Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs

Section 2: Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP)

Mission Statement

The University of Pennsylvania created the Policy for Postdoctoral Fellows in the Physical, Biological and Health Sciences and in Engineering in 1996. This policy describes the rights and obligations of postdoctoral fellows as members of the University community. The School of Medicine established the OPP in July 1997 to serve as a central resource and to enhance and support the work experience of postdoctoral appointees, their faculty mentors, and staff engaged in research and research training. On July 1, 2001, in accordance with Affiliation Agreements signed by the Schools of Veterinary and Dental Medicine, the role of OPP was expanded to support the postdoctoral appointees, faculty mentors and staff of these two schools. To accurately reflect the new and expanded role of OPP, the name of the office was changed to Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP).

BPP has established a standardized appointment procedure for all Biomedical postdocs. This includes the use of approved (by the Standing Committee of Departmental Chairs and Directors of Centers and Institutes) appointment letters for initial appointments, renewals and terminations and verification of doctoral degre. It monitors length of service to ensure no one is appointed to the postdoc title for more than five years at Penn. An orientation package is provided upon arrival and tri-annual orientation sessions are held for new postdocs. Part of the orientation process includes a registration form to provide information for the postdoctoral database. A comprehensive website ( contains information on mandatory training sessions, postdoctoral funding opportunities, resource offices and career development. There is also a PENNMed Postdoctoral posting service which permits faculty to post postdoctoral openings on-line. BPP works with Biomedical Graduate Studies and the Center for Bioethics to provide Bioethics training. The Office has developed a series of postdoctoral Career Workshops, which address basic-job search skills, academic careers, industrial careers and alternative careers.

Organizational Structure

Dr. Maja Bućan, Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Research Training, serves as the Director of BPP; Dr. Ana-Rita Mayol serves as the Director of Administration.  The BPP office is also staffed by Donna Crawley, Academic Programs Coordinator, Lauren Cannon, Financial Administrative Coordinator, and Elena Cruz, BPP/ PennPORT Administrative Coordinator.  Dr. Bućan reports directly to Dr. Jon Epstein, Vice Dean for Research and Research Training.  BPP is served by an Advisory Committee consisting of senior faculty members from the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, in addition to affiliates such as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Wistar Institute.  BPP office staff and two postdoctoral fellows nominated by the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council (BPC) also serve on the advisory committee.

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