All posts by Grace Lee

About Grace Lee

I am Director of a nationwide initiative that examines ethical issues of medical neuroimaging for patients with traumatic brain injury in Canada. My expertise focuses largely on assessing novel applications of brain imaging technology as diagnostic tools or predictors of patient prognosis. I am affiliated with the Neurology division at the University of British Columbia. I am also Co-founder of Krimson Marketing Consulting, a local company that revolutionizes social media marketing strategies for small and medium sized enterprises. Our mission is to help businesses achieve increased visibility and improve client relations by spotlighting their authority in the industry. For more information about me, visit

New President’s First Message

Miranda 250pxDear colleagues and friends,

I am so honored to begin my term as President of the UBC-Postdoctoral Association (PDA). First and foremost, I would like to thank our outgoing President, Grace Lee, for her commitment, passion and enthusiasm over this last year. Under her leadership, the PDA has made some leaps and bounds, especially with regards to increasing professional development opportunities for postdoctoral fellows and research associates, and increasing the visibility and reach of the PDA within UBC and beyond. She will join the ranks of many wonderful past-Presidents, and I am so grateful that many of them still reside in Vancouver and will allow me to count on their counsel during my term.

As preparation for my term as President, I served the PDA executive committee as co-VP-Social this past year. Through this position, I have been involved in planning, advertising and executing our annual research and academic events, in addition to numerous networking events to foster interaction and collaboration among postdoctoral fellows and associates. Specifically, together with the PDA, we planned and organized the annual “3 Minute Postdoc Slam” and “UBC Postdoc Research Day”, as well as a Whistler ski trip, kayaking trip, hike in North Vancouver and many other fun socials on and off campus. This has provided me firsthand experience with all of the successful events the PDA organizes annually. However, just because the PDA was successful this past year doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels. In the upcoming year I plan to introduce several new initiatives to contribute to the UBC PDA’s mission to foster community and networking for postdoctoral fellows, provide a forum to discuss important issues and provide a voice to communicate those issues to the UBC Postdoctoral Fellow’s Office, and provide more professional development opportunities. I am looking forward to creating an exciting calendar of events with the PDA executive team in the coming weeks!

In closing, on behalf of all UBC postdoctoral fellows, I would like to extend many thanks to the outgoing PDA officers. It has been a pleasure working with each of you this past year. Libin Abraham – thank you for your efforts in providing more teaching opportunities for postdoctoral fellows, Raj Kannan – for your leadership with the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS), Kelly Sakaki – for your efforts in increasing our readership with the PDA newsletter, Gesa Volkers – for keeping us all on track with the finances and for ensuring PDA events ran smoothly, and Elisa Wong – my partner in crime as co-VP-Social this past year – I have had a great time planning and attending PDA events with you. Lucky for all of us, many of our outgoing PDA officers will remain part of the executive team this term.

I would also like to welcome our new PDA leaders! Yun Zhang will take over VP-Operations, Farzam Fotovat for VP-External, Galen Wright for VP-Communications, Nima Mohtaram for VP-Finance, and Britt Drögemöller for VP-Social. I would also like to welcome all of the individuals who have already expressed interest in joining the PDA executive team. I have heard so many great ideas from each of you already, and I look forward to a productive and fun year ahead!

Finally, I would like invite all of you to join the PDA executive committee as a volunteer. PDA membership is open to all UBC fellows and associates. All members of the PDA executive team are invited to attend meetings with the PDA officers, share their ideas and get involved in planning and organizing our events, and advocate for postdoctoral fellows and associates at UBC. Please contact us if you want to be involved!

kindest regards,
Miranda Kirby, PhD
President, UBC Postdoctoral Association

Join us for our AGM and vote!


Express your voice and vote for your new leaders!  Nominations for executives positions are now closed, and we are delighted to have a shortlist of bright and talented candidates. Read about our candidates by clicking the names below.

Meet our candidates on April 1st, 2015 and cast your vote to elect our new leaders!

LocationUBC Life Sciences Institute, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Room 1330

We will then discuss:

  • results from the on-site vote
  • social and educational events
  • preliminary calendar of events for 2015 – 2016
  • communications, outreach, and advocacy

Everyone welcome.  Please come and meet your new executive team!


Message from the President: “It has been an honor and a privilege. But this is not goodbye.”

I want to begin by saying it has been a pleasure to have served as president of the UBC PDA over the last year, and I am proud to have done so with such a dedicated executive team with a deep commitment to this association. This is my last The Buzz message to you as the PDA President. At the AGM that announces the results of our election on April 1st, 2015, I will hand over my role to the named successor, who will then serve the next year in leadership. For this last message, I want to communicate my thoughts about my time as President and tell you about some important accomplishments during my tenure.

