Postdoctoral Affairs E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

December 2020

Dear Postdoctoral Fellow Community –

As 2020 draws to a close, I want to congratulate you on all that you’ve accomplished during a year like no other. You each played an integral role in advancing the university’s mission of discovery and learning despite the challenges we faced.

By anchoring down and stepping up, we navigated these past several months with no evidence of COVID transmissions within our classrooms or research spaces! Over the holiday break, please stay the course, and continue to protect your health and safety and that of those around you.

I hope you take time this week to enjoy some of the festive events outlined below, and if you haven’t already, please also take a few minutes to complete our postdoc survey. Your answers and feedback will allow OPA to better work with campus partners and serve you in the new year.

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday and a very happy new year!

Sally Parker
Interim Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs



OPA will be closed in observance of the university winter break from December 22, 2020 until January 4, 2021.

VPA Holiday Lunch

This December 17 at noon, The Vanderbilt Postdoc Association is excited to carry on the tradition of our holiday lunch, but with a socially distant spin. Join your colleagues to connect, celebrate, & feast together during the VPA Virtual Townhall. Register here.

We’re in This Together: A Vanderbilt Show of Gratitude

Grammy-winning musicians Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit will lead a lineup of entertainment in a special “show of gratitude” for the Vanderbilt community on Thursday, Dec. 17. Read more.

Turkey Toss set for Dec. 18

Turkey Toss, a longstanding Vanderbilt holiday tradition in which the university expresses thanks to faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication throughout the year, will look a little different for 2020. Read more.

Seeking your feedback in our Postdoc Survey

OPA is seeking your feedback to help gain a deeper understanding of postdoc needs and satisfaction in terms of services and resources. Results from this survey will inform the development and refinement of OPA services and operational strategy. This survey should take about seven minutes and is completely anonymous. Access the survey here.

ASPIRE Module: Management and Business Principles for Scientists, 2021

In spring semester 2021, the BRET Office of Career Development is offering a module for biomedical PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, Business and Management Principles for Scientists. It is ideal for trainees interested in independent research careers in industry or academia (running a research lab in academia is often compared to owning a small business), scientific or management careers in academic core facilities or contract research organizations, and any career outside the lab which requires business acumen!  The application deadline is Monday December 14, 2020. Learn more and apply here.

Funding Opportunities

We are continuously adding funding opportunities to our website. New additions include the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship program which honors female scientists at a critical stage in their careers with grants of $60,000 each and DARPA’s new research program for computer science postdocs. Learn more here.

Hardship Funding

Please be aware of the existing hardship funds and mutual aid resources available, including the Vanderbilt Faculty and Staff Hardship Fund and the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. You can find more information, along with a listing of other postdoc resources here.

VU/VUMC shared Exchange Outlook address book to be separated in early 2021

As part of continued separation of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center IT systems, VUIT will initiate work to separate the shared Exchange Outlook address book on Jan. 8, 2021. Read more.


Stay in the Loop!

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)

Events for Postdocs



Return to Campus Update

This Return to Campus Update is part of our ongoing effort to provide you with the latest information regarding the Return to Campus Plan. While some of this information may not directly affect you, we want to ensure everyone in our community has easy access to this information. Read more.


Wellness Support

Join Lauren Dattilo, Ph.D., HSP from the Work/Life Connections-EAP Postdoc Wellness Program on Wednesday, December 16th from 12 to 12:50 for our monthly Wellness Wednesday series. Register here.

Read: nurturing your mental health during the holidays.

Watch: Healthier You presentation “having compassion amidst holiday stress.”


VUMC hosting blood drive for the American Red Cross

With an urgent need for blood donations, the American Red Cross is holding a series of blood drives at Vanderbilt University Medical Center throughout the fall. Read more.


ASPIRE Cafe for Postdoctoral Fellows

Learn more about the BRET Career Development Aspire Cafe for Postdocs and explore topics in career development and professionalism.


ASPIRE Job Search Series for PhD Students and Postdocs

Explore topics specific to the job search process in informational sessions in the Job Search Series. Sessions are open to postdoctoral fellows at any stage of their training.


ASPIRE PhD Career Stories

PhD Career Stories is a monthly seminar series about career options for PhD scientists. Speakers from a diverse range of exciting scientific careers present their career path and share insights from their professional experiences.


New and Expecting Parents’ Support Group for Postdocs and Grad Students

If you are pregnant or considering parenting, you are invited to join a new Parents’ Support Group designed by/for graduate students who are trying to conceive, currently pregnant, new parents, or parents of toddlers! Postdocs are welcome!