The Office of Postdoctoral Services sponsors yearly awards to the Outstanding Postdoc and Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke. The Office of Postdoctoral Services also sponsors the Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development.

 

 

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Header for Postdoctoberfest Friday, October 13, 2023

The Office of Postdoctoral Services and the Duke University Postdoctoral Association (DUPA) held the 16th Annual Postdoctoberfest Celebration on Friday, October 13, 2023, to honor the university’s hard-working postdocs. Postdocs, their families, faculty, and staff enjoyed delicious Mellow Mushroom pizza, ice cold beverages, Locopops, and the music of the North Carolina Polka Time All Stars. The giant bouncy race car was a hit with the kids in attendance. Postdocs received an official Duke Postdoc t-shirt and enjoyed the warm fall weather. We gave ourselves a big round of applause in honor of our sixteenth anniversary!

Each year, the highlight of Postdoctoberfest is the presentation of awards to the Outstanding Postdoc and Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke.

Outstanding Postdoc Mentor:

The 2023 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor is Dr. Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Christopher Freel, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation, presented the award.

Outstanding Postdoc:

The 2023 Outstanding Postdoc is Dr. Géssica Barros of the Department of Biology. Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the award.

The faculty, administration, and staff of Duke University extend a hearty THANK YOU to all of our postdocs and postdoc mentors. We are proud to honor your achievements in research, mentoring, and teaching! 

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2023 Outstanding Postdoc Award winner Dr. Géssica Barros with Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science; Dr. Christopher Freel, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation; Molly Starback, Director of Duke Postdoctoral Services.

2023 Outstanding Postdoc Award winner Dr. Géssica Barros with Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science; Dr. Christopher Freel, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation; Molly Starback, Director of Duke Postdoctoral Services.

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2023 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones with Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science; Dr. Christopher Freel, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation; Molly Starback, Director of Duke Postdoctoral Services.

2023 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones with Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science; Dr. Christopher Freel, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation; Molly Starback, Director of Duke Postdoctoral Services.

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A photo of the lawn with postdocs and the bounce house.

It was a beautiful day for a postdoc gathering.

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The band is playing to the postdocs.

The North Carolina Polka Time All Stars rolled out the barrel of fun.

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The line for the pizza was long.

The line for the pizza was long. 

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Postdocs are smiling because they are getting served pizza.

 But it was worth the wait.

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Children of postdocs playing while Dr. Christopher Freel gives an award.

Dr. Chris Freel had some future postdocs dancing to his speech!

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Cheetos the cat is on his friends back.

Cheetos is curious to know, will you be back for Spring Fling in May?

Outstanding postdoc Mentor award

The Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award recognizes that a good mentor serves not only as a teacher, but as an adviser, advocate, and role model to postdocs throughout their professional training. The Outstanding Postdoc Mentor serves as a model for the entire University and helps to promote a culture of mentoring at Duke.

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2023 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones.

Dr. Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The 2023 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor is Dr. Akhenaton-Andrew Dhafir Jones, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Christopher Freel, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation, presented the award.

One of Dr Jones’ postdoc nominators writes: From the instant I became a part of the Jones research group, I was deeply impressed by Dr Jones’ passion for scientific exploration and his dedication to nurturing the professional growth of his proteges. It was this unwavering dedication that led me to choose this postdoctoral position over a more lucrative opportunity in industry. His mentorship goes far beyond the lab or the office; he has created a nurturing and inclusive environment where intellectual curiosity thrives, and each member of the team is encouraged to excel. His mentorship style is characterized by a balance between hands-on support and the freedom to explore and innovate. Under his guidance, I completed three papers, successfully authored a K99 grant proposal, and explored career and entrepreneurial opportunities aligned with my interests. He has consistently advocated for our career development, ensuring that we have the tools to succeed in academia and beyond. His guidance has not only helped us become better researchers but also better educators, collaborators, and leaders. When I disclosed my pregnancy news to him, I was met with genuine excitement and wholehearted support for both my personal journey and career aspirations, as well as my family's well-being. His understanding and flexibility during this important phase of my life reinforced my confidence in our team's collaborative spirit and its dedication to accommodating the diverse needs of its members. Furthermore, as a woman working in this field, I have seldom witnessed a male supervisor who put forth such concerted effort to champion gender equality and empower female leadership within his team and the wider academic sphere. In addition, he has also been a staunch advocate for supporting members of minority and international communities, fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where all voices are heard and valued. His mentorship has indeed been nothing short of transformative, and I consider myself exceedingly fortunate to have been granted the privilege of working under his guidance.

