Category Archives: Professional Development

Another exciting 3-Minute Postdoc Slam!

The 2017 UBC PDA 3-Minute Postdoc Slam (3MPS) was a great success, with more presenters and a bigger audience than ever before. More than 60 postdocs, students, and faculty came along to hear 10 postdocs from across UBC compete to present their research to a general audience in the most engaging way, in just 3 minutes.

Thanks to another year of generous support from the UBC Life Sciences Institute (LSI), the event took place in LSC3 in the LSI. Alongside the 10 talks, judged by 3 faculty members from different academic institutions, there was an engaging and extremely useful feature presentation on science communication by Dr. Jenn Gardy, and a short talk on opportunities from Mitacs.

Following a brief introduction to the UBC PDA and an explanation of the rules from Kieran, the PDA President, the competition got under way. Competitors were allowed just 3 minutes to present their research projects using a single slide, with no animations, transitions, or moving media. A variety of approaches were taken, from slides with multiple detailed figures to just single images. The full list of the presenters and presentation titles is given at the end of this post.

After the first five presenters, Amin Aziznia from Mitacs gave his own 3-minute presentation explaining the funding and training opportunities available to postdocs at UBC. Following a coffee break to allow for some energetic discussions, the final five presenters gave their talks. Dr. Gardy, from UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, concluded the event with her presentation, entitled ‘A very, very short course in science communication’. Dr. Gardy is a science communicator extraordinaire, who has given many public lectures, presented several television programmes, and has thousands of followers on social media, and her talk contained tips useful for everyone from new graduate students to experienced faculty.

Dr. Gardy also judged the 3-minute presentations, along with Dr. Mahda Jahromi, from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Prof. Dr. Roland Herzog, who is currently visiting UBC from Technische Universität Chemnitz. All the presentations were extremely high quality, with 3rd to 7th places in the scoring separated by less than 1 point. The judges also made comments and suggestions that were passed to each presenter after the competition.

The winners were announced at a fully catered reception, generously supported by the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, where networking and many more discussions took place.

The UBC PDA Executive Team would like to congratulate the three winners, thank all the participants for making this an excellent event, and thank the three judges and the audience for supporting us. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves, and look forward to seeing you at future UBC PDA events!

The 2017 UBC PDA Executive Team

The winners:
1st Place ($100) – Will Burt

2nd Place ($75) – Beniamin Zahiri

3rd Place ($50) – Christine Anderl

The presenters:
Amanda Haage, Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
‘Talin Autoinhibition Regulates Cell Behavior & Migration’
Amir Sharafian, Department of Mechanical Engineering
‘Methane Planet’
Fiona Choi, Department of Psychiatry
‘Mass Trauma and Mental Health’
Willis Monroe, Department of Asian Studies
‘Quantifying the History of Religion’
Rahul Sachdeva, International Collaboration of Repair Discoveries
‘Combined Regenerative and Rehabilitative Strategy for Cardiovascular Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury’
Beniamin Zahiri, Department of Mechanical Engineering
‘Smart Stimuli Responsive Surfaces – A Multifunctional Material’
Mohamed Elgendi, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
‘Help Me Help My Body: Visualization of Biosignals’
Christine Anderl, Department of Psychology
‘It’s the hormones talking…’
Will Burt, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
‘Why is the ocean……green?!’
Navid Khosravi-Hashemi, School of Kinesiology
‘Galvanic vestibular stimulation as a pain management method’

Event supported by:

Catered reception supported by:

UBC 3-Minute Postdoc Slam: Present your research in 3 minutes to win!

DATE: Wednesday, 28th of June

VENUE: Life Sciences Centre, UBC Vancouver

PRIZES and REFRESHMENTS: 6 PM – 8 PM, Room 1510

Online registration is now closed – please come and register at the event.

Our annual 3-Minute Postdoc Slam is back! Enjoy as UBC postdocs engage the audience and share their research in exactly 3 minutes, using only one static slide. The top 3 presenters are competing for $100, $75 and $50 in cash!

The event will feature a keynote talk by Dr. Jennifer Gardy (UBC School of Population and Public Health), ‘A very, very short course in science communication’. Dr. Gardy is an experienced communicator of science, known from her frequent appearances on TV shows like The Daily Planet and The Nature of Things.

Following the talks, food and refreshments will be served at a networking reception from 6 PM, generously supported by the BCCHR.

All postdocs, research associates, students, and faculty are welcome to come and hear about the exciting research going on across UBC. Please come along and register at the door.

Speaker slots are now filled. Registered speakers can check out the rules and additional details of the contest here.

Contact The UBC PDA if you have any questions.

Event supported by:

Catered reception supported by:

SFU Postdoctoral Research Day 2017

From Curiosity to Community Engagement

Thursday, March 30 | 9am – 5pm
Big Data Hub Theatre, ASB 10900, SFU Burnaby

More details and registration.

