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Published by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 2018-03-14 13:38:46

2018 Spring Bunsen Burner

Bunsen Burner




In most labs at OMRF, you’ll find at least one person (Pat Gaffney, Dave Jones, Courtney Montgomery,
with the title of “postdoctoral fellow.” Also known as Scott Plafker and Susannah Rankin) who give their time
postdocs, these researchers have recently earned their to help arm postdocs with the skills and resources to
doctoral degrees and are spending a sort of extended achieve their long-term career goals. “The idea is that it
apprenticeship in a lab before starting an independent can be an added bonus to the mentoring our postdocs
scientific career. already receive in the lab and as a boon to the Postdoc
Association,” says Courtney.
Or, as an article in Science, joked: “Because the term
‘postdoc’ warrants clarification, you’ll find yourself To this end, the committee holds monthly meetings
regularly explaining your status to family members who that offer guidance on topics like job searches, scientific
were so excited about you finishing grad school and now writing, and alternative career paths. Although they’ve
are just confused.” only been going since August, the meetings have proven
quite popular, drawing an average of more than 30
And life as a postdoc really can be confusing. It requires postdocs. (OMRF usually counts about 40 postdocs at
young scientists to balance the demands of lab work, any given time.)
preparing grants and writing scientific papers—all while
mapping out their scientific career paths. The sessions, says Erola Ainsua Enrich, have been eye-
opening. “These are things we do not know as postdocs.”
“The time you spend as a post-doc is becoming longer
and longer before reaching a full research position,” The committee also provides opportunities for
says Albert Batushansky. “Options are limited because postdocs to hone their scientific presentation skills and
universities are cutting research positions. It seems the broaden their peer network. In addition, it offers travel
only paths are going to industry or becoming a principal grants that help cover the costs of attending national and
investigator. That’s a huge challenge.” international research conferences.

To give postdocs a hand in navigating these challenging All of these resources have proven invaluable, says
waters, OMRF has launched a new Postdoc Training Erola. “They are helping us to define our strengths and
Committee. “What we want is to help them achieve take the steps to do what we love.”
their professional goals and to provide the additional
resources, information and guidance they need to Still, she says, perhaps the best part of the experience
help make their overall training more productive has been building relationships with Courtney and her
and successful,” says Courtney Griffin, who chairs
the committee. fellow committee members. “It is so good to know
these scientists have our backs and that we are not
Along with Courtney, the committee consists alone. They’ve been just like us in the past, and
of five other OMRF principal investigators they are sharing their knowledge. It’s amazing,
and I hope it continues for a long time.”

What’s the PDA?

Not to be confused with the Postdoc Training
Committee, the Postdoc Association (PDA) is
a national social organization consisting solely
of postdocs. OMRF has its own chapter of the
PDA, chaired by Erola Ainsua Enrich, who helps
organize PDA happy hours, movie nights and other
opportunities for postdocs to socialize. “These fun
events bring more of us together and increase our
interaction, both in and out of scientific settings,”
says Erola. “And that has been wonderful.”

Need some cash? Or maybe you’re hankering for a
latte? Here’s a guide to some handy resources that
are—literally—right around the corner.

ATMs Mail

BancFirst has an ATM on the third floor above In addition to OMRF mail services,
the main lobby in Children’s Hospital. There’s you can find a USPS drop box next to
also an Oklahoma Federal Credit Union ATM the BancFirst ATM on the third floor
in the VA that‘s open 24/7. of Children’s. The collection time is 4
p.m. weekdays.
Child Care
Just west of OMRF (701 NE 13th
Street), Woven Life Childcare offers OMRF’s Marsha Lewis (administrative
comprehensive early childhood services) and Davida Chandler (HR) are
education to children ages 2 to 6. both licensed notaries; they each office
on the second floor of the east wing of
Coffee the Chapman Building.

Patriot Brew serves Starbucks Pharmacies
coffee on the ground floor of the VA
weekdays until 6 p.m. Across the street at You can fill prescriptions during regular business
Children’s (third floor), Kamps 1910 Café hours at pharmacies on the second floor of the
will also pour you a cup of joe until 6. (It’s Children’s atrium or in the OU Family Medicine
open Saturdays, too.) Building (900 East 10th Street).

Weathering Spring in the Sooner State

When severe thunderstorms, winds, hail and “This is our primary means of communication for
tornadoes threaten during the work day, what alerts of all kinds, so it’s important to sign up,”
should you do? Where should you go? And how says Azure.
can you stay in the loop? In the event of tornado sirens, stop work
and immediately proceed to a designated
“It’s best to have a strategy shelter. At OMRF, that means the tunnel
ahead of time,” says Safety and or shelters in the Chapman Building
Environmental Technician Azure basement beneath the east and west
Lutz. “So OMRF has put together wings. The southwest corner of the P1
some information to help garage will also work in a pinch.
ease your concerns,” For additional information,
see the “Emergency
First, make sure you Procedures” manual under the
sign up for text alerts “Administration” tab on the
(see graphic for details). intranet.
Through our partnership
with OUHSC, you’ll be “It’s important to be safe and secure in these
alerted in the event of a campus closing, impending situations, and few places are safer than OMRF
weather event or any dangerous situation that might when severe weather strikes,” says Azure.
develop on or near campus.

Photo Finish CALENDAR APR. 5 First Thirstday
MAY. 17 Spring Fling
Employee Service Awards, Chili Cook-Off & Table Tennis MAY. 28 OMRF Holiday

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