NR IMPACT was formed to address the chasm leapt in the transition from postdoc to faculty.
The keys to the new lab don't come with the tools needed to keep the lab, and the PI, afloat...


The idea of developing a research peer group was initially conceptualized by Drs. Madak-Erdogan, Riggins, and Sikora in August 2017 at the Gordon Research Conference on Hormone-Dependent Cancers. The trio recognized that at most conferences, talks and discussion are dominated by senior faculty, while junior faculty are rarely afforded the opportunity to build visibility and to discuss new cutting-edge ideas that would most benefit from new collaboration. Additionally, time to discuss challenges in establishing and maintaining a research laboratory is rare or non-existent, leaving junior faculty to rely on "on the job training" for non-research skills needed as a Principal Investigator.

"These gaps needed a long-lasting, sustainable initiative vs. a one-time event. We saw an unmet need, and went for it." --Becca

To address this, in early 2018, Drs. Madak-Erdogan, Riggins, and Sikora had the initial discussions on developing a "think tank" meeting, focused on early- and mid-career faculty who study nuclear receptors in their many forms. This meeting would focus on discussion and development of new interdisciplinary projects and collaborations, and importantly, spend substantial time discussing career development and "science policy" challenges facing our cohort.

The "think tank" was ultimately renamed NR IMPACT, with the scientific goal of integrating a diverse group of faculty focused on nuclear receptor biology as a future foundation of the field.


Planning for an NR IMPACT conference began in earnest at the August 2019 GRC, with the recruitment of several colleagues that would become the first NR IMPACT fellows, and groundwork for an R13 conference funding application. The R13 was submitted in December 2019, and additional funding was secured to support a meeting in September 2020 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Gary Hammer, then President of the Endocrine Society, accepted an invitation to give the keynote lecture on overcoming career development hurdles facing nuclear receptor scientists.

The year 2020 had other ideas, but Drs. Madak-Erdogan, Riggins, and Sikora pivoted and took NR IMPACT to a virtual format. The inaugural NR IMPACT conference was held online on September 9th, 2020, and featured an interactive, and very powerful, keynote presentation with Dr. Hammer. The conference and keynote led the group to coalesce around collectively addressing 5 enduring hurdles facing early- and mid-career faculty in their career development, which were discussed in a meeting report published at Endocrinology.

Importantly, the virtual format also provided opportunities for far more frequent meetings and interaction than expected from ~biannual in-person meetings. In the course of developing the virtual NR IMPACT conference, Drs. Madak-Erdogan, Riggins, and Sikora built a biweekly seminar series that kicked off after the main conference, in October 2020. This seminar series featured NR IMPACT fellow research and grant presentations, and discussions on career development and networking topics, and ran through May 2021.


In 2021, NR IMPACT invited the second class of new fellows, expanding to 30 members. A second biweekly seminar series started with the new academic year in August 2021, and topics expanded to include more project development, grant review, and career development sessions e.g. developing patient advocate relationships. The tangible "outcomes" of the NR IMPACT peer network also began to bear fruit with co-authored publications, and the first funded NR IMPACT collaborative grant applications in early 2022.

"Being part of NR IMPACT reduces anxiety and loneliness as one navigates many challenges of establishing your lab and name. More often than not somebody in the group had the same experience. Why reinvent the wheel while you can use the group/peer wisdom? " --Zeynep

NR IMPACT Timeline


The 2nd NR IMPACT conference, and our first in-person meeting, held in August 2022 was a huge success! Interactions with faculty and trainees at the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute were outstanding. A major focus of IMPACT22 was collaborative project development among IMPACT members, seeding the next phase of multi-PI collaborative nuclear receptor research for this group.

"We aspire for NR IMPACT to serve as a prototype or blueprint for the development of peer mentoring networks across other disciplines." --Matt

Future plans for NR IMPACT include continued growth in the membership, focused on new PIs, as well as the development of a postdoctoral associate mentoring program, and developing allyships with senior faculty.