Welcome CHOP Research Trainees!

Please take a moment to browse through the following trainee updates - clicking on each link will bring you to that announcement:


October Announcements

Don't forget to mark your calendars for the monthly Postdoc Happy Hour, October 7 at 5:30pm. Details below!

  • New Salary Minimums for Postdoctoral Fellows Effective December 1, 2016
  • Attention Postdocs: Complete the 2016 Postdoctoral Fellow Survey by October 7
  • Faculty Luncheon, October 14 – Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, Presents, “The Critical Contributions of Research Trainees to the Genomics-Driven Biomarker Discovery and Applications at CAG”
  • Attention Mentors: 2017 CHOP Distinguished Research Trainee Awards - Call for Nominations, Deadline Extended to October 3
  • Registration is Now Open for the 2016-2017 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Sessions
  • RCR October Feature: Unconscious Bias in Science
  • ITMAT 11th Annual International Symposium, October 17 and 18
  • UPenn Biomedical Postdoctoral Research Symposium, November 1
  • Register Now: Scientific Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English, November 11 and 18
  • Two Opportunities to Prepare for Life Science Industry Employment
  • Extension of Work Authorization for STEM Students on F-1 Visas Under New Optional Practical Training (OPT) Rule
  • 2017 Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program Announcement
  • Need Help Identifying a Secondary Mentor for Your Annual Review?
  • English Language Programs at Penn
  • Monthly Postdoc Happy Hour – October 7

  • New Salary Minimums for Postdoctoral Fellows Effective December 1, 2016

    The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that it will be increasing the salary threshold used to determine whether an employee is considered “non-exempt” (hourly and eligible for overtime pay) or “exempt” (salaried and ineligible for overtime pay) as part of an update to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employees earning less than this $47,476 threshold will be non-exempt, and employees earning more than the threshold will be exempt. This new law goes into effect on December 1, 2016.

    In agreement with a recent announcement from the University of Pennsylvania, CHOP Research Leadership, Human Resources and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs have determined that postdoctoral fellows are best classified as exempt, salaried employees. This also aligns with recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To meet the new FLSA requirements and retain exempt classification, all fellows earning less than the threshold must be advanced to a new salary level that exceeds $47,476. This may include new and existing fellows with no prior postdoctoral experience, one year of postdoctoral experience and two years of postdoctoral experience, based on the FY2016 NIH NRSA stipend guidelines.

    In support of this transition, the NIH has recently released new projected stipend levels for FY2017, which will also go into effect December 1, 2016. Like other comparable institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, CHOP will adopt these new stipend levels. According to CHOP policy, all postdoctoral fellows must be paid a minimum salary dictated by the current National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipend guidelines.

    In line with FLSA requirements and recommendations from the NIH, the minimum salaries for CHOP postdoctoral fellows making less than $47,476 will be raised effective November 20 to meet the December 1, 2016 deadline. Individual pay increases will be based on the FY2017 projected NIH NRSA stipend levels and each fellow’s years of relevant postdoc experience. For example, a postdoc with 1 year of prior experience and an annual salary of $45,444 based on the FY2016 guidelines will be advanced to a salary of $47,844 based on the projected FY2017 guidelines.

    The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will work with Human Resources to identify all fellows whose salaries are impacted by the new regulations. HR will administer salary adjustments associated with coming into compliance with the updated regulations effective the pay period beginning November 20, 2016.

    The salaries of postdoctoral fellows making more than the $47,476 threshold will not be modified on November 20, 2016. However, all fellows receiving an annual salary increase on or after December 1, 2016, should be promoted according to the FY2017 projected NIH NRSA stipend levels. Please consult your business manager for additional guidance in this matter.

    Questions or concerns related to these new stipend levels may be directed to David Taylor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Assistant Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. For questions related to the updated FLSA requirement, please contact Ruth Kilgore (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), HR Manager or Leon Jones (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Senior HR Business Partner.


    Attention Postdocs: Complete the 2016 Postdoctoral Fellow Survey by October 7

    The CHOP Office of Postdoctoral Affairs wants to provide you with the tools you need to have a productive and successful postdoctoral fellowship experience at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. Completing this survey will provide the feedback we need to better support CHOP postdocs in the future.

