2020-2021 Postdoc Interest Group Grants – Call for Applications

UCSF is home to approximately 1,100 Postdocs and they are spread over many different locations throughout the city. The Postdoctoral Scholars Association (PSA) helps to connect Postdocs and create a sense of community.

As part of this mission, PSA promotes Postdoc Interest Groups (PDIGs) that bring together postdocs in the UCSF community by any shared interest, either science-related, fun, social, & virtually any topic. With the support from the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars, you can you can register your PDIG & get some funding for pandemic sanctioned activities*. Funding is available for activities/events for:

  1. $50 or less, send an email to [email protected] with your idea/plan for PSA board approval.
  2. $51 or more, your idea/plan must be pitched directly to the PSA board (see instructions below).

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PSA can only support activities/events that are in compliance with UCSF policy. For most PDIGs, this means virtual events/activities.




  1. Fill out & submit the PDIG Enrollment Form before the next PSA Monthly Meeting (fourth Monday of every month).
  2. Proposals will be evaluated under the following criteria by the PSA board:
  • The group must be run by at least one UCSF postdoc.
  • Proposal must be related to engagement of the postdoc community at UCSF.
  • PDIG annual budget availability.
  • If approved, an email confirming your PDIG enrollment will be send within 48 hours after the PSA Monthly Meeting.
  1. For PDIGs proposals requesting:
    • Less than $50, the applicant must send a request to [email protected] with the specifics (plan/budget) for PSA board approval.
    • More than $50 (per month), the applicant(s) must attend (via zoom) the PSA meeting to make a pitch for their PDIG event.
  2. Your meeting must be advertised to the Postdoc community using the PDIG Marketing Form at least three days before your meeting. Failing to comply with this step will result in the reimbursement being denied.
  3. PDIGs meeting regularly lose their enrollment status if the group fails to meet (or properly advertise the meeting) two consecutive times (as reported in the enrollment form). In this case, a new enrollment application must be filled & approved before scheduling a new meeting.
  4. By submitting the PDIG Marketing Form, an announcement advertising your meeting will be automatically sent to the UCSF Postdoc community. You will need to attach a copy of this automatic email in your reimbursement request.
  5. Instructions to request a reimbursement will also be sent by email to the PDIG organizer(s).
  6. Only the budget previously approved in the enrollment application will be reimburse.



Current PDIGs

 Women's postdoc peer mentoring meeting

We have established a peer group of women postdocs, which provides an informal and confidential forum to broach challenges encountered both personally and professionally as postdoctoral women, to encourage discussion about such issues, and to brainstorm solutions.

Regular meetings: First  and Third Tuesday (1pm) of every month, via Zoom

Organizer/contact: Stephanie Redmond (UCSF postdoc)

 Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness

A virtual bookclub, reading "Designing Your Work Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, to designing an engaged and meaningful postdoc life (and, hopefully, subsequent faculty life). A time to do structured thinking with peer support about about work and an ideal work life.

Regular meetings: 4 meetings over two months, via ZOOM

Organizer/contact: April Bell (UCSF postdoc)

 Global Festival Cafe - Embracing Diversity

Global Festival Cafe - Embracing Diversity, will serve as an educational and fun platform for International and American students and scholars to come together and openly celebrate festivals from different countries and cultures. During the pandemic, we are planning to organize a virtual event in a monthly manner (last friday of the month) to celebrate festivals that fall in that month. In this event, volunteers can give a brief presentation (5min) to talk about the significance and traditions (food, dresses, any specific stories, activities, etc.) related to the festival (eg. Lunar New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah, Eid, Juneteenth, etc.).This communal effort will help us to build a diverse international community and appreciate diversity at UCSF. These events will be held via Zoom for now, and then organized in person once we can get through this pandemic safely.

Regular meetings: Last Friday of every month, via ZOOM

Organizer/contact: Ruchika Bajaj (UCSF postdoc)

 Underrepresented Postdocs Realizing an Inclusive Scientific Environment (UPRISE)

Underrepresented Postdocs Realizing an Inclusive Scientific Environment (UPRISE) is a peer group of BIPOC and other URM  postdocs, across all disciplines, at UCSF, which provides an informal and confidential forum to broach challenges encountered both personally and professionally as underrepresented  postdoctoral scholars, to encourage discussion about such issues, and to brainstorm solutions. UPRISE aims to create and hold a space of recognition for the URM members of the UCSF postdoc community, provide infrastructure for professional networking, and promote increased diversity and inclusion in all academic and industrial postdoctoral activities.

