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MedicalPostDoc Credit: Alex Neier , Maegan Cadet

This week’s biomedical vendor show helped Penn postdocs stay on the cutting edge of medical technology.

The Biomedical Postdoctoral Council hosted its second-annual Vendor Fair and Tech Seminar on Tuesday, July 24. About 20 vendors set up booths to market their lab products, machines and new technologies. The fair, which was free to the public, aimed to fundraise for the annual postdoc symposium held at Penn in October, as well as other social events and seminars hosted by the BPC.

The companies represented at the fair sell a range of products, from small consumable lab equipment like tube trays and pipette tips, to higher-end technology, including polymerase chain reaction machines and in-vitro fertilization technology.

“Postdocs do a vast amount of ordering for a lot of their labs at Penn, so they’re able to better see what’s available,” fundraising committee chair and postdoctoral fellow Todd Waldron said. “Some of the products are made to cut the amount of time [postdocs] have to spend at the bench doing experiments.” He added that cheaper lab equipment can be found at the fair so that postdocs can save money for their labs.

More importantly, “the money that is raised during this event is used for the betterment of the postdoc community,” BPC co-chair and postdoctoral fellow Rohinton Tarapore said.

The objective of the BPC is to “make the postdoc experience as fruitful as possible,” he said. In the past, postdocs trained for two to three years before becoming a scientist or professor, but now that period has doubled to between five and 10 years. Postdocs are also pursuing fields aside from academia, such as research or venture capital firms, he said.

To enhance the experience for over 800 postdoc researchers at Penn, BPC and the Office of Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs host a variety of events, such as the annual Postdoc Research Symposium — an open event for postdocs to present their research and listen to advice from a guest speaker. At this year’s event on Oct. 9, Christine Guthrie, a leader in the field of mRNA processing from University of California, San Francisco, will give a keynote lecture.

BPC raised approximately $15,000 from last year’s vendor show. After two successes, Tarapore said BPC plans to become more ambitious by making the event biannual and holding more seminar sessions.

Attendees believed the fair was a worthwhile event.

“Lab tech moves pretty fast, so anything that can save money is good,” first-year medical student Alan Tang said, adding that the free food was another major draw for the event.

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