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Information for Prospective Mentors

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We are seeking motivated teams consisting of a PI and near-peer mentor, who is either a graduate student or postdoc, mentor to join us in the inaugural cohort of the Postbac Program in Target Discovery. While the near-peer mentor will serve to train and advise the postbac researcher in the lab, both the near-peer mentor and PI are expected to engage in meaningful training activities with the researcher, including activities aimed at developing science communication skills, identifying productive collaborations, and integrating reproducibility and ethics into research. 

In addition, the PI and near-peer mentor will be required to participate in other formal and informal career development activities for the postbac researchers. We encourage the PI and near-peer mentors to engage in and lead workshops related to areas like graduate school applications, post-PhD careers, and technical and nontechnical science writing.

More information about program details can be found on the Information for Prospective Postbacs page.

Application Process

The first step of the selection process includes an application that the PI and near-peer mentor should complete together. The application includes a Mentorship Philosophy statement (from the PI and the near-peer mentor), a Commitment to Diversity statement (from the near-peer mentor), a Research Proposal, and a Letter of Recommendation from the PI for the near-peer mentor. After an initial screening process, joint interviews with the PI and near-peer mentor will be conducted to match postbacs with a home lab.

To succeed in our mission of diversifying the pipeline of qualified applicants for competitive PhD programs, we need serious, committed, and thoughtful mentors. We require that the host PIs and near-peer mentors both commit to being active mentors for the postbac researchers, guiding them in becoming independent scientists and  encouraging other aspects of career development.

Selection Criteria

We consider all aspects of the research setting when evaluating the best fits for the postbac researchers. Our rubric involves the PI, the near-peer mentor, the lab environment, and the proposed research project. We recommend that you use the mentor application to communicate how and why your lab is the ideal place for a postbac researcher to learn and grow. Subsequent interviews will also be used to evaluate these and other considerations. Here are some of the key features we are looking for in lab placements:

  • The PI has demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts
  • The PI agrees to provide materials/supplies for the proposed project
  • The near-peer mentor has communicated a desire to provide one-on-one lab mentorship to a junior researcher
  • The near-peer mentor and PI both understand that the postbac will have duties outside of lab work to be conducted during and counted towards normal work hours
  • The near-peer mentor and PI both understand that this is a career development opportunity for the postbac researcher
  • The proposed research project is related to therapeutic development, such as target validation, drug discovery, etc.
  • The proposed research project is within the scope of other research initiatives in the lab and either complements or supplements other projects
  • The proposed research project is of appropriate scope that a junior researcher could make significant progress in two years

Application Materials

  • Mentorship Philosophy (one from each the PI and the near-peer mentor) 
    • We strive to provide our post-baccalaureate researchers with excellent mentorship. In 500 words or less, describe your commitment to providing excellent mentorship. For example, this could be a description of previous mentoring or teaching experiences or if you are a new mentor, you could describe the features of your previous mentors that you would seek to emulate and/or provide an overview of your plan for supporting the student in their research.
  • Commitment to Diversity (near-peer mentor)
    • Taking action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a core value of ChEM-H/IMA. We seek applicants from individuals that are aligned with this essential core value. In 500 words or less, describe your commitment to advance DEI. For example, this could be a description of: your own identity and experience as a member of a historically excluded and/or under-represented group, your participation in programming, organizations, or activities aimed at advancing DEI, and/or your personal DEI philosophy among other things.
  • Research Proposal (1 page)
    • ChEM-H and IMA are striving to improve human health especially by providing new drugs for the treatment, prevention, or eradication of diseases. IMA specifically focuses on translating Stanford research discoveries into new medicines by bridging the gap between discovery of a promising drug target and testing with animals and ultimately with humans. Ideal research projects for our postbac program could culminate in collaboration with IMA. In 500 words or less, describe the proposed research project. Address how this project fits within the expertise and broader research focus of the lab, how this project advances research relevant to IMA, what potential intellectual property may result from work on the project, the scope and goals of the project over the course of a two-year postbac tenure, and the appropriateness of the project for a junior researcher.
  • Letter of commitment from PI
    • Please provide a letter of support from the principal investigator of the proposed project. This letter should address the following: 
      • Agreement to provide materials/supplies for the proposed project
      • Understanding that a post-baccalaureate researcher will be conducting research in their lab at 80% time for up to two years 
      • Selection of a specific mentor for the researcher that is a member of their research group 
      • Recommendation of the selected mentor addressing why this mentor is well-qualified to work with a junior researcher
      • Alignment with ChEM-H/IMA’s core value of advancing DEI


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