Monday, June 15, 2009

Progress in dengue research

How Mosquitoes Work

Let's say it's summer time. You're out in your backyard enjoying the sun and grilling your dinner. Ouch! You look down at your arm and see a painful, swelling mosquito bite. Moments later, you feel another one bite you. What are these pesky insects? Why do they bite? Do they carry diseases? What can you do to protect yourself? READ MORE AT

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What postdocs want

Personal peer review
by Bryan Venters, Postdoc journal

I want to hear that I have a job and that my manuscript's been accepted.

A goal all postdocs share is to publish their work so that they can build a competitive resumé. Recently I realized that the challenges of publishing a manuscript are strikingly parallel to many of the hurdles I will face when seeking a job. A few months ago I had an article published in Genome Research (B. J. Venters and B. F. Pugh Genome Res. 19, 360–371; 2009). The process of getting this and other papers published taught me some important lessons about applying for jobs.

First, finding a journal suitable for my manuscript is analogous to finding a position for which I am qualified. In other words, I seek to publish in a journal that is most relevant to my field and has the highest readership. However, if I misjudge the suitability of a manuscript for a particular journal, then the submission may be an exercise in futility. In the same way, whether in academia or industry, it is critical that I match my skills with the right position. Publishing papers requires tenacity, and this trait extends to mounting a successful job search.

Second, manuscript peer review is much like a job interview because my work is scrutinized and a decision is made one way or another. During peer review, I want to persuade the reviewers that my work is novel and represents a significant contribution to the field. Similarly, in a job interview, my goal is to convince others that my unique blend of skills and experiences will be an asset to the university, institution or company to which I am applying. Two phrases I hope to hear in the future are, "Your manuscript has been accepted" and "You're hired".

Text from Nature magazine.

I make the last phrase my words.