• For Postdocs

    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.


    two postdocs in a lab  

    The PGSAO supports postdocs by:

    • Providing symposia, seminars, a retreat, and editing services so postdocs can: 
      • Establish a career plan and meet their goals.
      • Successfully compete for extramural fellowships and educational grants.
      • Enhance their writing skills for successful manuscript and journal article publication.
      • Learn the skills necessary to transition from training to a long-term career, such as networking, resume preparation, interviewing and negotiation.
    • Providing information about the Boston area through written and online materials.
    • Offering a postdoc guidebook that covers frequently asked questions at Dana-Farber.
    • Working with Dana-Farber Human Resources to maintain minimum salary standards and benefits.

    For more information, please email Jennifer Molina or call 617-632-4223.

    Resources and services

    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:

    • Manuscript Writing
    • Lab Management
    • Careers Beyond the Bench
    • Grant Writing 101
    • CV Preparation and Interview Techniques
    • Balancing a Family and a Research Career
    • Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Rights

    Postdoc and Graduate Student Lounge/Resource Center (Smith 347), where students can:

    • Use a computer workstation
    • Find information about upcoming programs at Dana-Farber, throughout the Harvard community, and in the Boston area
    • Relax and socialize, take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee, watch TV

    One-on-one science editing services for:

    • Grant applications
    • Fellowship applications
    • Scientific manuscripts
    • Cover letters, curriculum vitae, and resumés

    Joining Dana-Farber

    a postdoc  

    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.

    Before you arrive

    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.

    For non-U.S. citizens

    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.

    Social security number

    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:

    Visa category Forms required
    F1 (Practical Training) Form I-20, EAD Card (Employment Authorization Document) Passport
    J1 Form DS2019, I-94 Card, Passport
    J2 Form DS2019, I-94 Card, Passport accompanied by Work Authorization Card
    H1 Form I-797, I-94 Card, Passport
    TN I-94 Card, Passport
    O1 Form I-797, I-94 Card, Passport

    If you need further information or assistance, please email Lorraine Barnes or call her at 617-632-3052.

    Occupational Health

    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 half-hour lunch break and can purchase lunch at the Dana-Farber cafeteria or other fast-food options in the area. Microwaves are available in the cafeteria, but no refrigeration is available at orientation.

    Public parking is available at the Longwood Galleria Garage on Longwood Ave.

    Lab safety training

    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.

    Dana-Farber ID

    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.

    Research Fellows

    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.

    eCommons Access

    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.

    Meeting with your mentor

    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.

    Online Resources

    bicyclist on the Riverway near Dana-Farber  

    Browse the links below for information on living in Boston and for research and career resources.

    Living in Boston

    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 

    Neighborhood Information

    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 

    Health clubs

    Beacon Hill Athletic Club 

    Boston Sports Club 

    Curves Gym (for women) 

    Fitcorp (Dana-Farber discount) 


    Gold's Gym 

    HealthWorks fitness center for women 

    YMCA of Greater Boston — locations throughout Boston area 


    World Gym 

    Telephone companies






    City and regional information

    The Boston Globe newspaper  

    Visit New England tourism guide 


    Boston Public Schools 

    Private school listings on about.com 

    Grocery stores

    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 case of emergency

    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.

    Research and career resources

    Research resources

    Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center 

    Funding sources

    NIH Grants and Funding Opportunities 

    Other funding sources

    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 

    Arthritis Foundation 

    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 

    Grant writing

    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 

    Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Association (PGA)

    PGA group 

    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.

    Mission & Principles

    PGA logo 

    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.

    PGA Bylaws 

    In addition, the PGA has outlined a set of current and future goals that we hope to achieve in the next few years.


    Current Goals

    1. Organization of an annual retreat for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students
    The 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. Mentoring
    The PGA will continue to have an active role in recognizing exceptional mentoring and improving mentorship opportunities at DFCI.

    3. Alumni Network
    The 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 benefits
    The 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 PGA
    The 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 bylaws
    The PGA will continue to examine and revise our bylaws on a regular basis in order to reflect the changing needs of the PGA.

    Future Goals

    1. Network with other LMA/Boston postdoc associations
    The 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 care
    The PGA should advocate for more inexpensive daycare for the DFCI postdoctoral community.


    The PGA meets during lunchtime on the last Tuesday of every month, excluding holidays. See the following schedule for more details, as the times and locations vary.

    2014 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.

    Committee Leadership for 2014

    Click on individual names to email a committee leader directly, or send general questions to dfci_pga@dfci.harvard.edu.

    PGA Officers

    Tony Barnitz, Co-Chair
    Reina Improgo, Co-Chair
    Jennifer Spangle, Treasurer
    Lukas Baitsch, Webmaster

    Newsletter Committee

    Siddha Kasar, Co-Chair
    Monica Ter-Minassian, Co-Chair

    Retreat Committee

    Michaela Gruber, Co-Chair
    Jennifer Spangle, Co-Chair

    Seminars Committee

    Leah Hogdal, Co-Chair
    Alison Taylor, Co-Chair

    Social Committee

    Lukas Baitsch, Co-Chair
    Anne Fassl, Co-Chair

    PGA Post

    The PGA Post is a quarterly newsletter written by and dedicated to Dana-Farber postdocs and grad students.

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  • Contact Postdocs

    • Program Administrator: Jennifer Molina 
    • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    • Smith Building, Room 347
    • 450 Brookline Ave.
    • Boston, MA 02215-5450
    • Phone: 617-632-4223 
    • Fax: 617-582-8177 
    • Email: jennifer_molina
  • Meet our Postdocs

    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.

  • Find a Researcher

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  • Support Cancer Research

    • To learn more about the many ways you can support Dana-Farber’s research initiatives with a philanthropic gift, please contact Rebecca Freedman at 617-632-4215 or rebecca_freedman@
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