The Postdoc and Graduate Student Affairs Office (PGSAO) promotes the educational and career growth of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students at Dana-Farber. The PGSAO helps postdocs and graduate students expand on their research training by offering a variety of services to enhance their professional development.
The PGSAO supports postdocs by:
For more information, please email Jennifer Molina or call 617-632-4223.
The Postdoc and Graduate Student Affairs Office offers the following services to the community of postdocs and graduate students at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:
Workshops and seminars for professional development include:
Postdoc and Graduate Student Lounge/Resource Center (Smith 347), where students can:
One-on-one science editing services for:
Dana-Farber has a variety of departments and a diverse research focus. The best way to identify postdoctoral openings is to check the job listings through our employment opportunities page or check the postings in the major peer reviewed journals like Cell, Science, or Nature, where our researchers may post their open positions.
You will likely receive an unofficial offer letter from your hiring principal investigator that can include your start date, salary and responsibilities. You must also receive an official offer letter from Human Resources (HR).
Before you can be hired at Dana-Farber, an HR research recruiter must review your job application and curriculum vitae and issue a formal HR job offer letter. If you have not received such a letter you should contact HR to ensure that the appropriate processes have been completed.
Once your application has been reviewed and approved, HR will issue an official offer letter via email that will include a link to additional required paperwork, including a health history form.
If your start date is less than three weeks away and you haven't received your official offer letter packet, you should contact Human Resources at 617-632-3052 and speak the recruiter who handles your department.
If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you will need to have a visa. Dana-Farber cannot pay you for work done before your visa has been issued. All applications must be processed through Human Resources. Visa applications can take from three weeks to six months.
Please email Lorraine Barnes or call her at 617-632-3052 for a visa application.
Anyone who receives money from Dana-Farber sources must have a Social Security Number. Social Security Number Applications (Form SS-5) are available at Social Security Administration Offices throughout the area.
The closest Social Security Administration Office to Dana-Farber is at 10 Causeway Street, Room 148 1st Floor, Boston, MA, 02222. Phone: 800-772-1213.
If you are in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, you will need to bring the following with you when applying for a Social Security Number:
If you need further information or assistance, please email Lorraine Barnes or call her at 617-632-3052.
Before you begin work at Dana-Farber, you must meet with a member of the Department of Occupational Health Services (OHS) to review your health history. This information might be needed if you develop a health care problem at work and are unable to communicate your health history. It also will help the OHS staff evaluate whether you have a health problem that might pose a risk to Dana-Farber patients or other staff members. HR will schedule your OHS appointment for you.
Please let the OHS staff member know if you have had a TB test that was positive in the past. If not, a TB skin test will be conducted at the time of your visit to determine if you have been exposed to TB in the past.
You will need to return to OHS two to three days after the TB test has been placed to determine if it is positive. If you have had a positive TB skin test in the past, or have a positive test at the time of your visit, the OHS staff member might ask you to have a chest X-ray taken to determine if you have active TB.
You cannot attend orientation without OHS clearance.
New Employee Orientation is held every Monday in the Jimmy Fund Auditorium (Tuesday morning if Monday is a holiday). You must attend orientation to begin working at Dana-Farber, regardless of your funding source.
The recruiter who handles your hiring department will schedule your attendance for you. You must present your OHS clearance at the check-in table in the Auditorium before attending the session.
You will attend a full-day orientation. Please arrive in the Jimmy Fund Auditorium at 8:45 a.m. The Jimmy Fund Auditorium is located in the Jimmy Fund Building at the intersection of Binney Street and Jimmy Fund Way across from the main hospital entrance.
During orientation, you will learn about the values, mission, and culture of Dana-Farber. You will also get information about employment policies, procedures, and employee benefits.
You'll have a one-hour lunch break and be given a gift card to use for lunch at the Dana-Farber cafeteria. You can also find take-out options at the Longwood Galleria Food Court.
Public parking is available at the Longwood Galleria Garage on Longwood Ave.
This session is required for all staff working in a lab. New staff members, including sponsored staff, co-ops, and volunteers are required to complete a health screening and have approval from OHS before attending this session.
Everyone must wear an ID badge for access to all Longwood Medical Area buildings. New employees must complete their health screening at OHS. Once they receive OHS clearance, new employees need to attend Orientation, where they will be issued a temporary ID badge that is valid for one week. Research staff must also attend Lab Safety Training.
Postdoctoral fellows are granted the academic title of Research Fellow in their academic appointing department. The academic appointment and title provides you with a Harvard University ID badge and privileges associated with officers of Harvard University.
Your academic appointment as a Research Fellow is an annual appointment that commences at the time of your arrival and is renewable on July 1 of each year to end on June 30 of the following year or until your postdoctoral training is completed.
Please check with your individual business office to complete the Harvard ID application process as soon as possible so that you receive your ID in a timely manner.
This appointment is merely the conveyance of an academic title. Although Research Fellows working in the Medical School's affiliated hospitals and institutions may have an HMS appointment, they generally are not paid by Harvard. Salary and benefits derive from Dana-Farber.
Click on New User Registration at www.ecommons.med.harvard.edu/. You need your Harvard ID to complete this process and then you will be given a unique user ID and will be allowed to choose a password that can be used to access eCommons, MyCourses and the Digital Library.
In the first week of work you should make an effort to schedule office time with your mentor to discuss the short and long term goals of your position. You should clarify that you would like to know what is expected at the end of one month, six months and one year. You may also want to inquire as to what the review process is like for your individual lab. This is an extremely valuable chance to get to know the expectations of your mentor and how best to meet those expectations.
Browse the links below for information on living in Boston and for research and career resources.
New to Boston? Here are some local resources to help you find your way.