 
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2022 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti, Department of Biomedical Engineering

The 2022 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor is Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti, Alan L. Kaganov Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the award.

A current postdoc wrote: When I met Tosh as a graduate student, I already had a postdoc position at another university and was determined to go there. However, Tosh's energy and his willingness to listen to my thoughts persuaded me to come to Duke. He allowed me to pursue various directions based on my interests. When I applied for the K99, Tosh put huge effort into my training plan. HE REALLY CARES! That is the best thing about him as a mentor.

A former postdoc, now Associate Professor at Syracuse University, wrote: I met Tosh for the first time during a materials conference. I was a polymer chemist by training--with zero background in molecular biology and biochemistry--and yet, I was fascinated when Tosh delivered a thrilling, fast-paced presentation. I approached him after his talk and discussed my work. He was gracious with his time, and a few weeks later, there I was as a new lab member.

When I asked his opinion on what project to pursue, he simply told me to follow my passion and to learn what I needed on the project. The rest is history. In two years, I published my first Nature Chemistry paper, showing the promise of these modifications for materials science applications. A year later, I started my independent career, and in less than four years, I was promoted to associate professor with tenure. At first glance, I know that my story may not appear unique at a world-class institution such as Duke, which always has a cadre of talented postdocs with trajectories much steeper than mine. When things work out, it is easy to take the postdoc-mentor relationship for granted. It was only when I started my own lab that I realized the challenge of ensuring postdoc success while accomplishing the lab's research mission. I now have a much deeper appreciation of my freedom to pursue challenging ideas and projects in Tosh's lab. More importantly, Tosh was there to support me whenever I needed his help, whether it was a confounding experimental result or a fear of an unknown future in the wake of the infamous travel ban. He always found time in his busy schedule for us, even while chairing the largest department at Pratt School of Engineering.

A former postdoc, now Associate Professor at University of Utah, wrote: To me, Professor Chilkoti is an exceptional mentor because he exemplifies what a first-class scientist and professor should be: visionary, strategic in managing science and research team, and importantly, caring for the growth of trainees. I joined Professor Chilkoti's group with a background of immunology and protein chemistry, which was not necessarily in line with main research themes of the group. However, Professor Chilkoti recognized the importance of investigating immunological properties of biomaterials before the biomaterial research field embraced the idea. He encouraged me to conduct research on this area, which tremendously helped research programs in his lab as well as my own lab later. When I applied for the K99, Professor Chilkoti carefully reviewed my training and professional development plans. When I told him that my application scored well, he was very excited for me. I know he is truly happy for the successes of his trainees.

A former postdoc, now Distinguished Scientist at Medtronic, wrote: I was luckily hired as a postdoc by Dr. Chilkoti. Within one year, we had accomplished four papers published in different prestigious journals, including one cover story, and three US patents.  Dr. Chilkoti is the extraordinary postdoc mentor who inspires and leads his team with his clear vision disrupting, evolving multidisciplinary bio-interface science and technology. The professional training I received from Dr. Chilkoti was the cornerstone of my own career.

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2019 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke Dr. Terrie Moffitt

Dr. Terrie Moffitt, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

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2019 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke Dr. Avshalom Caspi

Dr. Avshalom Caspi, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

The 2019 Outstanding Postdoc Mentors are Drs. Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi from the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. Drs. Moffitt and Caspi were unable to attend, so Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the award to two of their postdoctoral mentees, Drs. Leah Richmond-Rakerd and Jasmin Wertz.

