<figcaption> Credit: Courtesy of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center</figcaption>
Credit: Courtesy of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Things have changed a lot at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle since staff scientist Karen Peterson joined as a postdoc in 1995. Most notably, her current position as advisor to the Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPAC), a group that focuses on career development, didn't even exist. Postdocs at "the Hutch," as it's often referred to, appear happy with the changes. They've ranked the institution as the fourth best in the United States, up from tenth place last year.

It isn't news for the Hutch, which has placed in The Scientist's top 15 US list for the past five years. SPAC is one of the reasons it gets such rave reviews, says Kristin Campbell, a postdoc in cancer prevention. "They have really good programming," that includes seminars on winning jobs in academia and beyond. "I know what these postdocs are going...

Cutting-edge science and world-renowned investigators – including three Nobel laureates – also add to the Hutch's appeal. In 2006 the center received $40 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to boost its vaccine research program, and last year opened a Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute to tackle HIV, cancer and malaria. Peterson says the center's location in Seattle, with a state-of-the-art campus that was built just 14 years ago, also helps. "It feels good to come here and work everyday."

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