SFU postdoctoral fellows are immersed in every step of the research process. Some of us scratch our heads and ask “Why… .” Some of us sit and whisper “What if… .” Some of us proclaim “How can I make this benefit… .” All of us push the boundary of what is known and has been done before, and Research Day 2017 will celebrate these achievements.

The day will include talks, posters, exhibits, inventions and more, all presented by members of the SFU postdoctoral community! We also feature a keynote address by Dr. Pascal Haegeli, from SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM), on avalanche research and community engagement.

Watch the talks, explore the exhibits, be part of the community. Come and learn about how SFU Postdocs are changing the world!

All postdocs, research associates, graduate students, faculty and interested members of the community are welcome.

SFU Postdoc Research Day will be held on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at the Burnaby Campus, in the Big Data Hub theatre, ASB 10900 (formerly known as IRMACS Theatre). Additional details available in here [.pdf] and online.

Welcome to the new PDA Executive!

The new UBC Postdoctoral Association’s 2017-2018 Executive Team was elected at the annual general meeting held last Thursday, March 9th at the Life Sciences Institute, following a brief recap of the previous year from each of the outgoing Executive Officers.

Alex Smith, the outgoing president started things off with a brief overview of some of our past events:

He also mentioned some of our advocacy and outreach activities on behalf of the outgoing VP External who couldn’t attend, and some of our previous social activities that occurred under both Justin Hart (VP Social 2016), and Jessica Bosch (VP Social pro tem 2017).

Our outgoing VP Operations, Zoe Riches, gave a quick overview of the role of the VP Operations and described a few of the duties involved, then handed the floor to Jenny Chik, our outgoing VP Communications. Jenny discussed the role of the VP Communications, then described our increased reach with postdocs through increased newsletter subscriptions and a great social media presence. Houra Loghmani-Khouzani then gave a quick overview of the VP Finance position, and the current state of the PDA’s budget.

We then heard from each of the candidates running for officer positions (their statements of interest can be viewed here. All positions except for VP Finance were elected by acclamation.

Following the vote for VP Finance, the new 2017-2018 Executive Officers are:

  • President – Kieran Hudson
  • VP Operations – Mehrdad Bokharaei
  • VP External – Moe Elgendi
  • VP Communications – Ido Hatam
  • VP Finance – Jürgen Niesser
  • VP Social – Jessica Bosch

During this meeting, the PDA also voted unanimously to formalize previously proposed changes to the constitution.

The new team will officially take over from April 1, 2017, with the remainder of March used to facilitate a smooth transition from the outgoing to the new incoming team.

We strongly encourage people to get involved with the PDA! There are lots of great people and fun to be had in planning our events. Contact us to join the executive team!

Call for Nominations: 2017/2018 PDA Executive Officers

We are excited to announce the call for nominations for candidates to be part of the UBC Postdoctoral Association’s 2017/2018 Executive Team.


This is a great opportunity to:

  1. Gain leadership experience
  2. Represent the postdoc community
  3. Organize professional development, research and networking events

The PDA Executive Team consists of 6 Volunteer Officers (i.e. President and 5 VPs) whose position will be voted on at our Annual General Meeting on Thursday, March 9th in the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) room 1510 (5 pm). For a detailed list of our open Officer Positions and a description of their role below.

We encourage all postdocs to attend the AGM on March 9th.
Light snacks and refreshments will be served!

Eligibility: All candidates must be UBC Postdoctoral Fellows.

Service on the Executive Committee: Candidates should be able to attend the majority of the Executive Committee meetings held bimonthly either on or off-campus, as well as the PDA events. Executive Committee member terms are 1-year, beginning 1 April 2016 and concluding 31 March 2017.

Self-Nomination: Download the UBC PDA nomination form here. Please fill out this form and return it to along with a recent photo and a short Letter of Interest (100-200 words) detailing your interest in serving on the PDA Executive and any relevant experience.

Nomination deadline: Thursday March 2nd, 2017.

Commitment: On average, the President attends 2 meetings a month (5-10 hours a month), while the VP attends 1-2 meetings a month (2-7 hours a month)

All Executive Officer positions are open for election, interested PDA members may also join the PDA executive as non-elected Committee Members at this (or any other) time. Click the position to read a brief description of the role:

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UBC PDA Annual General Meeting 2017 (March 9th)

Your vote counts! Join us as we elect the new PDA Executive Committee for the upcoming year, and vote on any amendments to the PDA Constitution on Thursday 9 March at 5:00 pm at the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), Room 1510. No RSVP required.

The event will commence with reports from the past PDA Executive Committee members followed by short introductions of the new nominees, after which you can place your vote. We will then vote on any proposed amendments to the PDA constitution, and will conclude the event with a light reception furnished with complimentary snacks and refreshments to welcome the new committee members.

