Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs

Postdoc Training - Supplemental

The Art of Speaking: Presentation and Public Speaking Skills

Presentation and Public Speaking are addressed through a series of workshops offered every year with Lisa B. Marshall. For more information on Lisa Marshall visit her website at or her talk blog

The large group seminars expose the post-docs to an effective technical presentation organizational structure, show them how to develop and practice "hallway" mini presentations, and explain effective design strategies for communicating scientific information.

Through the presentation workshops (small groups) postdocs can experiment with and develop their speaking, presentation and interpersonal communication skills in a "communication laboratory". The workshops provide an invaluable and rare experience of presenting scientific work to other biomedical professionals in a supportive, educational environment. Attendees also gain by deepening and broadening their understanding of their colleague’s work.

[Traditionally occurs in Spring]

Biomedical Postdoctoral Research Symposium

Presented by Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs and the Penn Postdoctoral Association, the annual research symposium is a wonderful opportunity for postdocs to share their research through either a lecture or poster presentation. One exceptional postdoctoral abstract is selected to give the honorary Kumar Memorial Lecture.

This full day symposium allows postdocs a chance to showcase their work to their colleagues in the university's biomedical community, as well as the rest of the Philadelphia's scientific community.

In addition to the postdoctoral presentations, a highlight of this event is the keynote speaker. In the past speakers included Laskar Award winners, Nobel Prize winners, and many other distinguished scientists from all different areas of study. This event is held every fall, with submissions for abstracts due in late summer.

[Traditionally occurs in the Spring]

Business Etiquette Workshop

A workshop conducted by Mary Mitchell that includes the following topics:

  • How American Corporate Culture and Manners Work
  • What Employers Look For In Your Behavior, Dress, Conversation
  • The Top Ten Business Behavior Mistakes
  • The Mindset and Mechanics of Business Dining

Mary Mitchell is a part of The Mitchell Organization. Her group provides critical training in communications, interpersonal and professional etiquette skills to help business, school, individuals, and government agencies achieve their maximum potential. To find out more about The Mitchell Organization go to their website at

This particular workshop is formatted in such a way that attendees move through a formal business lunch while Mary Mitchell explains the important aspects of dining with a potential employer or even a fellow colleagues. Potential employers from both the corporate and academic worlds have expressed how important this portion (business dining) is during a formal interview.

From how to hold your fork to transitioning from casual conversation to business discussions, Mary will have attendees leave with the skills and knowledge to make business dining a success. In addition to the luncheon, Mary Mitchell remains on campus for the three days following the workshop and each attendee is given a 1 hour, individual appointment with Mary. They may practice interview, give their interview attire a test run, or simply ask questions that were not answered during the luncheon.

[Traditionally occurs in Fall]

Career Workshop Series

This workshop series is designed to provide updates on current market trends, critical job search skills, types of employment opportunities, as well as to provide insights into the personal experiences of Penn postdoc alumni. This is a four week long series and is offered every other year (*alternating with the Research Success Skills Workshop) and includes:

Basic Job Search Skills- participants will here from Career Service counselors, HR professionals, and academics who have served on hiring selections committees. These speakers will be discussing topics such as CV/resume tips, interviewing, job talks, and skills for completing a successful job search.
Pursuing an Academic Career- during this session postdocs will be able to hear all about the process of pursuing and maintaining a career in academia from multiple points of view including: recently hired professors, an individual who has recently received tenure, those involved in the hiring/selection/tenure process, and more. They will be touching on organizing for an academic job search, the tenure track, different types of academic institutions, and what it really means to enter this field.
Career Opportunities in Industry-for this workshop BPP invites individuals from different parts of the industry community such as HR and recruitment specialist, presidents of start-up companies, directors of large pharmaceutical companies as well as smaller biotechnology industry companies. They will explain what is needed to get into this field, what you should expect, the pro’s and con’s, and what you will be able to gain.
Career Paths for Biomedical Scientists- the final part of this series highlights different careers for biomedical scientist outside of traditional academia and the biotech/pharma industry. Speakers will talk about careers in areas such as: Technology Transfer, Grant Review, Intellectual Property, Scientific Writing, and Scientific Policy.

[Traditionally occurs in the Spring (*2024, 2026, 2028, etc.)]

K & F Awards Workshops

BPP offers three workshops in this series, the first is a General Know Your K& F workshop, the second is F Applicants workshop tailored specifically to the NIH Fellowships F32, and the third is K Applicants workshop tailored specifically to the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award.

Beth Schachter, Ph.D, Science Communications Consultant: Strategies/Tactics of Biomed Grantsmanship (NIH, NSF), Manuscript Writing/Publishing, presents for all three workshops.

