Joining Dana-Farber as 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 CellScience, 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 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.