I have faced some challenges, but overall, the PDA is heading into a very exciting and transformative period in its history. As an organization, the PDA has undergone tremendous growth this past year. Our current subscription to our newsletter stands at 191; up from 56 at this time in 2014. Our Facebook page following has experienced a 124% growth, and postdoctoral associations or societies from other institutions have begun to notice us and reach out to us.

We have offered many new benefits for our members, including professional development seminars on pursuing careers in academia and industry with a bend towards personal branding, and two workshops on financial literacy to learn how to make the most of what we earn as postdocs. We have expanded the content of our website with useful slides and audio or video recordings of our professional and educational events, and an option to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Perhaps one of our greatest milestones was adopting a clear mandate to reach out to and engage with postdocs in the arts and humanities, engineering, and other non life science departments. The UBC PDA represents all UBC postdocs and research associates. Our advocacy work and events should include everyone in this broad community.

This past year also saw a terrible tragedy, with the loss of our colleagues and friends, Stephanie Grothe and Neil Mackenzie. As members of the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club, a fundraising campaign was set up for them where the proceeds went to the Search and Rescue community in British Columbia.

In the coming weeks we will see new faces among the PDA Executive Team, as the election comes to a close at the end of the month. I am confident that our new leaders will provide outstanding leadership in their roles for external relations, marketing and communications, and advocacy.

In closing this farewell message, I want to say that it has been a privilege and pleasure to have served as the UBC PDA President from 2014-2015. I wish to publicly thank my executive team members for their willingness to serve this association, and for the postdoc volunteers who undertook important work to ensure the smooth running of our academic events.

My appreciation goes to the devoted leaders from the Postdoctoral Fellows Office. Rachel Fernandez is our Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, whose enthusiasm and keen sense of humor brought a personalized meaning to faculty relations. Hourik Khanlian is ever enduring as Manager of Human Resources and Postdoctoral Affairs, not to mention one of the most compassionate HR managers I know. Jen Tooley, our past HR and Postdoctoral Affairs Assistant, has been a blessing to us, and as she moved on to new adventures, she has been thoroughly missed. We welcomed Sarah Henderson in her position, who is an amazing example of organizational talent. I appreciate all the work these individuals have done in support of postdocs and our association.

For providing knowledge and leadership at our various events and workshops, I want to acknowledge Michael Gold, Brian Duff, Nilly McCaffery, Ryan Howe, Alphil Guilaran, and the team at the Financial Literacy Counsel.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for supporting the UBC PDA and me during my term of office. I am proud of having served such a great community of young professionals. This is not goodbye – I feel I still have unfinished work, and will be providing leadership for hands-on workshops in entrepreneurship. For the immediate future, I will serve as Past-President and look forward to supporting the new leadership team. I give you my best, and wish you all tremendous success in whichever way you define it.

With warmest regards,

Grace Lee

Elections 2015: Call for Nominations!

The UBC Postdoctoral Associations is now accepting nominations for the 2015-2016 Executive Committee.

PDA Elections Banner


Run for the PDA Postdoc Executive and grow as a leader!

Benefits of leadership as a PDA Executive:

  • Develop leadership and management skills
  • Gain experience running an organization
  • Enrich your postdoctoral experience
  • Improve your networking and communication skills
  • Serve your postdoctoral community
  • Gain valuable professional and personal development

Download the UBC PDA nomination form here. Complete and return to along with a recent photo of yourself and a 100-200 word profile statement about yourself and your visions and goals for this position.

Nomination deadline: Monday March 23rd, 2015.
Online voting: Tuesday March 24 to Tuesday March 31, 2015.
Results announced: Wednesday April 1st, 2015

Executive positions open for election (click to read role descriptions):

The UBC PDA President shall:

Act as the public face of the PDA to:

  1. speak on behalf of the PDA at orientation and wherever appropriate
  2. understand the needs of PDA members and ensure equal representation across departments

Be responsible for meetings of the PDA Executive members to:

  1. chair and set the agenda for meetings
  2. ensure proper operation of the meetings
  3. take minutes at meetings, or designate a member to do so
  4. manage copies of the minutes, agendas, and any other materials

Be responsible for the execution of decisions by the PDA Executives

Lead the Annual General Meeting and PDA Elections

Work together with the VP-Communications to:

  1. direct content for communication to members of the UBC postdoc community
  2. manage and update the website
  3. respond to emails
  4. direct the advertisement of PDA events.

Work together with the VP-External to:

  1. collaborate and communicate with the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars
  2. raise awareness of postdoctoral issues and find avenues of support

Work together with the VP-Social to create a calendar of social events and ensure a broad outreach.

