BSD Postdoctoral Association


The mission of the BSD PDA is to serve the Postdoctoral Fellows, Postdoctoral Scholars, Research Associates and Medical Fellows of the University of Chicago by promoting their continued success in the research community and enhancing the quality of the postdoctoral experience for all participants.

PDA By-laws, updated Aug 2015


  • To provide a collective voice and liaison between postdocs, faculty, and the administration of The University of Chicago.
  • To promote effective postdoctoral training and career counseling of postdocs at The University of Chicago.
  • To be a research center with the aim to collect, develop, and disseminate information useful to postdocs including job announcements, seminar notices, and materials on living resources.
  • To promote research and help develop skills essential for continued excellence in research careers.
  • To foster both social and professional communication and collaboration among its members.


What is the BSD Postdoctoral Association (PDA)?

Representative postdoctoral researchers in the Biological Sciences Division formed an organization in 1999 to address the concerns of this unique group. The PDA is an organization committed to helping the development of researchers who hold a doctorate but are not yet independent researchers.

The PDA has two main roles, (i) to represent the interests of this group directly to the University of Chicago faculty and administration (ii) to provide both social and career development resources for researchers.

Who is a member of the BSD Postdoctoral Association?

All BSD postdoctoral fellows and scholars are members of the BSD PDA. Membership in the PDA is open to all non-faculty persons in post-Ph.D. research capacity at The University of Chicago, whether or not they work in the Biological Sciences Division. This category is recognized by the University as either Postdoctoral Fellows, Postdoctoral Scholars, Research Associates, or parenthetical Research Associates (Instructor/etc). Medical Fellows who are engaged primarily in research positions and have completed their M.D. also qualify. These persons are collectively referred to as “postdocs” in this website.

Eligibility for membership begins with the first day of a qualifying individual’s research appointment and ends either (a) on the last day or (b) upon reclassification of an individual’s institutional status to a type not mentioned above.

How do I get involved in the BSD Postdoctoral Association?

To participate actively with the Postdoctoral Association, or to communicate any ideas, comments or suggestions, please contact the PDA President or Vice President from our Contact PageClick here for descriptions of our subcommittees.

When does the committee of the BSD Postdoctoral Association meet?

The committee meets each month. Meetings are often held in the BSLC. Please contact the PDA President or Vice President if you wish to attend a committee meeting. Any interested party is welcome.

