The Carvunis Lab was highlighted in an article for Faculty/Postdoc Relationship Best Practices in Science.

When Aaron Wacholder started his postdoc in 2018, he found himself on a seemingly endless search for ideas and approaches powerful enough to crack his scientific problem. Back then, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) evolutionary biologist says, it would have been easy to lose sight of his scientific progress and career development needs if it wasn’t for “a very helpful conversation” with his principal investigator (PI). “It really helped me pick out what exactly I had done that was significant and interesting, even though we hadn’t achieved all the goals.” This realization allowed Wacholder to develop a strong backbone for his research and future publications.

The conversation was part of a semester appraisal exercise in which Wacholder’s PI, Anne-Ruxandra Carvunis, takes her trainees for one-to-one lunches to discuss their science, professional development, mentoring relationship, and the lab in general. Carvunis instituted this practice when she became a PI 4 years ago because she felt the yearly performance assessments she went through as a postdoc were helpful but not frequent enough. “I was thinking about my career and my development way more often than once a year,” Carvunis says, adding that she got better feedback during the appraisals than during her informal chats with her advisers.

Today, her semester appraisals aim to complement Pitts’s annual Postdoctoral Career Development and Progress Assessment process for postdocs in the health sciences. The process includes devising and agreeing on a career plan with their PI at the beginning of their contract and completing yearly updates, as well as formal annual assessments to receive specific feedback from their PI on their performance and overall progress toward their career goals.

Full Article here.