The Boston Globe's real estate information
Craigslist's online posting service
Harvard Real Estate Services
Partners Healthcare Housing Board
Boston neighborhood maps on Wikipedia
Information about different neighborhoods in the city of Boston
Boston Police Department crime statistics
MBTA schedules and maps for buses, subways, commuter rail, boats
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (driver manual, renew or replace a license, pay a citation, vehicle registration, etc.)
Shuttles in the Longwood Medical Area
SmartTraveler's real-time road information in and around Boston
Zipcar car-sharing service
Local airports: Boston Logan, Worcester, Hanscom Field
Beacon Hill Athletic Club
Boston Sports Club
Curves Gym for women)
Fitcorp (Dana-Farber discount)
HealthWorks fitness center for women
YMCA of Greater Boston — locations throughout Boston area
The Boston Globe newspaper
Visit New England tourism guide
Boston Public Schools
Private school listings on about.com
Find a Shaw's or Starmarket grocery store near you
Whole Foods Market (organic and fresh food)
Trader Joe's (culinary unique organic store)
In the United States, it is standard to dial 911 to get the police call center. You will need to be able to report the location and state the type of emergency.
Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
NIH Grants and Funding Opportunities
Community of Science (COS) Funding opportunities
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
IRIS Database of Grants
National Cancer Institute funding
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Cancer Research Foundation of America (clinical research)
Helen Hay Whitney Foundation
Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund
Leukemia Research Foundation
Life Sciences Research Foundation
National Academies Fellowships for Minorities
Database of grant and fellowship opportunities
National Science Foundation
HMS Foundation Funds
Board of Life Sciences
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (database of all federal programs available to state and local governments)
Columbia University's site on grant writing
National Network of Libraries in Medicine: Grant Writing Resources
NIH Grant Tips
National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease Grants Tutorial
Glossary of funding and policy terms and acronyms
NIH Grant Review Process
National Cancer Institute Quick Guide to Grant Application
Links to grant writing tips
Guide to books and guides for grant writing
The Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Association (PGA) at Dana-Farber was founded in February 2005 by a group of postdoctoral fellows with the guidance and support of the Postdoc and Graduate Student Affairs Office (PGSAO). The PGSAO supports PGA initiatives by serving as a liaison between postdocs/grad students and the Institute.
The PGA aims to build a strong postdoc and grad student community with the ultimate goal of improving the postdoc and grad student experience at DFCI on several levels (i.e., scientific, professional, social, etc.) through training, mentorship and organized activities. Postdocs and grad students who have their primary appointment at DFCI are automatically members of the PGA.
The mission of DFCI PGA is to address the needs and concerns of individuals affiliated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who hold a doctoral degree but are not tenure-track faculty, and grad students.
The DFCI PGA will support and advocate for postdocs and grad students at DFCI in all aspects of their professional research training and career development.
Members will strive to promote interactions among DFCI postdocs and grad students on an academic, social and cultural basis, while assisting the PGSAO in this endeavor.
The PGA will act as a liaison between the postdoc/grad student populations at large and the PGSAO to represent the interests of postdocs and grad students.
All actions of DFCI PGA shall be undertaken without discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
The PGA bylaws were assembled by the PGA to give a defined structure and organization to our association.
In addition, the PGA has outlined a set of current and future goals that we hope to achieve in the next few years.
1. Organization of an annual retreat for postdoctoral fellows and graduate studentsThe PGA will continue to organize this valuable event to build a stronger postdoctoral and graduate student community while also striving to increase active participation in the retreat. The PGA will continue to recognize outstanding oral and poster presentations by offering awards.
2. MentoringThe PGA will continue to have an active role in recognizing exceptional mentoring and improving mentorship opportunities at DFCI.
3. Alumni NetworkThe PGA will use established social networking websites to identify DFCI alumni who are willing to give talks, participate in PGSAO seminars, or provide career and networking guidance to current DFCI postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.
4. Salary and benefitsThe PGA will continue to advocate for postdoctoral fellows to receive (a) better pay and (b) equal benefits, regardless of funding source.
5. Increase active participation in the PGAThe PGA will continue to provide information about our association to new and existing postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in order to encourage their involvement within the PGA.
6. Periodic review of the PGA bylawsThe PGA will continue to examine and revise our bylaws on a regular basis in order to reflect the changing needs of the PGA.
1. Network with other LMA/Boston postdoc associationsThe PGA should establish strong relationships with other postdoctoral associations within the Boston area so that we can learn how to speak with a collective voice for issues that matter to us as a population.
2. Fundraising for events and awards The PGA hopes to establish and maintain relationships with the DFCI Development Office in order to obtain independent financial support to fund PGA-sponsored events, internal fellowships, and travel awards.
3. Child careThe PGA should advocate for more inexpensive daycare for the DFCI postdoctoral community.
The PGA meets during lunchtime on the last Monday of every month, excluding holidays. See the following schedule for more details, as the times and locations vary.
2013 PGA Meeting Schedule
Your active participation is more than welcome. If you would like to get involved in the PGA, please come to one of our meetings, or email any of the leaders listed in the following section.
Click on individual names to email a committee leader directly, or send general questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hilary Eaton, Co-ChairTobias Otto, Co-Chair
Hilary Eaton, Co-ChairMonica Ter-Minassian, Co-Chair
Robert (Tony) Barnitz, Co-ChairReina Improgo, Co-Chair
Ute Burkhardt, Interim Chair
Lijun Liu, Chair
The PGA Post is a quarterly newsletter written by and dedicated to Dana-Farber postdocs and grad students.
Our postdoctoral fellows are from different walks of life, but they have one thing in common: They are all passionate and proud of the research they are doing here. Listen to their stories to get a glimpse of what it’s like to conduct research at a worldclass institution.
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