A former postdoc in the lab, now an Assistant Professor, writes: Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi, or Temi and Av as their colleagues and friends know them, are not only outstanding postdoc mentors at Duke, they are likely the best postdoc mentors anywhere. They run a big team, and at any given moment they have several postdoc mentees. Still, Temi and Av blocked two full hours every week to meet with me (and every other one of their postdocs) to review projects, critique writing, and plan career steps. I learned how to conduct rigorous research, how to think about analysis and data presentation, and became a much better writer. Even better, their kindness and affection makes one feel at home. They invite us all to celebrate holidays with them, and they remember to celebrate the big and small events in work and in life for all of us in the lab. Temi and Av were not only the best postdoc mentors I could wish for professionally, they also became my family away from home.

Another postdoc, now Assistant Professor, writes: Moffitt and Caspi are exceptionally generous mentors. They invest extraordinary time in their people. And they provide a model of how a senior academic can remain deeply engaged in day to day research and have fun doing it. They cultivate a research Eden in their lab.

Another postdoc, now Assistant Professor, writes: The training and support I received from Temi and Av did not end with my postdoc. After leaving the nest, Temi and Av continued their mentoring, under their policy of “trainee for life.” I regularly call on them with questions about projects, papers, funding, tenure and promotion. One additional and very meaningful component of their mentorship is they model and encourage work-life balance for their trainees. I had two young children under the age of 5 when I was a postdoc for Temi and Av. They made my career as a mother and a scientist seamless and easy. I won the lottery by getting the opportunity to work with Temi and Av.

A current postdoc writes: In addition to facilitating their postdocs’ research development, Temi and Av emphasize the importance of work-life balance. I had my first child halfway through my postdoc, and I was blown away by Temi and Av’s incredible support, including regular supportive messages, a lovely baby shower, and a huge amount of openness and flexibility when it came to fitting work around my family commitments (e.g., I was more than welcome to attend meetings with baby in tow). Professors Moffitt and Caspi are invested in their postdoc’s personal wellbeing, and it shows in their behavior.

Another current postdoc writes: Temi and Av have fostered many successful researchers, and I feel so incredibly lucky to work with them – of course, because this is a unique opportunity to work with such distinguished researchers, but mostly because getting to know Temi and Av has been such a fun experience!  They constantly support us in all aspects of research and career development, while still making sure we have fun every step of the way. I honestly cannot think of a better place in the whole wide world to do my postdoc.

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22018 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke Dr. Seok-Yong Lee.

Dr. Seok-Yong Lee, Department of Biochemistry

Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Sciences, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc Mentor to Dr. Seok-Yong Lee from the Department of Biochemistry.

A postdoc in the Lee lab writes: "Dr. Seok-Yong Lee is a uniquely devoted, assiduous, and supportive mentor. Over the course of a four-year postdoctoral tenure in his laboratory, I have become a more capable, confident, inquisitive, and impassioned scientist, both by following his example and by responding to his guidance and constructive criticisms.  His steadfast approach to science has been an incredible inspiration to me; he has encouraged me to tackle challenging scientific problems and to use the most rigorous and thorough methods of addressing them. He has also taught me the power of patience and diligence in the face of a scientific challenge. For example, in my second year as a postdoctoral fellow, we submitted our work to Nature and it was fortunately sent out for review. The referees provided very positive feedback on all aspects of the work, except for a major enzymatic assay we employed in the study. They suggested that our paper should be rejected on the grounds of this critique. However, the editor gave us the opportunity to repeat this portion of the work using another technique if we so desired. Feeling very dejected at the prospect of redoing a year’s worth of experiments, I suggested to Dr. Lee that we pull the paper from consideration in Nature and instead submit it elsewhere, perhaps to a lower impact journal. He understood my frustration, but encouraged me to brainstorm alternative techniques we could use to repeat the work in a timely manner. He saw that this roadblock actually offered us a great opportunity: most scientists working in the field were using a low-throughput and resource-intensive assay to interrogate enzyme activity, while we presented a more efficient alternative. If we could demonstrate to the referees that both techniques yielded similar results, we had an opportunity to advance the field more broadly and to thereby encourage more publication in this area. We jointly devised a strategy. I performed some key experiments using both techniques in addition to a third orthogonal biophysical method, all of which yielded consistent results. These data unequivocally demonstrated to the referees that both techniques were valid. We were able to publish our work in Nature, which was the most appropriate venue for our findings, as they influenced the direction of the field, both in a conceptual and technical sense. Dr. Lee’s focused attitude toward scientific inquiry and sense of integrity has influenced me on a personal level as well. Dr. Lee has been incredibly supportive, kind-hearted, and understanding during difficult times in my life. He of course gave me the time, space, and resources I needed to get back on my feet. But he also encouraged me to see science as a kind of escape during personal struggles. He helped me understand that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a source of fascination and joy, which can be transcendent in times of difficulty. I am very thankful to have worked with Dr. Lee, from both a scientific and personal perspective, and I whole-heartedly endorse him as outstanding postdoctoral mentor."

