Who are we?
The FAS Postdoc Association is a community by and for the postdocs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, Cambridge campus. We work closely with the FAS Postdoctoral Office to build community among postdocs and provide opportunities for professional growth and development.
Meet the Board
Erik Van Vlack
Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB)
Pronouns: he/him/his or they/them/theirs
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Kahne group, where my research focuses on the synthesis and assembly of cell wall components in bacteria. As co-president, I hope to help create an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared learning among the postdocs of Harvard, and to help ensure postdocs are prepared and connected for the next steps in their career.
Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)/ Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB)
Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB)
I am a postdoc in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. My research focuses on the development and disfunction of stem cell populations in the skin. As part of the FAS Postdoc Association, I work with the Advocacy Committee to understand challenges and fix problems that Harvard postdocs face. In addition, I am the secretary for the FAS PDA.
Chrisy Xiyu Du
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I am interested in smartly design synthetic soft materials inspired by biology. I am a member of the Advocacy Committee of the FAS Postdoc Association. I work on the annual postdoc survey and help organize other Postdoc Association events. I am always looking for new ideas that can make the postdoc life at Harvard more enjoyable!
Rachel L. Harris
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Girguis Lab, where my research explores the myriad physical and biogeochemical factors that influence microbial metabolism at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. More broadly, my work is motivated by the quest to explore the habitability constraints of the biotic fringe to consider the astrobiological potentials of Europa, Enceladus, and the Martian subsurface. I joined the FAS PDA to champion the University into greater investment into the financial health and well-being of postdoctoral scholars to 1) meet NIH recommended minimums, 2) be competitive with peer and Boston-area institutions, and 3) account for inflation and the high cost of living in greater Boston. I am particularly focused on expanding retirement benefits to offer a 401k match and commuter benefits to fully subsidize public transportation. I’m one of the folks behind Advocacy Committee updates on the FAS PDA twitter account.
Selina K. Kaiser
Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
I am an SNSF early postdoc mobility fellow in the Friend/Madix and Aizenberg groups where I work on the design of nanostructured bimetallic catalysts for chemoselective hydrogenations towards sustainable production of pharmaceuticals and fine-chemicals. In the Events Committee, we aim to provide a networking platform to connect the FAS postdoc community both socially and professionally, and thereby enrich the postdoctoral experience.
School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS)
As part of the FAS Postdoc Association, I focus on the Advocacy and Careers Committees. Postdocs at Harvard should not only benefit from the diverse and rich research community provided by the vibrant environment we are part of, but be considered a cornerstone of the academic institution along with the students, staff and faculties, and this is the focus of my efforts in the Advocacy committee. Additionally, I love to contribute to the Careers Committee as I deeply believe we, as a community, are not well aware of the career possibilities that could stem from both our domain knowledge expertise as well as the unique critical and analytical mindset we routinely apply to our work. In my research life, I am part of the Materials Intelligence Research group, where we focus on the development and application of machine learning-based methods to accelerate the discovery of new materials in areas such as energy storage.
Sohaib Abdul Rehman
Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Prigozhin Lab. My research focuses on developing novel optical and electron microscopy methods to study cell signalling. As part of the Careers Committee, I help organize events to highlight employment opportunities available for postdocs in academia and industry.
Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard
I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies and a Ph.D. in Sociology. My work focuses on how racial inequality shapes hardship and privilege in declining American cities. One of my main goals this year is to make Postdocs feel more visible and valued members of the Harvard community.
We aim to fairly represent and advocate for the needs of the larger FAS postdoc community, and to enrich the postdoc experience by providing opportunities for social and professional development. This involves a wide range of topics and services that are dutifully taken care of by many volunteers. Help us to build a strong community and active association!
Join one of our committees:
Advocacy - Is advocacy your thing? Help us share more information about the rights of postdocs at Harvard. Help us ask questions, and conduct surveys to understand the current postdoc climate. Help us make lasting change by joining the Advocacy Committee!
Careers - Do you want to build a bridge between postdocs and industry? Perhaps better prepare yourself for a career in academia? Whatever your path, this committee helps organize events that provide tools for getting your ready for the job market.
Events - Do you like organizing scientific, social and career events? Join our Events Committee! We organize monthly happy hours, the postdoc science café, and social outings such as Brew at the Zoo.
Communications - Are you the source of news among your friends? Enjoy posting on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn? Join our communications team! Spread the word about our amazing events! Give postdocs a voice! Help us keep our postdoc community updated with the latest opportunities.
Many opportunities await you at the FAS Postdoc Association, and all kinds of contributions are welcome. We offer:
• An open-minded environment where you can learn how to manage a team
• Polish your organizational talent: organize workshops, panel discussions, or welcome events
• Make new lasting friendships: get to know fellow postdocs and maybe you’ll become friends for life!
• Take responsibility: we offer you visibility and freedom to sustain the association in many different ways
• The place to be creative: Have you always wanted to organize a book club? Boardgame night? … we can help you do that!
Our active and fun team is looking forward to hearing from you!
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our board members will get in touch with you.
Stay Connected! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to keep up with FAS-PDA news and events!