Postdoc Training Program

Our training program provides expanded resources and learning venues for our Postdocs. The WIPDA organizes a series of career development talks that are given every year by a new set of speakers (around April/May).

Topics usually included are:

  • Application and Interviewing for faculty positions - speakers are usually WI postdocs who have recently successfully competed for faculty positions.
  • Negotiating your start-up package
  • Starting and running your own lab - Speakers are usually former WI postdocs who have already started their labs
  • Successful Grant writing


Second Mentor Program

The WIPDA encourages every WI postdoc to chose at least one other mentor besides their primary advisor with whom they discuss their research and career decisions frequently.

Obtaining a second mentor is crucial for several reasons:

  • Independent evaluation of the specific project and research progress
  • Career advice
  • Assess progress toward the desired career goals
  • Provide letters of reference for grants and job applications
  • Conflict resolution

Many postdocs at Whitehead have already established informal and productive relationships of this sort through collaborations within academia and the biotech industry. It should be noted though, that the second mentor could be outside of the postdoc’s primary research area – perhaps in an entirely different field.

In some cases, the postdoc may choose to be mentored by someone with whom he or she is already familiar. However, in other cases – e.g. when the postdoc is new to the field and/or not involved inactive collaborations – he or she may want to obtain suggestions for second mentors from the primary advisor and/or other colleagues in the primary advisor’s lab.

Another possible way to find a second mentor is to access the WI alumni online database (WIND). The WI alumni list contains all (or most) of the former WI Ph.D. students, postdocs, fellows and faculty. They represent a great resource for advice on career and research questions, and often still carry out research that is close to the "parent" lab at the Whitehead Institute. 

It is recommended that the postdoc allow six months from the time of arrival at the Institute so that the postdoc and his/her primary advisor have the opportunity to discuss the initial phases of the research project and career issues.


MIT Resources

Independent Activities Period (IAP)


Local and National Resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - News and information on biotechnology

Mass. Biotechnology Council - Careers and Internships Directory

National Postdoctoral Association

Science Magazine - Career Site

Other funding source ideas

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