BMB Postdoctoral Scholar Program 


The Postdoctoral Scholar Program of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) is designed to encourage and facilitate BMB Postdoctoral Researchers in transitioning to professional positions in research, teaching, or industry settings through formalized mentoring, training and peer departmental activities. Additionally, the program aims at better recognizing the contribution of the Postdoctoral Researchers in our Department. 

Program Goals

  • Better integration of Postdoctoral Researchers in our Department
  • Provide additional mentorship to Postdoctoral Researchers
  • Improve retention of women scientists and promote diversity (in academia & industry)
  • Help Postdoctoral Researchers gain leadership experience
  • Promote a broader access to professional development resources 
  • Increase the visibility of our Department

Program Duration

Postdoctoral Researchers in our Department are integrated into the Scholar Program during the entire length of their contract with the Department, unless they opt out of the program. First year Postdoctoral Researchers are designated based on their start time (i.e. after 13 months in the program, the Postdoctoral Researchers will become a second year Scholar), regardless of their prior position outside of the Department.

Program Components

  1. Departmental Mentors 

In addition to the primary supervisor of the Postdoctoral Researchers, a second Faculty member–not directly linked to the project–will be designated as Departmental Mentor, together with a senior Postdoctoral Researcher (in years 3-5). The Departmental Mentors will be designated by the Departmental Program coordinator. A first meeting needs to be organized in the first month upon arrival and the second meeting will be scheduled for the end of the first year. Additional meetings in subsequent years can be organized if requested by the Postdoctoral Researcher. For the first meeting the Postdoctoral Researcher will present a 4 slide document to highlight: 1) past achievements; 2) goal of the current project; 3) future career goal(s); and 4) possible and/or anticipated hurdles to points 2 and 3. The goal of the mentorship is to provide a broader introduction to our Department and UBC, and help the Mentee to better develop a successful career plan. 

  1. Annual Postdoctoral Researchers Symposium 

This peer-driven event will be a major element of the program to better showcase the work of Postdoctoral Researchers and foster leadership. This annual event to be tentatively held in April/May of each year will be organized by the third year Postdoctoral Researchers in conjunction with the BMB Discussion Group (DG) to invite an external speaker to the BMB seminar series. In addition, all the Postdoctoral Researchers in their second year are expected to present a short talk for the Departmental mini-symposium. Postdoctoral Researchers are also encouraged to organize additional events, like inviting industry speakers as part of the regular BMBDG. 

  1. Peer evaluation for Postdoctoral Fellowship applications 

Postdoctoral Researchers applying to a fellowship before or after coming to UBC are expected to strengthen their first applications via a peer evaluation process. Each Postdoctoral Researcher should contact the Program Coordinator at least one month in advance to organize the peer review, and present the draft of their Fellowship application(s) three weeks prior to the deadline to receive feedback from their Departmental Mentor and a senior BMB Postdoctoral Researcher. The primary supervisor is also expected to contribute to the first draft. 

  1. Professional Development workshop 

Each Postdoctoral Researcher is required to attend one Professional Development workshop in their first year in the program. These workshops are usually advertised by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. 

  1. Teaching Opportunities 

The Department offers teaching opportunities for new Postdoctoral Researcher in BIOC 404, where additional support and mentorship is offered by Teaching Faculty. Additional teaching opportunities are available in the Vancouver Summer Program, BIOC 551 and other specialized courses. 

  1. BMBDG Seminar Invitation 

Each Postdoctoral Researcher is automatically invited to the BMBDG seminar series in their fourth year. The participation is optional, and upon request can be followed up with a chalk talk session with a group of Faculty 

  1. Potential Role in Faculty and Postdoctoral Researcher Recruitment 

Postdoctoral Researchers will be invited to participate in recruitment of new Faculty Members and are invited to meet with the applicants and assist to chalk talks. Senior Postdoctoral Researchers may also be sollicated during the interviews of Candidate Postdoctoral Researchers, if requested by other PIs, in order to further introduce the research environment to the interviewed candidate.  

  1. End of Program Tenure 

Tenure in the program will be considered complete upon the Postdoctoral Researcher leaving the department. The Postdoctoral Researcher will need to arrange a short exit interview with the Faculty Program coordinator and fill up a short survey to provide feedback on the program and help build up an Alumni Network. If needed, mentorship duties will be transferred to another senior Postdoctoral Researcher in the program.

Program Coordination

The program will be coordinated by the Postdoctoral Program Committee with a Chair and at least one or two other Faculty members, one or two Postdoctoral Representatives and one departmental Staff member. 

The Committee members will meet yearly to discuss the program implementation and development. Minor changes will be reported in Faculty meetings, while major changes in the program will require a vote at the Faculty level.

The Chair position will be on a three year rotation and designated by the Department Head.

The role of the Committee Chair is to ensure the program is properly implemented and, with the help of the departmental Staff member, centralize all the information related to the program. 

The role of the other Faculty members and Postdoctoral Representatives is to assist the Committee Chair. They will need to be consulted and kept informed on all matters related to the program. 

The role of the departmental Staff member is to keep updated a centralized database of all BMB Postdoctoral Researchers and send all communications, including reminders about upcoming deadlines. The departmental Staff member will have to notify the Committee Chair of all incoming and exiting Postdoctoral Researchers and missed deadlines.

All Faculty members and participating senior Postdoctoral Researchers (year 3 and more) will be listed as potential Mentor and assigned by the Committee Chair using a rotation system. Faculty members closely working with the primary Supervisor, and Postdoctoral Researchers affiliated in the same lab will not be designated Mentor for a given incoming Postdoctoral Researcher.

All incoming Postdoctoral Researchers in our Department will go through an on-boarding system where they will meet with one of the Faculty members of the Program Committee within the first two weeks of their arrival. Following this meeting, the Postdoctoral Researchers will decide whether to opt out of the program. Completion of the on-boarding process is integrated in the Responsibilities & Duties in the Offer letter signed by the Department Head.

Postdoctoral Researchers with a primary supervisor who is an Associate Member of the Department can enlist in the program. The primary supervisor and the Postdoctoral Researcher will first need to notify the Committee Chair. 

Postdoctoral Researchers not fulfilling their Program duties will need to meet with the Committee Chair.

All the information related to the program will be available on our Departmental website.

Year by Year Expectations

Year 1:

– Meet twice with two Departmental Mentors (1st month and at 12 month)

– Complete one Professional Development course or workshop 

– Submit first Fellowship application(s) for peer review

Year 2:

– Present short talk to our yearly symposium 

– Meet with Departmental Mentors (optional)

Year 3: 

– Organize mini symposium 

– Become a Mentor & Peer-review Fellowship applications

– Participate to interviews of Candidate Postdoctoral Researchers (upon request) 

Year 4:

– Present a full seminar in BMBDG (optional)

– Become a Mentor & Peer-review Fellowship applications

– Participate to interviews of Candidate Postdoctoral Researchers (upon request)


  1. Mentoring Meeting Format
  2. Exit Survey