Below are short descriptions for the three workshops:

  • General KNOW YOUR K & F Workshop-This workshop introduces National Institutes of Health (NIH), award categories, and the application review criteria. Dr. Schachter will also discuss using the NIH RePORTER database, developing your Specific Aims page (the 1-page roadmap of the proposal), and your Research Plan.
  • F Applicants Workshop (Kirschstein-NRSA: F32)- This workshop provides an overview of the NIH’s fellowship that enhances promising postdoctoral candidates training. Dr. Schachter will provide guidance on the applications for F32 awards. You will also hear experiences from past awardee(s). So afterwards F award applicants can use the strategies to enhance their probability of success. This award is open to U.S. citizen or permanent resident, with research or clinical doctoral degree (institution eligibility: U.S. domestic institutions, foreign institutions).
  • K Applicants Workshop (Pathway to Independence: K99/R00)-This workshop provides an overview of the NIH's fellowships that offers promising postdoctoral scientists the opportunity to receive both mentored (K) and independent research support (R) from the same award. Dr. Schachter will provide guidance on the applications for K99/R00 awards. You will also gain insight from past awardee(s). So afterwards K award applicants can use the strategies to enhance their probability of success. This award is open to U.S. citizen or non-citizen, with research or clinical doctoral degree, and no more than 4 years of Post-Doctoral research experience (institution eligibility: U.S. domestic institutions).

K & F Award workshops participants will gain a solid understanding of the creative (scientific) and the organizational/administrative aspects of preparing a competitive fellowship application. To help develop this understanding, along with discussing key elements of the proposal, participants will draft a preliminary outline of these sections. Based on the outline, participants will then draft an action plan for completing the application.

[Traditionally occurs in the Spring]

Negotiation Skills Course

This workshop is an interactive seminar that teaches the essential tools and skills needed to develop and master the art of negotiation. This course will not only focus on developing the skill of negotiating in work place, but will also teach how they can be practiced and utilized in everyday life. After attending this workshop postdocs will be able to take the negotiating skills learned and put them to immediate use - Be it negotiating a job offer, with vendors, or buying a car, postdocs will work together to develop the skills needed to negotiate successfully.

This two part course consists of one full day workshop where attendees will learn and hone the skills needed to negotiate. This is followed three weeks later by a half day workshop where attendees will return to discuss and compare how they were able to use the skills they had learned, as well as receive some final advice on how to improve negotiating skills.

[Traditionally occurs in the Summer]

New Postdoc Orientation

This event runs three times a year and consists of a two hour session of presentations where postdocs hear from the following groups: Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs, Biomedical Postdoctoral Council, Penn Career Services, and Office of International Programs. They share important information about what it is to be a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania and all the resources that are available. Postdocs are then invited to stay for a light reception and have the ability to meet fellow postdocs as well as speak with the presenters. It is highly encouraged that postdocs attend this session as close to their start date as possible, as it contains valuable information.

[January, May, September]

Research Success Skills Workshop Series

This series is offered every other year (*alternating with the Career Workshop Series) and includes three workshops held over the course of three weeks. They are:

Scientific Writing: In this workshop participants will hear from multiple speakers and learn about how to improve scientific writing skills, the publication process, and submission.
Grant Writing and the Peer Review Process: Postdocs will hear from individuals on both sides of the grant writing process both those who have successfully submitted as well as those who are part of the selection process. They will touch on topics including, writing your first grant, funding opportunities, grant submission (budget/regulatory approvals and administrative deadlines) and the peer pre-review and review process.
Laboratory Management: In this workshop postdocs will hear from PI’s, directors of administration, and those involved in research support services to discuss topics like the following- making the most of your resources, setting goals and times management, hiring and retaining good help, and post-award management and compliance.

[Traditionally occurs in the Spring (*2023, 2025, 2027, etc)]

Scientific Writing Workshop

Presented by Judith Swan, this is a half-day, hands-on workshop to help postdocs communicate more effectively through their writing. Postdocs are encouraged to bring an abstract with them to revise with their new writing skills.

[Traditionally occurs in the Spring]

ESL Course 

Instructed by Language ConnectED, Strategically Speaking: Building Fluency for Confident Communication is an intensive 6-week course designed to address the unique needs of BPP postdocs who are non-native speakers of English. The ability for postdocs to successfully communicate research in podium presentations, meetings, one-on-one interactions as well as in lab are essential for professional advancement. This course is specifically designed and tailored to address oral communication for the science setting. This is not a basic ESL pronunciation course. Pronunciation will be addressed, but it is not the main component. Participants will be expected to be highly engaged in oral communication, including giving mini presentations. This is not a course on slide design; however, feedback for improvement will be given.

This course traditional occurs twice a year during the Fall and Spring.

Technology Workshops

This Illustrator with Photoshop workshop is held 1-2 times per year (Spring and/or Fall) with each session focusing on developing and fine tuning the skill needed to utilize different programs that postdocs may use to help present their work.

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