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Post Doc Talks series set for fall 2017

September 15, 2017

VCU postdoctoral researchers share hands-on knowledge and insights in this 2017 brown-bag speaker series. The sessions are free and open to all in the VCU community and Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. They take place at the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, 509 N. 12th St., second-floor lecture room, Mondays, noon - 1 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 

Series Schedule & Registration

Oct. 2
How to obtain a postdoc

Panel: Molly Hyer, Ph.D., Jonathan Lindsay, Ph.D., Morgan Maxwell, Ph.D., Khalilah Johnson, Ph.D., & John Ryan, Ph.D.
Moderator: Katybeth Lee, VCU Career Services
If you are a doctoral student, you know a postdoc is likely your next step following graduation, but do you know how to choose a postdoc that will help you accomplish your career goals? 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. Register here.

Oct. 9*
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. If you will need to borrow a loaner laptop, please contact This session will take place from noon – 1:30 p.m. Register here.

Oct. 16
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. Register here.

Oct. 23
Exploring a protein structure using Chimera: Modeling missing loops

Balaji Nagarajan, Ph.D.

During this session, a case study will be used to demonstrate 3-D protein structure visualizations, and how to identify and model missing loops in Chimera, a molecular visualization and analysis tool. Attendees are required to bring a laptop. If you will need to borrow a library laptop, please contact This session is 90 minutes and will take place from noon–1:30 p.m. Register here.

Oct. 30
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. Register here.

Nov. 6
Implementing effective assessments of student learning in scientific teaching

Stacey Wahl, Ph.D. & 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! Register here.

Nov. 13
Proximity ligation assays: A powerful technique to detect protein-protein interactions and histone modifications

Salvador Sierra San Nicolas, M.D., 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. Register here.

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