January 6, 2011

Labosky named to direct Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Labosky named to direct Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Patricia Labosky, Ph.D., associate professor of Cell & Developmental Biology and of Pharmacology, has been named director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Patricia Labosky, Ph.D.

Patricia Labosky, Ph.D.

Labosky succeeds Ann Richmond, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of Cancer Biology, who stepped down as director and assistant dean of Biomedical Research, Education and Training (BRET) in July to focus on her research.

“One of our jobs as faculty is to provide postdocs with the right mentoring environment and the right information they need to succeed,” said

Labosky, who did her postdoctoral work at Vanderbilt in the mid-1990s under Brigid Hogan, Ph.D.

Competition for faculty positions is a lot more intense than it was then, even as opportunities for careers in science — including teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels — have broadened and become more diverse.

“You have to be a little bit more creative about identifying them,” she said.

The 528 postdoctoral fellows supported by the BRET office and by the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association are “one of the driving forces behind the research here,” she said.

At the same time, the postdoctoral fellowship only lasts for five years, and faculty mentors must remain committed to training the next generation of scientists.

It's a “symbiotic relationship that I think has to be appreciated by both sides,” Labosky said.

Labosky said she plans to:

• Promote and refine the individual development plan used by postdoctoral fellows and their faculty mentors to set goals and measure their progress;

• Encourage greater participation in the annual Postdoctoral Research and Shared Resources Symposium launched by Richmond and the Postdoctoral Association; and

• Help organize the second annual postdoctoral fellow recruitment event in May.

Labosky earned her Ph.D. in Biology from Wesleyan University in 1992.
She was a member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Vanderbilt in 2006.

A faculty investigator in the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology, Labosky studies genes and transcription factors that control normal development of the mammalian embryo.

Her work is contributing to efforts to use stem cells to repair or restore damaged tissues.