PDA History and Achievements

  • Started new Diversity Committee to better support UChicago and Chicago-wide initiatives that promote Diversity & Inclusion.
  • BSD Postdoctoral Researcher Fee to support professional development was implemented based on recommendations from The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through (2018) Report by the Committee on the Next Generation Initiative Board on Higher Education and Workforce Policy and Global Affairs
  • Postdoc Alumni database updated for better career and outcome tracking of postdoc alumni, based on career taxonomy standardization.
  • PDA Website and Weekly Bulletin redesigned.
  • The BSD PDO supported the travel of one postdoc representative to the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, TX and one postdoc representative to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Annual Meeting.
  • The PDA hosted the 5th Postdoctoral Research and Career Development Symposium on May 8, and held workshops to train 12 postdocs in science communication skills with campus and area experts. Four were selected to give TED-style talks at the symposium, and 3 postdocs received travel awards for their outstanding poster presentations.
  • The Teaching & Outreach Committee developed a relationship with a local program, STRIVE, to mentor southside students, and was awarded an Inclusive Climate Grant to support these activities.
  • The BSD effort to standardize postdoc titles was used as one of two models in a report from the American Society for Biochemistry and Moecular Biology (ASBMB), published in eLife. Erin Heckler represented the BSD as a panelist for the ASBMB webinar accompanying the paper’s release with colleagues from Boston University and West Virginia University.
  • Presented preliminary National Postdoc Survey data at the annual National Postdoctoral Association Conference poster session in March and at the National Academies Next Generation Researchers Initiative Meeting in September.
  • Future of Bioscience Graduate and Postdoctoral Training 2 (FOBGAPT2) Meeting outcomes report was published in eLife. Nancy Schwartz was an author on the report.
  • Expanded National Postdoc Appreciation Week by collaborating with UChicago GRAD, myCHOICE and PSD. Highest ever attendance at the annual picnic with 169 postdocs representing all divisions (BSD, PSD, IME, SSD, and Harris).
  • The University Policy Committee and postdoc office work with the Office of Academic Affairs to increase the supplemental stipend for BSD Postdoctoral Fellows effective July 1, 2016 for the first time since 2005. The only university division to have this policy.
  • Dean and Director of Postdoctoral Affairs, Nancy Schwartz, receives the 2016 National Postdoctoral Association Distinguished Service Award. Nancy also served as a plenary speaker and moderator of several workshops at the NPA Annual Meeting.
  • Kyle Dolan is awarded 1st place in the poster presentation competition at the NPA Annual Meeting for his poster, “Postdoctoral Advocacy in Action: Lessons from the Future of Research Chicago Symposium” by Kyle Dolan, Rianne Ellenbroek, Erin Heckler and Nancy B. Schwartz.
  • 4th Annual Postdoctoral Research and Career Development Symposium on Oct 18th
  • Postdoc Welcome Committee re-vamped their methods and has increased outreach to new postdocs several-fold. Twice the attendance at new postdoc info sessions.
  • Launch and data collection of the National Postdoc Survey, over 7,600 responses from 300+ institutions, and all 50 states!
  • Initiated Mentor Training for Postdocs based on Entering Mentoring Curriculum by the National Research Mentoring Network.
  • Daina Ringus presented a workshop on “Conflict Prevention and Resolution Strategies” at the NPA Annual Meeting.
  • Led Future of Research Chicago Symposium with keynote speakers Dr. Gregory Petsko and Dr. Keith Yamamoto
  • The Survey Committee wrote the National Postdoctoral Survey, to launch 2016. First national postdoc survey since 2004/5.
  • Tenth Anniversary of the weekly bulletin and weekly seminar series!
  • The BSD Postdoctoral Researcher Complaint Resolution Process is established based on work done by the University Policy Committee
  • Welcome Packet revised and updated by the Welcome Committee
  • Postdoctoral Grievance Policy (inititally developed by the University Policy Committee), established as a BSD policy in 2015
  • Third UChicago Postdoctoral Research and Career Development Symposium, May 15th
  • Postdoc Welcome Committee formed
  • Social media outreach extends to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Vision Insurance for postdocs was offered for the first time during open enrollment due to efforts by the Policy Committee
  • Second postdoctoral symposium, October 25. This was the first time a city-wide postdoctoral event had taken place.
  • Inaugural postdoctoral symposium, April 8
  • Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs re-organized to include Postdoctoral Administrator position under the leadership of the Dean and Director for Postdoctoral Affairs, Dr. Nancy Schwartz
  • Tenth Anniversary of Surveys on the postdoctoral experience
  • Postdoc blog and Twitter accounts established
  • Postdoc Rights & Benefits documents published; Benefits package adopted for postdoctoral fellows (nearly comparable to scholars)
  • Orientation Pack published and circulated to new postdocs – from November 2006
  • National Postdoctoral Association Annual Meeting – attended by Imogen Hurley, April 21-23. Travel awardee. Poster presented “Second Generation Postdoctoral Association: Challenges and Solutions”
  • BSD Postdoc Survey 2006 – August 2006
  • BSD PDA Website expanded and redesigned
  • Weekly bulletin – first issued September 2005
  • Weekly Seminar Series – started September 2005
  • Supplemental stipend increased.
  • Supplemental stipend initiated for BSD Postdoctoral Fellows
  • National Postdoctoral Association co-founded by Orfeu Buxton (U of C PDA President), January 2003
  • The University of Chicago BSD becomes a founding institutional member of the National Postdoctoral Association
  • Adoption of the NIH/NRSA Postdoctoral minimum Stipend as the basis for compensation for all U of C BSD Postdoctoral Trainees
  • Science’s NextWave “Postdoc Network National Meeting Implementation 2002: Opportunities for Collaboration” – ad hoc Exploratory Committee member, Orfeu Buxton
  • BSD Postdoctoral Advisory Committee (faculty & postdocs) – Orfeu Buxton (co-chair) and Angelika Longacre, 2002-2003.
  • BSD Research Aims Action Plan Committee – member, Orfeu Buxton, 2002-2003
  • BSD PDA 2000-2001 survey of postdocs in the Biological Sciences Division
  • National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering’s Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) Convocation on Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience – Invited Panelist, Stephen Gasior
  • Science’s Nextwave “Postdoc Network National Meeting 2001: Sharing Solutions to Postdoc Needs” – Invited Panelist, Stephen Gasior, March 3, 2001
  • Committee to Advise the President on a New Dean (Biological Sciences Division) – Postdoctoral representative, Stephen Gasior, April 2001
  • BSD Postdoctoral Association Website launched
  • BSD Postdoctoral Association founded by Stephen Gasior, Angelika Longacre and Ana Kitazono