    By completing this survey, you can enter to win an iPod Nano!

    Please complete the 2016 Postdoctoral Fellow Survey by Friday, October 7:
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016postdoctoralfellowsurvey.


    Faculty Luncheon, October 14 – Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, Presents, “The Critical Contributions of Research Trainees to the Genomics-Driven Biomarker Discovery and Applications at CAG”

    Date: October 14, 2016
    Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
    Location: ARC 123ABC

    Featured Speaker:
    Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
    Director of the Center for Applied Genomics
    The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

    Join us for our first CHOP Research Faculty Luncheon of the academic year, scheduled for Friday, October 14, 2016 at noon in the Abramson Research Center (ARC) conference room 123ABC. Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, the Director of the Center for Applied Genomics, will be presenting "The Critical Contributions of Research Trainees to the Genomics-Driven Biomarker Discovery and Applications of CAG." Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:45 am. This event is open to all members of the CHOP community.

    Dr. Hakonarson won the 2016 Award for Excellence in Mentoring Research Trainees and will be presented with the official award at the luncheon by Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE, Assistant Vice President and Chief Clinical Research Officer

    The CHOP Research Institute Faculty Luncheons are held four times per academic year and feature scientific presentations from CHOP Research Faculty members. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for the 2016 - 2017 series!

    Session 2
    Title: TBD
    Guest Lecturer: Yael P. Mosse, MD
    Event Date: Friday, January 13, 2017
    Location: Abramson Research Building (ARC), Room 123ABC
    Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

    Session 3
    Title: TBD
    Guest Lecturer: Stephen Hunger, MD
    Event Date: Friday, March 17, 2017
    Location: Abramson Research Building (ARC), Room 123ABC
    Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

    Session 4
    Title: TBD
    Guest Lecturer: Dennis R. Durbin, MD, MSCE
    Event Date: Friday, May 26, 2017
    Location: Abramson Research Building (ARC), Room 123ABC
    Time: 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM


    Attention Mentors: 2017 CHOP Distinguished Research Trainee Awards - Call for Nominations, Deadline October 3

    The goal of this program is to recognize outstanding research trainees at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Mentors are encouraged to nominate their exemplary trainees (postdoctoral fellows, medical/physician fellows or CHOP-based graduate students) for this award. The winners (one from each trainee pool) will be featured on the OPA’s Research Trainee Web Portal, be recognized with an award certificate at 2017 CHOP Research Poster Day, and receive a monetary prize.

    To nominate your trainee:

    1) Submit the Distinguished Research Trainee Award Nomination Form, completed by the trainee’s mentor. This form should describe why the individual is worthy of the award, emphasizing the specific accomplishments of the individual while a trainee at CHOP and his or her potential for future success.

    2) Attach/append a current CV for the trainee, which includes descriptions of awards earned and hyperlinks to representative publications/abstracts.

    3) Send this information to David Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as a single PDF attachment.

    These nominations will be reviewed and voted upon by the faculty-led CHOP Research Trainee Advisory Committee (RTAC). All nominees, including the winners, will be notified of this recognition in January 2017.

    Please Note: Individuals who have completed their training phase at CHOP (defined as pre-doctoral fellows who have been granted their PhD, postdoctoral fellows who have completed their five years of eligibility as a postdoctoral fellow, or clinical fellows who have moved to an instructor or instructor-like position) must be within one year of completion of their training to be eligible for the award. Applications from individuals that are not qualified based on this criterion will be returned without review.

    The extended deadline for nomination is October 3, 2016.

    View the Distinguished Research Trainee Award Rules and Eligibility Information

    Download the Distinguished Research Trainee Award Nomination Form


    Registration is Now Open for the 2016-2017 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Sessions

    Register today for in-person Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. Upcoming sessions will be held on:

    RCR 1: Wednesday, October 26, 2016
    RCR 2: Friday, December 2, 2016
    RCR 1: Thursday, January 26, 2017
    RCR 2: Thursday, March 9, 2017
    RCR 1: Friday, April 28, 2017
    RCR 2: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    The CHOP RCR program promotes ethical research practices based on regulatory standards and professional guidelines. RCR covers a range of topics including: Conflict of Interest; Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership; Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship; Peer Review; Collaborative Science; Research Involving Human Subjects; Research Involving Animal Subjects; Research Misconduct; Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities; Laboratory Safety, Researcher and Society; and Intellectual Property.

