myPostdoc Monthly: Highlights from the NPA Annual Conference
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myPostdoc Monthly: Highlights from the NPA Annual Conference

Join us for a webinar showcasing presentations from the 16th Annual Conference.

When: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
1:00 p.m.
Where: Webinar
United States
Contact: NPA staff

Online registration is closed.
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Join us for a webinar showcasing presentations from the 16th Annual Conference.


Strategies for Increasing Participation in PDA Leadership and Events

Participation in postdoctoral association (PDA) events and group governance can be a challenge at many institutions. Building consistent postdoc engagement takes time and strategy. This workshop identified challenges to postdoc involvement with the institution’s PDA and discussed ways to address them. Representatives from the PDA at Washington University in St. Louis will share best practices that they have found to effectively increase postdoc involvement in PDA leadership and events.


Francesca Cignarella, Ph.D., holds a master’s degree in medical biotechnology and a doctorate degree (2014) in microbiology from the University of Brescia, Italy. She was a research fellow of the Division of Neuroscience at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. She is now a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, and that is where she got very involved in research on Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Her work is to try to understand how diet can affect the immunological and molecular mechanisms of MS pathogenesis. Two years ago, she became an executive member of the Washington University Postdoctoral Society. She has served as a treasurer, then as vice president and starting in the summer if 2017, she serves as president.


Francisco Victorino, Ph.D., obtained his bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in cell biology at University of Colorado Denver Campus. For his doctorate degree, he studied the role of Natural Killer (NK) cells in renal ischemia at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He is currently in his third year as a postdoc at the Washington University in St. Louis studying the metabolic adaptive features of NK cells in response to virus induced inflammation. Currently, he serves as the vice president of the Washington University postdoc society and is a member of the trainee inclusion and cultural awareness developing initiatives to promote underrepresented minority success.


Meeting the Challenge of Being an International Scholar in the U.S.

When it comes to career planning, international scholars have additional significant challenges to consider: 1) cultural adjustment and establishing an efficient network from scratch in the United States; 2) immigration status: knowing about the main avenues that international scholars face in navigating visa and immigration obstacles; and 3) funding opportunities: grantsmanship is one of defining factors for scholars’ career success, yet seems to be a limiting factor for internationals. Being able to identify and navigate the available funding resources will facilitate a successful transition to the next career chapter. This session provided practical ways to navigate these challenges in pursuing successful careers.


Brendan Delaney, J.D., is a partner attorney at Hill, Frank & Delaney LLC. A native of Northern Ireland, he received his Juris Doctor at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC, in January 2009. He works extensively with scientists, researchers, physicians, and other professionals, as well as organizations and employers in both academia and industry with regards to their U.S. immigration and visa issues. He has been invited to speak on a number of occasions at the Annual Meeting of the NPA, and NAFSA Region VIII, as well as conducting legal seminars at Universities and institutions across the United States. Delaney has co-authored numerous articles related to postdoctoral issues for The POSTDOCket. He has also been quoted in a number of news and media articles related to immigration issues for scientists and researchers in outlets including the Naturejobs blog,, Chemical and Engineering News, and The Washington Post.


Sina Safayi, D.V.M., Ph.D., has about 20 years of diverse leadership experience in higher education across the world supporting the academic, social, career and professional development of undergrads, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. He is a diversity and inclusion advocate particularly for international scholars. He is a life scientist by training with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Shiraz University in Iran, a doctorate degree from University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and about six years of postdoctoral experience at University of Copenhagen in Denmark and then at Clemson University and Iowa State University in the United States. Safayi started the first postdoctoral career development program in Asia at a newly founded international university in Japan, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. He recently returned to the United States to take a position supporting graduate students at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School where he is now leading a new career development initiative.

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