Please contact us if you have any questions. You can add this event to your Google Calendar by clicking on the button below. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the entire calendar, with all our events, here!

The President’s report on the 2016 CAPS AGM and CAPA Conference


Thanks to the UBC PDFO, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS) annual general meeting in Toronto on October 31st, and the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Administrators (CAPA) Conference from November 1st – 2nd, to represent the UBC PDA.

The CAPS AGM (October 31st)
CAPS MeetingCAPS is the national association for postdoctoral scholars in Canada, and works to clarify the role of postdocs in Canada, advocate for equitable treatment of postdocs, and represent the interests of postdocs at Federal and Provincial levels. It does this by acting as a liaison between postdocs, institutions, funding agencies, professional organizations, and provincial and national governments. It is also active in advocating for postdocs and providing resources for professional development.

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CAPS-ACSP Executive Positions Available


CAPS (the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars) is looking to fill some vacancies in their executive council, specifically the Vice-Chair Communications and the Vice-Chair Operations positions. Descriptions of these positions can be found in this document [PDF]. Any postdoc that is a) associated with a Canadian institution (regardless of citizenship), or b) a Canadian citizen (regardless of location) is eligible to apply.

If you wish to apply for either of these positions, or you would like additional information, please send an email to indicating:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • The institution where you work as a postdoc
  • The position you wish to run for
  • A short (< 250 words) candidate statement.

Thank you for your interest in the future of CAPS-ACSP!

PDA Research Day 2016


We are excited to announce that we are holding our annual Research Day on Thursday November 24, 2016! This half-day mini conference is our flagship event every year. This is a great opportunity to showcase your research and network with individuals from diverse departments at UBC and industry.

Presentations (2:15 – 4PM LSC3 Theatre)
Posters and reception after the oral presentations (LSC Atrium)

If you are a UBC affiliated postdoc or research associate and would like to make a 10 minute oral presentation or a poster presentation, please submit your abstract here (oral presentation deadline: 1st November, poster presentation deadline: 18th November).

Attendance is free and open to all interested parties. Please RSVP here, by 23 November. Space is limited (last year we had a wait list), so please sign up early to avoid disappointment! Cash prizes to be won and drinks and refreshments will be served.

The 3 Minute Postdoc Slam of 2016 – Event Review!

This year’s 3 Minute Postdoc Slam was a great success! Over 40 postdocs, faculty, staff, and students gathered in the LSC3 lecture theatre in the Life Sciences Institute to hear 7 postdocs, from 7 different departments, present their research in only 3 minutes with the aid of a single PowerPoint slide.

3MPs review 1

This year we started out the event with a special guest talk from Craig Jones, winner of the UBC 3 Minute Thesis competition and a finalist in the Canadian National 3MT competition. He gave a fantastic and engaging talk titled “The War Lawyers”, and set the stage for a great afternoon of presentations.

Our first contestant in the competition was Dr. Elisa Wong from Pharmaceutical Sciences, who presented her talk “The story of a powerful mutant population”. Next up was Dr. Kais Dridi from Electrical and Computer Engineering with a talk on “How Can Nanotechnology and Nanostructured Materials Revolutionize Solar Energy Conversion Systems?”. Dr. Noushin Nabavi from the department of Urologic Sciences then presented her work “Understanding Mesothelioma: inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity”. The last talk of our first half was “Reward cues and decision-making” by Dr. Mariya Cherkasova from the Faculty of Medicine. Following a short coffee break, Dr. Amir Sharafian from Mechanical Engineering spoke on “Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): A Green Transportation Fuel”. Dr. Jennifer Rowland from Michael Smith Labs spoke on “Remote control: Bacteria modify epigenetics to take over your cells”, and our final contestant of the day was Dr. Carly Priebe from the department of Kinesiology who gave a presentation titled “Run to Quit”.

All our postdoc presenters were judged by our 3 judges: Dr. Cara Haney from Michael Smith Labs, Dr. Jonas Beaudry from the Allard School of Law, and Dr. Tara L Klassen from Pharmaceutical Sciences.  The judges evaluated each presentation on comprehension, communication and engagement, and made numerous comments about each presentation, which were given to the presenters following the competition. Prizes were awarded to the top three presentations as scored by our judges, as well as to the “People’s Choice” presenter, which was determined by the audience.

Following the presentations from our contestants, we had an excellent and informative talk from Dr. Tara L Klassen on the topic of communication – “Car Salesman or Professor: Communicating your Message”.  The event was finished off with a networking reception – good food, drink, and conversations!

3MPs review 2

3MPs review 3

Thanks to all that presented, and attended, in making the day such a success!

Congratulations to our award winners!

1st place ($100): Dr. Carly Priebe

2nd place ($75): Dr. Mariya Cherkasova

3rd place ($50): Dr. Jennifer Rowland

Peoples’ choice ($25): Dr. Elisa Wong