    Review your RCR Training requirements

    Register for in-person RCR training


    RCR October Feature: Unconscious Bias in Science

    What are unconscious biases and how do they impact the scientific community? Would removing author names from grant applications result in a more impartial review process? Tell us what you think by participating in the October Opinion Poll on the RCR Web site: http://rcr.research.chop.edu. This month, learn how recognizing, reducing, and managing unconscious biases can improve communication, efficiency, fairness, and diversity in science.

    The RCR Web site provides centralized education, policy and training resources that encourage best practices and promote scientific integrity as a core value. For more information about CHOP’s RCR program, contact Janet Stuart at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267-426- 7496.


    ITMAT 11th Annual International Symposium, October 17 and 18

    ITMAT 11th Annual International Symposium, October 17 and 18
    Monday and Tuesday, October 17-18, 2016
    Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
    Smilow Center for Translational Research (SCTR)
    The Arthur Rubenstein Auditorium
    3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA
    Translational Science in the era of Precision Medicine

    The 2016 ITMAT Symposium will again enlist outstanding speakers from the U.S. and abroad to address topics of direct relevance to translational science. This year speakers will address national and global initiatives to build enabling infrastructure for precision medicine at scale and specific examples of translational science in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Novel methodologies facilitating elucidation of human phenotypes and advances in our understanding of the biology of senescence, immunometabolism in cancer and the contribution of the microbiome to variance in human physiology and disease will be addressed.

    To view the full agenda and to register, visit http://www.itmat.upenn.edu/symposium/.


    UPenn Biomedical Postdoctoral Research Symposium, November 1

    Registration for the 15th Biomedical Postdoctoral Research Symposium is open. The Symposium will be held Tuesday, November 1 from 10:00 AM-6:00 PM in the Smilow Translational Research Center. The annual Symposium highlights the work of Postdoctoral Fellows from the Penn School of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dental Medicine, Nursing, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The Monell Chemical Senses Center, and the Wistar Institute. Registration is free.

    Please register at the following link: http://somapps.med.upenn.edu/apps/form/postdoc/view.php?id=27118

    A keynote lecture will be given by Richard Morimoto, Ph.D., Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology, Department of Molecular Biosciences, Director of the Rice Institute for Biomedical Research at Northwestern University.


    Register Now: Scientific Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English, November 11 and 18

    In collaboration with the Office of Faculty Development, the Office of Responsible Research Training is offering a two-session workshop, “Scientific Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English” on November 11 and 18, 2016. The workshop is designed for research trainees, including postdoctoral fellows, training grant fellows and physician fellows. Mary Blitzer Field, M. Phil., Assistant Director, Office of Faculty Development, is the instructor for both sessions. In these interactive sessions, participants will critique abstracts and introductions from the biomedical literature. In doing so, they will learn to tell compelling scientific stories and master language issues that typically confront non-native speakers of English.

    Session 1 - Abstracts: Capturing Your Scientific Story
    Date: November 11, 2016
    Time: 10:00am to 11:30am
    Location: Abramson Research Center (ARC), 1st Floor, Room 124

    Trace the underlying anatomy of abstracts from basic science and clinical journals. Learn to write abstracts that present scientific stories economically while convincing readers of their novelty and impact. Sample language issues: When is it right to use “a”…“the”? How do verb tense and voice differ? What are some myths about the much maligned passive voice?

    Session 2 - Introductions: Engaging Your Reader
    Date: November 18, 2016
    Time: 10:00am to 11:30am
    Location: Abramson Research Center (ARC), 1st Floor, Room 124

    Trace the story lines of introductions for both hypothesis-testing and descriptive papers. Learn to write introductions that awaken readers’ interest and prepare them for the content that follows. Sample language issues: Why do verb tenses shift in Introductions? How can sentence structure create a sense of inevitable movement forward?