More specifically, the mission goals of this PDIG include:

  1. informing members on available research and professional development opportunities (i.e., conferences, workshops/seminars, grants/fellowships, and outreach activities);
  2. increasing the visibility of the cutting-edge research performed by members of this PDIG;
  3. building and supporting communities for marginalized trainees;
  4. promoting the inclusion and engagement of diversity/under-represented minority/marginalized trainees across the Academy and Industry;
  5. acting as thought and initiative leaders (at local and national levels) on the topics of diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, and critical consciousness.

Regular meetings: 3rd Tuesday of every month (11am PT), via ZOOM

Organizers/contacts: April Bell (UCSF postdoc) & Oleta Johnson (UCSF postdoc)

 Management and Mentorship

A peer mentoring group that discusses management, mentorship, and other postdoc-related issues. Some sessions are postdoc-led and others are led by a facilitator (from OCPD or another school). This year, we will emphasize conversations about supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in mentoring relationships, and in keeping up effective mentoring and management relationships remotely.

Regular meetings: 1st Thursday of every month (2pm PT), via ZOOM

Organizer/contact: Rosalie Lawrence (UCSF postdoc)

Postdoc Blog - Scholar's digest

Scholar's digest is an initiative by postdoctoral scholars from various research fields at UCSF. The aim is to share our experiences on what life as a postdoc is actually like in this academic safari. Being a postdoctoral researcher is a very unique period during one's career, and it may be the "make it" or "break it" time for many on whether to stay or leave academia.

We aim to host an array of postdoc experiences to foster community and connection. This blog will serve as a safe space for fellow postdocs to share these stories, tips, insecurities, dreams, frustrations, and celebrations. Furthermore, many postdocs struggle with defining their roles, what is expected of them, how to find good mentorship, how to navigate work/life balance, and so forth. Therefore, we hope this space will shed some light on those who may feel that they are in the dark.

Regular meetings: Tuesdays (5.30 pm PT), via ZOOM

Organizer/contact: Christina Dintica (UCSF postdoc)


Previous PDIGs

Graduate and Postdoc Queer Alliance

Monthly coffee hours at both the Mission Bay and Parnassus campuses to build community for LGBTQ+ scientists.

Organizer/contact: Brian Bender (UCSF) & Fima Zaltsman (UCSF)

Mathematical Modeling for Biology Workshop

As part of this workshop, we meet up about once a month to discuss mathematical modeling for biology. Each time, we assign a paper in mathematical modeling for the participants to read, or share mathematical modeling techniques and discuss them and their application informally.

Organizer/contact: Mariana Gomez Schiavon (UCSF postdoc) & Ania-Ariadna Baetica (UCSF postdoc)

Parnassus Programming Group

We meet monthly to develop coding skills needed to analyze big data sets. We bring in experts who have experience with different analyses,
and provide peer to peer support by sharing successful analysis pipelines and by troubleshooting together. We also present relevant research in

Organizer/contact: Rachel Zwick (UCSF postdoc) & Ali May (UCSF postdoc)

Climate Emergency Response

Discoveries and cures are great. Research is inherently wasteful. UCSF provides valuable resources to help labs be greener
(https://sustainability.ucsf.edu/). But I can't be the only one sat at a tissue culture hood disposing of plastic tip after plastic tip who wishes I could
do more. Don't despair.

Organizer/contact: David Brown (UCSF postdoc)

Immunology Club

Shelter-in-place has a big effect on wet lab work. In order to reduce the pandemic effect, we recruited 11 UCSF scholars and created an immunology club. We have held 5 zoom academic meetings associated with immunology and will countinue the events during this shelter-in-place and in the furture.

Organizer/contact: Yale Liu (UCSF postdoc), and Szu-Ying Chen (UCSF postdoc)