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Postdocs Away from the Bench

The US National Institutes of Health's Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey writes at her Rock Talk blog that she has been getting a number of questions about what activities make up "official duties" for postdocs — most particularly whether they including going to or presenting at a conference. "I think everyone would agree that attending a professional meeting and presenting research results is a critical part of a postdoc's expected responsibilities," she says.

Indeed, she adds that postdocs supported by research grants can attend meetings as part of their duties. "The guidelines allow compensation for all activities that contribute to and are intimately related to the work supported by the award. … Delivering special lectures, writing reports and articles, participating in seminars, consulting with colleagues and graduate students, and attending meetings and conferences can be supported according to these guidelines," she says. Similar activities are allowed for postdocs supported by National Research Service Award stipends, Rockey adds.

The Scan

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.

Family Genetic Risk Score Linked to Diagnostic Trajectory in Psychiatric Disorders

Researchers in JAMA Psychiatry find ties between high or low family genetic risk scores and diagnostic stability or change in four major psychiatric disorders over time.

Study Questions Existence of Fetal Microbiome

A study appearing in Nature this week suggests that the reported fetal microbiome might be the result of sample contamination.

Fruit Fly Study Explores Gut Microbiome Effects on Circadian Rhythm

With gut microbiome and gene expression experiments, researchers in PNAS see signs that the microbiome contributes to circadian rhythm synchronicity and stability in fruit flies.