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Destination Biochemistry Advanced Postdoctoral Scholars

The Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine contains a diverse group of scientists, trainees, and staff dedicated to understanding biological mechanisms through fundamental research. Our investigators are leaders in applying advanced approaches in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, structural biology, mass spectrometry, and chemical biology to biomedical topics including DNA and RNA metabolism, enzymology, molecular cancer biology, molecular virology, cell signaling, protein misfolding diseases, and toxicology. We bridge basic discovery with clinical application to improve human health. An exceptional group of postdoctoral fellows train in our laboratories and go on to impactful careers in academia and industry. The Destination Biochemistry Postdoctoral Scholar Awards support the very best early and advanced fellows and honor the legacy of past Biochemistry investigators.

The Advanced Postdoctoral Scholar Award will support the transition of an outstanding current postdoctoral trainee to an independent position in academia or equivalent principal investigator position. This award will strengthen the Scholar’s job application, shorten the time to independence, reward an outstanding trainee, and serve as an incentivizing tool for recruiting new postdoctoral fellows.

Applicants for the Advanced Scholar award should have outstanding records of accomplishment in their graduate and postdoctoral studies and plan to transition to an independent position within approximately one year. The award will go to a current postdoctoral fellow who plans to submit job applications this year. The award is meant to assist with the transition by providing funds to allow the postdoctoral scholar to develop a research project that they will continue as an independent investigator.

The Scholar will continue to work within their current laboratory and benefit from their mentor’s guidance. However, the mentor must confirm that the Scholar’s research can be taken with the Scholar when they transition to an independent position. The Scholar will also be expected to be listed as a corresponding or co-corresponding author on manuscripts derived from the research. By remaining within the mentor’s laboratory, the Scholar will continue to act as a resource for other lab members.


  • Currently appointed postdoctoral fellows in a primary Biochemistry faculty laboratory are eligible. Destination Biochemistry Advanced Scholars will continue to be appointed as postdoctoral fellows governed by the same rules and procedures as other postdoctoral fellows.
  • Individuals must have applied for K99 independent funding. Postdoctoral fellows with existing K99 transition awards are eligible to apply and should adjust budget requests accordingly.

Apply via Interfolio at  by annual deadline of August 1.

  • Applicants should upload a CV, a three-page description of their research plan, reprints of up to three recent publications, and a one-year budget. In addition, applicants should arrange to have three (3) letters of reference submitted via Interfolio, by the annual deadline of August 1.
  • The research plan should clearly outline the applicant’s vision for their future independent research program and explain how the transition award will be utilized to advance that vision.
  • Applicant should provide verification that they have applied for or have been granted K99 funding.
  • One reference letter must be from the current advisor. It should explain how the applicant’s proposal is different than the advisor’s research goals, confirm that the applicant will be allowed to take the project with them to an independent position, affirm that the applicant will be named as a corresponding or co-corresponding author on manuscripts derived from this award, and provide an evaluation of the candidate’s likelihood of successfully obtaining an independent position within the next year.
  • The proposed budget is only for research purposes; no equipment purchases will be allowed. Acceptable uses include salary, research supplies, core facility costs, and travel. Maximum award is $100,000 for one year.
  • Only exceptional candidates will be chosen. It is expected that, on some years, there may be no award granted if we do not identify an appropriate individual.
  • If the scholar does not obtain an independent position by the end of the one-year award period, then all costs for the fellow will revert to the primary mentor’s laboratory. This circumstance is expected to be extremely rare since it would suggest a failure in the selection process.
  • Applicants from underrepresented backgrounds are especially encouraged.
  • Questions may be emailed to or