activities we also welcome your input and encourage you to contact us at with any suggestions on how to improve the scientific and social life of foreign postdocs at the University of Pennsylvania.


Nicole Anderson, PhD




The fund-raising committee organizes the annual Penn BPC Vendor Fair and Technology Seminar. This event brings vendors closer to Penn researchers and fosters an opportunity to build connections between vendors and post-docs. This annual event will also provide the postdoctoral council with additional resources to sponsor more career development activities for Penn and CHOP post-docs.

Ongoing activities

The Vendor Show is now a biannual event thanks to the support of our generous sponsors and the contributions and attendance of our stalwart postdoctoral community. In the future we hope to maintain the biannual status of the show and develop it to best suit the needs of the vendors and postdocs that it serves. The next event will take place February 24th 2015.


Terry Cathopoulis, Ph.D. 

Zev Einhorn, Ph.D. 

Whelton Miller, Ph.D. 

Lucas Smith, Ph.D. 


Postdoctoral Editors Association

The Postdoctoral Editors Association is a group of postdoctoral fellows organized as an adjunct of the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council. This group has volunteered to assist postdoctoral authors in articulating their thoughts by editing scientific manuscripts for language usage, punctuation, and organization. This service was designed specifically to answer the request of many postdoctoral researchers for whom English is a second language, but we anticipate that it will be useful for any postdoctoral researcher engaged in scientific writing. This service is intended to optimize the interaction of postdoctoral researchers and their mentors during the process of preparing a manuscript for publication by minimizing the time they spend on basic writing skills. Postdoctoral Editors Association members, while endeavoring to clarify meaning, will provide only minimal scientific review of manuscripts as this critical dialogue during the process of preparing a manuscript should occur between postdoctoral researchers and their mentors.

Ongoing activities

We provide free, confidential editing of a variety of different documents including manuscripts, abstracts, grant proposals, and slides/posters for meetings.  

Get Involved!

We are always looking for new editors.  If you’re interested, or would like more information, please contact the editor-in-chief.

Are you looking for help with a paper or other document that you’re writing?  We’d love to help, and our services are free! 

Step 1: Contact the editor-in-chief at

Step 2: Fill out our confidentiality statement

Step 3: Submit document for editing either electronically or by arrangement with the editor-in-chief


Diana Cousminer, Ph.D.

Arunika Das, Ph.D.
Associate editor-in-chief

A full roster of editors is here.


Seminars and Workshops

Current Activities

Biomedical Postdoctoral Council Science and Society Seminar Series


Jim Shroder (SPARK) and Meagan Hopkins-Doerr (iPRAXIS)

About Spark

Spark combats the epidemic of disengagement and dropping-out among low-income urban youth with a unique apprenticeship model that brings 7th and 8th grade youth into professional workplaces. Through hands-on activities within a meaningful adult relationship, Spark mentors help students develop foundational social-emotional skills, connect their school work to tangible career opportunities, and increase their motivation and performance in school. Volunteering with Spark helps mentors develop new skills and increase their job satisfaction.

For more information: www.sparkprogram.orgYoutube

About iPraxis

iPRAXIS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in the Science Center, in the heart of Philadelphia’s University City.They are located at the intersection of information technology and the life sciences, commerce and academia – ideally situated to bring the benefits of the knowledge economy to the people most in need. iPRAXIS initiatives focus on improving science education for under-served students, increasing the participation of minorities in the business of science, and guaranteeing that scientific breakthroughs benefit everyone. 

For more information: 

Past Seminars

Institutions and Population Health:  The Case of Prisons Jason Schnittker, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology, UPenn, May 13th, 2011


Amita Bansal, Ph.D. 

Jagmohan Hooda, Ph.D


Social Events

Having an enjoyable social experience is indeed part of a successful postdoctoral appointment. As Penn postdocs, we are fortunate enough to live in a city that has a wide array of interesting activities and a diverse population of colleagues from all over the world. The mission of the BPC Social Activities Committee is to make use of these resources to contribute to the exchange of cultural experiences and knowledge while having fun at the same time.

Monthly Post-doc Happy Hours

On a Friday in the middle of every month the Post-doc Happy Hour is held at PHS Pop Up Beer Garden (36th and Filbert). Starting at 5:30pm, enjoy great time with your fellow postdocs. Friends and coworkers are welcome, as long as they are 21+. Postdocs should receive email for the upcoming Happy Hour from BPC or you may check our BPC Facebook page.

Resources available at PENN

The BPC believes in not only the scientific interaction amongst post-docs but in social interactions as well. The University of Pennsylvania has several recreation facilities and offers a variety of activities that BPC Post-docs can take advantage of.

Recreation Facilities at The University of Pennsylvania:

Postdocs are eligible for a gym membership at the faculty/staff rates. For an annual membership paid in full, this would be $485 or monthly installments of $45. For a 30 days membership, the price is $60. 

For more information please visit PENN Rec website.

In addition to several Programs, the PENN Rec offers unique opportunities like Outdoor AdventureIntramural Sports, and Sports Clubs

The postdoctoral Council organizes teams to play in intramural sports that are organized by the University of Pennsylvania Department of Recreation. We won the Intramural Soccer championship in 2001!

Get Involved!

If you are interested to help in the organization of an event or if you have exciting ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Raj Putatunda



The BPC Symposium committee members help the Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs Office in all aspects of planning and implementing the annual symposium. This includes choosing and scheduling the Keynote Speaker, soliciting vendor and advertisement support, selecting and scheduling submitted abstracts for poster and paper presentations, compiling the abstract book, and organizing the coffee / food breaks throughout the day.


Juliana Small, PhD
Co-Chair, Symposium Planning Committee

Priya Sivaramakrishnan, PhD
Co-Chair, Symposium Planning Committee​