This is the twelfth in a series of profiles about recent NIH postdocs who have found an array of jobs, from academia to industry to communications and beyond, in the U.S. and abroad. What do they do now, and how did they get there? What challenges did they face, and what advice do they have? Read on to find out.
Name: Brian Berman
Current position: Assistant professor of neurology, University of Colorado Denver
Location: Denver, CO
Time in current position: 15 months
Clinical fellowship: Movement disorders with research focus on functional imaging with Mark Hallett at NINDS
Job search in a nutshell: This opportunity presented itself to me when I wasn’t looking. Less than a year into my fellowship, I met someone at a conference who was leaving the position I’m in now. I checked in to see if there might be an opening for me. Then it was a cascade. For some frame of reference, I started looking at other opportunities. There were a couple of other jobs I considered. One was near my wife’s hometown and one was in Florida. I also thought about whether it was a better idea to gain experience elsewhere first. I was definitely looking for an academic science position, but I was hoping to get some sort of transitional funding prior to taking one. I realized that I could potentially leave the NIH ahead of those plans, and if so I would need the right support.
A balancing act: I’m not sure UC Denver was thinking about other people [for this position], but they did start to become impatient [as the months passed]. They wanted an answer one way or the other. I was stuck waiting and working to get a contract at another institution so I could better compare the two opportunities. It was not easy. I had to delay UC Denver until I was certain about the other position. The timelines didn’t line up perfectly. When you start the interview process, you should try to have a number of possibilities that are roughly in the same course so you don’t have to wait long after an offer to hear about the others. For me, it was down to the wire.