    How to Register: Send your name, department/division, email address and phone number to Janet Stuart (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by Friday, November 4, 2016


    Two Opportunities to Prepare for Life Science Industry Employment

    Opportunity #1
    Visit Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, California to learn about the Postdoctoral Professional Master's (PPM) Degree
    Visitation Day: Friday October 7, 2016 at 2:00 PM - Dinner Pacific Time
    Receive travel reimbursement for up to $500
    Register Here: PPM Visitation Day Registration

    Opportunity #2
    Apply for 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Scholarships for Part-Time 9-Month Online Certificate in Bioscience Management
    To apply or to learn more, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The KGI-Burroughs Wellcome Fund scholarships will offset approximately half of tuition expenses of this program. Participants are encouraged to seek professional development funds from their employer to supplement or match the scholarships to cover the program tuition.

    The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities.


    Extension of Work Authorization for STEM Students on F-1 Visas Under New Optional Practical Training (OPT) Rule

    On March 11, the Department of Homeland Security published a rule expanding Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities for F-1 students who have earned a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM). OPT is a period of time during which undergraduate and graduate students in F-1 status (who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months) are granted one year of work authorization by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to gain practical training to complement their education. This training may include a postdoctoral fellowship.

    STEM graduates will now be eligible for an additional 24 months of OPT work authorization. Combined with the 12 months of post- completion OPT available to all students, STEM graduates potentially could have 36 continuous months of post-completion OPT work authorization. This is a benefit to both students and employers -- employers can easily continue employing great talent and students can continue gaining valuable postdoctoral or other training experiences for a longer period of time.

    To pursue a STEM extension, both students/postdocs and their mentors must complete Form I-983 and comply with the necessary requirements. Any questions should be directed to the Office of Immigration and Visa Services (OIVS) at CHOP, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    2017 Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program Announcement

    The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is pleased to announce the Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program. Recognizing the value of individuals from different backgrounds to move science forward, HHMI seeks to increase diversity in the biomedical research community. The Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program will recruit and retain early career scientists who are from groups underrepresented in the life sciences and who have the potential to become leaders in academic research. Through their successful careers, Hanna H. Gray Fellows will inspire the next generation of scientists from America’s diverse talent pool. The Institute will select and support up to 15 Fellows in this first competition.

    We appreciate your help in distributing this announcement and encouraging eligible individuals from your institution, and beyond, to apply. Applicants can establish eligibility and submit an application via the HHMI online competition site www.hhmi.org/research/application/fellow2017. Applications are due February 15, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

    Additional information including a full Program Announcement is available at www.hhmi.org/HannaGrayFellows2017. For more questions, contact program staff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Need Help Identifying a Secondary Mentor for Your Annual Review?

    On Thursday, June 16, David Taylor, PhD, Assistant Director in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, presented at the CHOP Postdoc Seminar Series. Dr. Taylor presented on postdoctoral mentorship plans, specifically ways postdocs can identify secondary mentors.

    Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional support and questions.

    View Dr. Taylor's Presentation, Identifying Secondary Mentors


    English Language Programs at Penn

    Penn offers English Language Programs to members of the Penn and Philadelphia communities, which aim to successfully develop competence and fluency in English.

    They focus primarily on speaking and listening skills and cover a wide range of language proficiency, from beginner through advanced. Classes are held 6:00-7:40pm, one night per week, for seven weeks, and the cost is $400 - one exception is the TOEFL skills course, which meets twice weekly and is $800. The first step for enrollment is to email our ELP Main Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    If you are interested and have any questions, you should contact the Intensive Program Manager, Alyssa Swanson. Her email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She will be able to administer the short placement test and help students sign up for classes.

    Attached is an overview of upcoming courses in the evening program.

    Upcoming English Language Courses Offered at Penn


    Monthly Postdoc Happy Hour – October 7

    UPenn Event
    October 7, 2016
    5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
    UPenn BPP Social Committee
    Meet up with fellow CHOP/Penn Postdocs!

    The UPenn Biomedical Postdoctoral Program (BPP) Social Committee hosts a monthly happy hour event at Harvest Bar and Grill (200 South 40th Street) in West Philly. All CHOP and UPenn postdocs are welcome to join. Feel free to bring co-workers, friends and significant others, as long as they are 21+.

    Enjoy drink specials from 5:30-7:30pm. When you arrive, tell the hostess you are with the postdoc happy hour and get a wristband to get the specials.

    For more information, visit the Biomedical Postdoctoral Council (BPC) site.