Carnegie Institution Postdoc Association (CIPA)


May 15, 2017
Workshop "Scientific Illustrations using Adobe Illustrator"
CIPA organized a 2-hour workshop on basic scientific figure design using Adobe Illustrator for 20 Postdocs of DPB and DGE on May 15, 2017. The workshop instructors, Kat Ng, a postdoctoral scholar in Bioengineering in KC Huang's lab at Stanford, and Carlos Gonzalez, a PhD candidate in Chemical & Systems Biology in Josh Elias's lab at Stanford. Both instructors have taught this workshop many times at Stanford before and are very knowledgeable. The workshop had a lot of hands-on practice and the Postdocs were encouraged to bring figures they were currently struggling with. The feedback from the workshop attendees after the workshop was very positive.


The Carnegie Institution Postdoc Association (CIPA) was established in September 2015 to bring together the Postdocs from all Departments at Carnegie Science. Together with Carnegie's faculty and its employees, we want to enrich the professional and personal experience of the Postdocs at Carnegie Science.


Follow us on Twitter: @CIPA_DPB

Members of CIPA Council



Kangmei Zhao
(Rhee Lab; President and Co-Chair)

Pascal Schlapfer
(Rhee Lab; Treasurer)

Heike Lindner
(Dinneny Lab; Secretary)

Cesar L. Cuevas-Velazquez
(Dinneny Lab)

Jennifer Brophy
(Dinneny Lab)

Jiaying Zhu
(Wang Lab)

Josep Vilarrasa-Blasi
(Jonikas Lab)

Shai Saroussi
(Grossman Lab)

Yuval Kaye
(Grossman Lab)


Shawna Foo
(Caldeira Lab; President and Co-Chair)

Previous members


Michael Banf
(Rhee Lab; Former secretary)

Lily Cheung
(Frommer Lab; Former treasurer)

Cindy Cooke (-Ast)
(Frommer Lab; Former president and Co-Chair)

Joelle Schlapfer
(Frommer Lab; Former secretary)
Nidhi Sharma
(Barton Lab)
Chuan Wang
(Rhee Lab)


Rebecca Albright
(Caldeira Lab; Co-Chair)
Soheil Shayegh
(Caldeira Lab)
David Marvin
(Asner Lab)

Activities in 2017

April 4, 2017
Seminar “Changing the Culture of Peer Review”, by Jennifer McLennan, eLIFE
CIPA hosted speaker Jennifer McLennan to give a seminar on the culture of peer review. Jennifer is the Head of External Relations at the journal eLIFE and she gave a very inspiring talk on how eLIFE is improving the current publishing culture and experience of early-career researchers. Her talk was followed by a fruitful and thought-provoking discussion with the attending students and postdocs. For this event, eLIFE sponsored pizza, drinks and free T-shirts, which were a great hit among the attendees.

ELIFE has been sponsoring CIPA activities for the past year, as well as Roundtable Happy Hours before that. We are very grateful for their support!

January 27, 2017
Field trip of Children’s Day School (San Francisco) at DPB
The Plant Biology Department was visited by 20 middle school students and their teachers from the Children’s Day School in San Francisco on January 27, 2017. The field trip was organized by Margot Bezrutczyk from the Frommer Lab and Analise Heid, the students' teacher and the coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Sciences program at the Children's Day School, to teach the students about maize domestication and crop improvement. After the lecture, the students were shown around the greenhouses and Carnegie Gardens, where lots of native California plants are growing. They even got to plant corn plants and Sticky Monkey flowers themselves. CIPA-members, Heike Lindner und Cindy Cooke, helped with this event by giving short presentations about their research projects and showing the students some of the instruments they use on a regular basis. Judging from the excitement and enthusiasm of the students, the field trip was a huge success and we hope to invite more students from different schools in the future.

Activities in 2016

September 21., 2016
Postdoc Appreciation Week

CIPA invited Carnegie's President, Matthew Scott, to give a professional development talk to celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week. The president's talk, titled “How to Give a Good Talk: Finding and Keeping a Job”, took place in DC and was broadcasted via YouTube livestream to postdocs in all departments. At Stanford, the celebration continued with lunch and ice cream social sponsored by eLife.

CIPA wants to thank Carnegie headquarters, eLife and volunteers involved in making this event possible.

