Find a Faculty Mentor

Finding a Faculty Mentor

Finding a faculty mentor for your postdoctoral training can be a challenging process. There are two main routes to finding a mentor at UCLA:

  1. Applying for an open postdoctoral position
  2. Reaching out to a mentor directly about your interest

Most faculty don’t post their open positions, however, and rely on direct inquiries from prospective postdocs or networking among other scientists in the field to find new PhDs looking for positions.

Where to Find Postdoc Job Postings

There are two main websites at UCLA that mentors use to post open positions in their groups:

  1. The Postdoc Jobs Board on this site
  2. UCLA’s Academic Position RECRUIT Site

How to Identify Potential Mentors

How to Find Faculty Doing the Type of Research that Interests You

  1. One strategy is to look for faculty by disciplinary area on the Graduate Programs in Bioscience faculty page. This page is set up for prospective graduate students, but all of these faculty also have postdoctoral scholars in their laboratories.
  2. Use this PubMed trick: Since all of UCLA is within one zip code (postal code), you can use an affiliation search on “90095” to narrow a research keyword search to papers that have co-authors at UCLA.
    1. Go to PubMed advanced search
    2. Under Fields, choose “Affiliation” and type 90095 (UCLA’s zip code)
    3. Then click Add with AND
    4. Then enter keywords for your research area of interest in the search term box and click Search
    5. Any papers that emerge should include at least one UCLA collaborator. Look for anchor/last authors who are affiliated with UCLA, those should be faculty.

Reach Out to Mentors Directly

Reach out directly to faculty by email. Include your CV and expected date of graduation. Let them know why you are interested in their lab and how the work that they do meshes well with your research training goals.

Generic inquiries that are obviously sent to multiple labs are less likely to be successful than targeted requests that demonstrate an understanding of their research and approaches.

If possible, look for opportunities to meet at conferences, symposia, visiting lectures, etc.