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How-to Talks by Postdocs

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Tompkins-McCaw Library, Second Floor Lecture Room
509 North 12th Street, Richmond, Va. 23298


How-to Talks by Postdocs is a series of instructional brown-bag lunch talks for the general VCU health-sciences community taught by postdocs. These are not seminar talks, but an opportunity for postdocs to share how to do something related to the health sciences. Talks are held on Mondays, noon–1 p.m., in the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences second-floor lecture room. All in the VCU community are welcome to attend and are encouraged to bring their own lunches. Registration is requested.

The series is free and open to all. Parking is available for a fee in the 8th Street parking deck. For special accommodations, or to register offline, please contact Karen Gau, health sciences collections librarian, at (804) 828-0638 or at least two days prior to the event.

Schedule of Talks

Oct. 2, 2017

How to obtain a postdoc

Molly Hyer, Ph.D., Jonathan Lindsay, Ph.D, Morgan Maxwell, Ph.D., Khaliah Johnson, Ph.D. and John Ryan, Ph.D.

Do you know what you want from a postdoc, or how to find one? Through a panel discussion, learn from Dr. John Ryan, Associate Vice President for Research Development and head of the office of Postdoctoral Scholars at VCU, as well as a number of successful postdocs, about what you need to do to pick the best postdoc for you. This session is co-sponsored by VCU Career Services and will be moderated by Katybeth Lee, Associate Director, Health Sciences Career & Professional Development.

Oct. 9, 2017

Curve Fitting in MATLAB

Anna S. Nagle, Ph.D.

Do you have data points that need to be fitted to a curve? This session will cover how to download MATLAB through VCU and will concentrate on writing code to optimize the parameters in an equation to fit a set of data points. We will utilize MATLAB’s fminsearch function, which is a Nelder-Mead simplex direct search method. Attendees are required to bring a laptop. Loaner laptops are available in a limited quantity and may be requested by emailing prior to the event.

Oct. 16, 2017

Think like a scientist: Teaching your students how to organize scientific concepts

Jason Tan, Ph.D.

Students in the life sciences are often taught a wide range of content without being instructed on how researchers organize individual pieces of information into discrete conceptual domains to solve problems. Teaching and assessing this complex behavior can be challenging, but card sorting, an active learning technique, can be used to address this need effectively. As a result of attending this seminar, participants will 1) understand the basic components of card sorting and other related classroom assessment techniques that can help teach/assess student structuring of knowledge, 2) experience first-hand how these activities impact student learning, and 3) gain preliminary insights into how to use existing or customized card sort “decks” in their own classrooms.

Oct. 23, 2017


Exploring a protein structure using Chimera: Modeling missing loops

Balaji Natarajan, Ph.D.

During this session, a case study will be used to demonstrate 3-D protein structure visualizations and how to identify missing loops in Chimera, a molecular visualization and analysis tool. Attendees are required to bring a laptop. Loaner laptops are available in a limited quantity and may be requested by emailing prior to the event.

Oct. 30, 2017

How to conduct community-based participatory research to address challenges related to ethnic minorities and their health

Morgan Maxwell, Ph.D.

Because ethnic minorities fare poorer across most health indices, it has become increasingly important to tailor research, interventions, and educational programming to meet the unique cultural needs of marginalized groups with limited resources. This session will cover how researchers can utilize community-based participatory research (CBPR) practices to strengthen study designs and more effectively achieve positive health outcomes within minority populations.

Nov. 6, 2017

Implementing effective assessments of student learning in scientific teaching

Stacey Wahl, Ph.D., and Molly Hyer, Ph.D.

How do you know what your students know? This talk will cover how to conduct formative and summative assessments in large and small lecture formats to assess how well your students are understanding the course material. Participants will learn effective strategies that will improve their assessment capabilities. Small action = big change!

Nov. 13, 2017


Proximity ligation assays: A powerful technique to detect protein-protein interactions and histone modifications

Salvador Sierra San Nicolas, Ph.D.

Proximity ligation assay (PLA) has become the assay of choice for demonstrating the proximity of a variety of proteins, including G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), in cells and native tissue. Recently, this technique has been applied in native tissue to detect histone modifications in certain promoters, increasing the information (specific cells carrying the modifications) obtained by doing ChiP.


This series is sponsored by the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research and the VCU Postdoctoral Association.


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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