August 4., 2016
1st Plant Biology Career Fair

CIPA organized the 1st Plant Biology Career Expo at Carnegie DPB on August 4th, 2016. This full-day event started off with a breakfast to get caffeinated for two panel discussions on “Taking the Leap from Academia to Industry” and “Start-up versus Large Corporation”. Both panel discussion were led by Stephanie Eberle, the Director of the Stanford Medical School Career Center, who interrogated the panelists in an informative, but very entertaining way. The following networking lunch gave the students and Postdocs the opportunity to continue the discussion with the panelists. The last part of the event was the information tables of the ten participating companies to learn more about local companies and opportunities for plant biologists.
CIPA thanks all participating companies:
Hampton Creek, Morrison & Foerster, Monsanto, Dovetail Genomics, BP Ventures, Bio-Protocol, DuPont, Impossible Foods, Takara Bio USA Inc, New Harvest

July 27, 2016
Resume and Interview Workshop 2016

The Carnegie Institution Postdoc Association (CIPA), together with the Stanford Medical School Career Center, organized a "Resume and Interview Workshop" on Wednesday morning July 27.
Two recruiters from Hampton Creek, Kat Bagherian and Margaret Distler, shared their knowledge and experience about the job application process in industry in a fun and interactive way. About 40 students from Carnegie and Stanford attended and found the workshop very useful.

July 7., 2016
Welcome Breakfast for new Postdocs
DGE hosted the welcome breakfast for new Postdocs.

April 15-17., 2016
USA Science and Engineering Festival 2016

Cindy Ast traveled to Washington D.C. to welcome thousands of the estimated 350,000 Festival visitors to the Carnegie Science booth. More than 40 volunteers from four departments, including scientists, Carnegie Academy for Science Education educators, and administrative staff demonstrated here how fun and interactive science is. Cindy brought a homemade tool that uses a tiny lens and a light to turn a smartphone into a microscope for studying leaves and flower petals up close. Other activities included sifting through boxes of sand for fossilized shark teeth and studying raw diamonds and garnets
under microscope.

April 13., 2016
Welcome Breakfast for new Postdocs

DPB hosted the first breakfast to welcome new Postdocs to Carnegie.

March 17., 2016
Work-Life-Balance Workshop

Activities in 2015

October 19., 2015
Alan Alda Science Communication Workshop

On October 19., 2015 a one-day workshop by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science was held at Carnegie to help the postdocs at DGE and DPB to communicate their science more effectively to the broader public, including policy makers, media, students, funders and family. Skills addressed included: Knowing your audience, connecting with the audience and speaking clearly. The program was split into two smaller workshops:
1) Improvisation for Scientists covered body language, awareness to the audience and respond with greater sensitivity
2) Distilling Your Message allowed every participant to practice their elevator pitch. The focus here was finding common ground and speaking at different levels of complexity about our work.
Both of the workshops were extremely interactive, unconventional and fun. The evaluation of the feedback forms shows that the participants enjoyed the workshop and found it extremely useful and helpful.

29 participants filled in feedback form

NOTE: 1 - Lowest score; 5 - Highest score

September 21., 2015

National Postdoc Appreciation Event with breakfast and panel discussion “The Path to an NSF Career Award”

Postdoctoral fellows at the Global Ecology and Plant Biology Departments are known for many things – tackling climate change on computer models and in rice fields, preserving coral reefs, harnessing biofuels from algae, or simply for challenging the dogmas of their disciplines in their daily work – but waking up early on a Monday morning is usually not one of them. However, this Monday, September 21st, in celebration of the 6th National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW), postdocs from both departments got out of bed early with only one thing in mind: Waffles! Volunteers from both departments had come together in the previous weeks with the objective of taking a more active role in the postdoc training experience. Together, they created the Carnegie Institution Postdoctoral Association at Stanford (CIPA-Stanford), with the goal of enriching the professional development and personal growth of Carnegie postdocs. They decided on the first day of NPAW to hold general elections for council members accompanied by homemade waffles, a full continental breakfast, and plenty of coffee to get the day started. The highlight of the morning was a panel discussion with Stanford University’s Associate Professors Tadashi Fukami (Biology) and Noah Diffenbaugh (Earth System Science) titled “The Path to a NSF CAREER Award” where panelists offered Carnegie postdocs grantsmanship advice and a behind-the-scene look at how review panels for the National Science Foundation work. The hour-long discussion gave postdocs the opportunity to ask a variety of questions about grant applications, and to learn from the panelists’ many candid anecdotes. Representatives from each DGE and DPB labs and the newly elected council members Rebecca Albright (DGE co-chair), Cindy Ast (DPB co-chair), Joëlle Schlapfer (secretary), and Lily Cheung (treasurer) will work together with the administration and senior scientists to organize more career development activities for Carnegie.