Work together with the VP-Operations to:

  1. ensure liaising with the UBC Postdoctoral Fellows office and Deans office
  2. representing the PDA during meetings with UBC faculty, staff and administrators
  3. coordinate the Executive Members of the PDA

Work together with the VP-Finance to:

  1. ensure responsible stewardship over the annual budget when planning events
  2. being aware of outflow and inflow


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The UBC PDA VP-Operations shall:

  1. Organize professional development activities for post docs.
  2. Set up regular PDA meetings via doodle polls and arrange suitable venues on/off campus
  3. Organize non-social UBC-PDA events
  4. Attend and participate in meetings of the PDA executive members
  5. Assist in all PDA executive members plan.
  6. Perform duties of the President, in the event of absence or illness of the President

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The UBC PDA VP-External shall:

  1. Raise the voice of UBC postdoctoral fellows at regional and national platforms through participation and dialogues with the Canadian Association for Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS-ACSP)
  2. Build and promote alliance with various BC industrial sectors to create opportunities for researchers outside academia
  3. Work with CAPS-ACSP to create and sustain dialogue with legislators to acknowledge the role of postdoctoral fellows and research associates to Canadian economy
  4. Address or raise awareness for issues relevant to postdoctoral fellows and research associates
  5. Work with the UBC PDA executive team to ensure smooth running of the organization and liaise with its partners

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The UBC PDA VP-Communications shall:

  1. Be responsible for the development of the communication strategy
  2. Manage communication activities that promote, enhance, and protect the PDA’s brand reputation
  3. Manage the PDA’s email account and email listserv
  4. Work with the President in planning content for the PDA newsletters
  5. Work with the President to recognize internal and external communications opportunities
  6. Work with the President in managing communications on the PDA’s Facebook page and Twitter
  7. Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and prepare presentations and other supporting material as needed during events
  8. Work with the team to maintain and continuously improve the PDA website
  9. Promote events
  10. Support the communications needs of the PDA and the Postdoctoral Fellows Office

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The UBC PDA VP-Social shall:

  1. Attend and participate in the biannual PDA orientations
  2. Advertise the PDA to the new postdocs
  3. Deliver the “Getting to Know Vancouver” talk
  4. Organize a social for postdocs after the orientation
  5. Plan, advertise and execute regular social and networking events for postdocs, including the annual:
  6. Whistler trip (organize to/from Whistler and reserve accommodation at the UBC lodge)
  7. “3 Minute Postdoc Slam” competition (assist all PDA executive members plan)
  8. UBC Postdoc Research Day” (assist all PDA executive members plan)
  9. Christmas party (venue reservation and run games e.g. “white elephant”)
  10. Other outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking trips
  11. Attend and participate in meetings of the PDA executive members, which include booking public venues on/off UBC campus

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The UBC PDA VP-Finance shall:

  1. Be a Postdoctoral fellow residing in the Life Sciences Institute (due to budget restrictions)
  2. Oversee correct use and spending of the UBC PDA budget and liaise with Life Science Institute (LSI) admin staff
  3. Help organize events (3-Minute Postdoc Slam, Postdoctoral Research Day, seminars in general)
  4. Serve as the LSI Postdoc representative on the Life Sciences Institute Steering Committee (meets once a month)

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PDA Seminar Series: Financial Literacy for Postdocs Feb 17th

We are continuing our financial literacy seminar series!  The Financial Literacy Counsel Inc. of Vancouver is back again for the second portion of the financial literacy seminar for postdocs! This seminar is applicable to Canadian and international postdocs from all disciplines.

*There will be no promotion of any financial institution or their products.


Food and beverages will be provided.



Alphil Guilaran
Executive Director, Financial Literacy Counsel

Samuel Raharjo, RHU

Bob Wang, BCComm CPA (2015)
Jay Kiew, BA
Principals, Legacy Bookkeeping Ltd.

Ryan Howe, JD

Business, Wealth Preservation & Intellectual Property Law
Alexander, Holburn, Beaudin + Lang

PART 2: Intermediate

Financial Literacy 502
February 17, 2015
4:30 – 6:00 pm
Location: Student Union Building (SUB) Room 209

We will explore financial, tax, and legal strategies to help keep more of what you earn.

In this session you will learn:

  • Safeguarding your intellectual property
  • Tax planning beyond your postdoc:
    • Employee/ Tenured professorship
    • Contractor/ Self Employed/ Incorporated
  • Wills, estates, and family law

Weekend Whistler Trip at the UBC Whistler Lodge

0708-p2pgondolacomp-final1As the tradition follows, the UBC-PDA would like to invite you for our annual trip to Whistler. We’ll be arriving in Whistler early on Saturday, March 28th to enjoy a full day on the gorgeous mountains in Whistler. Whether you’d like to ski/snowboard/cross country, there will be something for everyone! Saturday night we’ll have a potluck dinner at the lodge, and Sunday we’ll hit the slopes for another day of skiing/snowboarding!

