Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thinking about seriously starting the post doc search

I’ve been thinking a lot about post docs lately. It’s beginning to be time for me to start seriously looking. I’ve been keeping a running list of people I may be interested in working with for quite a while now. People have come and gone from the list as I’ve met and liked/disliked them, as my interests have evolved, as I’ve decided there are some places I’m not willing to live, etc. I still feel like I’m really floundering though.

My graduate work (and my PhD) are in a fairly specialized sub-field. There are several different branches of my sub-field, but I’ve dabbled in the majority of them due to my project ADD. My primary interest, however, is signal transduction in my favorite cell type. Obviously, signaling occurs in all cell types and systems, so if I choose to go that direction, I have lots of options for post doc mentors.

However, I’m finding that my identity as a scientist is very much wrapped up in my sub-field. I could readily apply the vast majority of my skill set to basically any cell type in a number of organisms. In theory, I’m not opposed to going outside my sub-field for my post doc. In reality, seriously considering that makes me feel very uncomfortable.

I really do want to branch out for my post doc, though I’m coming to terms with the fact that I probably don’t want to leave my –ology. The problem with that is that work on my cell type and/or the type of disease models I use most often make up the biggest part of my sub-field, especially the bigger name people (several of which are at my university). I’m really struggling to find people outside of that that I think would be good fit for me.

I’ve identified a few new skills I’d like to acquire. I’ve identified one or two locations where I refuse to live. (Geography isn’t really an issue, as people working on –ology tend to be centered in about 5 locations in the US.) I’m open to a number of cell types and disease models. I may be open to moving outside of –ology. I’m still grappling with that question and all of the identity issues it seems to raise for me.

Now I suppose it’s time to start talking to people and figure out who should really be on my list.

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