Accommodation Details:

UBC Whistler lodge, which is located 3 Km south of Whistler Village and within walking distance of the Creekside gondola (for more info go to The UBC-Postdoc Association has secured 15 beds at the UBC Whistler lodge for one night on Saturday, March 28th at 36$/person. SPACE IS LIMITED and it will be first come first served, so contact Miranda Kirby ( with ‘PDA-Whistler’ in the subject line, and provide us with the following:

• I want to stay at the UBC lodge: YES / NO
• I will pay for my accommodations at the UBC lodge via: email transfer YES / NO
• I will pay for my accommodations at the UBC lodge via cold cash to MIRANDA OR ELISA directly: YES / NO
• MY email address is: ______________________


We require the full payment by Saturday, March 14th. You can pay in full by email transfer to Miranda Kirby ( we can collect the full cash amount at UBC campus or off campus during the week. For post-docs on campus, Elisa can arrange to collect the deposit and post-docs off campus can directly speak to Miranda (our contact and work addresses are shown below).

Important points:

  1. Re: accommodation, if you are unable to confirm by Saturday, March 14th, you can make a reservation yourself online ( or send an email to the Whistler Lodge booking representative ( Private rooms may be available and cost $54/person.
  2. If you are booking your own accommodation, please leave us your contact details and we’ll let arrange to meet with you on March 28th.
  3. In the past, car pools were arranged which is the cheapest option so if you have a car and can fit a couple people please let us know. For others interested in taking public transportation, Greyhound or Whistle Shuttle bus can be reasonably cheap when booked in advance. 

Pass and equipment info:
You are responsible for purchasing your ski pass and/or equipment rentals. If you purchase an Edge Card online 48 hours in advance you can save up to $20. A 1-day edge card costs $99 versus $119 for regular window ticket rate. For more info:
Looking forward to see you all on the 28th of March!


Miranda & Elisa

Contact Information
Miranda Kirby
(604) 682-2344 ext. 62868
Elisa Wong


PDA Seminar Series: Financial Literacy for Postdocs Feb 3rd

The slides from the presentations are available for download.
Download Presentation Slides Here

We are continuing our seminar series for postdocs!  In partnership with the Financial Literacy Counsel Inc. of Vancouver, we are offering a seminar on money management, tax planning, and wills and estates. This seminar is applicable to Canadian and international postdocs from all disciplines.

*There will be no promotion of any financial institution or their products.


Food and beverages will be provided.



Alphil Guilaran
Executive Director, Financial Literacy Counsel

Samuel Raharjo, RHU

Bob Wang, BCComm CPA (2015)

Part 1: Basic

Financial Literacy 501
February 3, 2015
4:30 – 6:00 pm
Location: Life Sciences Institute, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver
Lecture Hall 3 (LSC3)

We will cover money management principles to help get your financial house in order.

In this session you will learn:

  • How to pay off grad school debts
  • The ABC’s of saving money in Canada
  • Should you do RRSP’s, TFSA’s or both?
  • How to reduce taxes as a postdoc
  • Tax planning for international postdocs

Stay tuned for Part II on February 17th!

Recap and slideshare: Pursuing academic and industry careers in the life sciences

On October 28, 2014, Dr. Grace Lee led a practical and interactive panel session on:

  • how branding your professional profile is important as you move towards your next career milestone
  • how to prepare an outstanding application for a faculty position in the life sciences
  • how hiring managers in industry choose the best candidates from among a sea of applicants

Time: 4:30 – 6:30pm
LocationLife Sciences Centre, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Room LSC3

The slides from each presentation are downloadable. Click the link below to download:
Creating Career Marketing Tools by Developing your Personal Brand – Presentation by Grace Lee
Pursuing a Faculty Position – Presentation by Michael Gold
Pursuing Industry Careers in the Life Sciences – Presentation by Nilly Razavi and Brian Duff

Visit HERE for both the video and audio recordings of the seminar.

We have posted the photos to this event on our Facebook page ( and on Flickr. A link to our Flickr album is available on the photos tab.

End of Summer 2014 BBQ

Celebrate the end of Summer 2014 with a BBQ!  


Time: Saturday Sept 27, 2014 from noon
Location: Kits beach (specific location will be announced)
Food/Drinks: bring your favorite food and drinks for the BBQ!
Numbers: let us know if you are coming so we can plan how many grills/utensils to bring!

Please note that this event will depend on the weather, so stay in touch for any changes to the plan!