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2017 Outstanding Postdoc Mentors at Duke  Dr. John Aldrich

Dr. John Aldrich, Department of Political Science

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2017 Outstanding Postdoc Mentors at Duke Dr. David Rohde

Dr. David Rohde, Department of Political Science

Dr. Raphael Valdivia, Vice Dean for Basic Sciences, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc Mentor to Dr. John Aldrich and Dr. David Rohde. Dr. Aldrich is the Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science. Dr. Rohde is the Ernestine Friedl Professor of Political Science. For the past 15 years, John and Dave have jointly run the "Political Institutions and Public Choice" (PIPC) lab, in which they bring together postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, high school students, and faculty. Drs Aldrich and Rohde were nominated by numerous current and former members of the PIPC lab, and by the Chair of the department. Dr Georg Vanberg, Chair of Political Science, wrote: "One aspect that consistently impresses me about Dave and John is the tremendous effort, care, and time they put into mentoring their postdocs. John and Dave are generous in sharing their intellectual gifts, expertise, and time with their postdocs to improve their work, and to embed them in networks that will be critical to their academic success. This is truly selfless work, not rewarded by any publication on their vita. Like many disciplines, political science suffers from an underrepresentation of women in faculty ranks, and -- unfortunately -- many women experience a lack of mentorship during their graduate school careers. Dave and John have focused on this issue, and have been very active in providing postdoctoral opportunities and outstanding mentoring to junior women in our field."

A current postdoc wrote: "Dave and John believe that the laboratory-team model of research and teaching, prevalent in the natural sciences and rarer in the social sciences, is a valuable and effective model for training students in political science. Individually, Dave and John are exceptional mentors. Dave takes obvious joy in mentoring students and scholars. His door is always open and I consistently walk out of his office with greater clarity of thought than when I entered it. John is unfailingly committed to his students’ personal and professional success. More than once, he’s told me that his favorite part of his job is mentoring PhD students and postdocs. I have learned more in the space of a single conversation with John, than I have over semester-long courses. For me, being a postdoc in the social sciences could have been, as it is for many people, an isolating experience. Because of Dave and John, my experience has been anything but isolating. John and Dave have provided support and encouragement beyond what I imagined possible when I accepted this position. I am overjoyed to acknowledge all the good Dave and John have done for me and their other postdocs."

A former postdoc, now Assistant Professor, wrote: "As a postdoc, it’s hard to imagine a better environment to work in than PIPC. Individually, the position gave me crucial time to work on my research, but the space itself also created a vibrant environment for curious researchers to come together. John and Dave have been incredible mentors to me and many others. One reason is they lead by example. They show you, rather than tell you, academic lessons and life lessons. I am so grateful for their continued encouragement and support."

Another former postdoc, now Assistant Professor, wrote: "The names John Aldrich and Dave Rohde are recognized throughout the discipline for the enormous impact they have had on the study of American politics. What may be less appreciated is their deep commitment to the development of postdocs. Their kindness, generosity, and patience helped me (and countless others) to become the scholar I am today. They always made time to meet with me, and always offered sage advice. The PIPC program is an open, welcoming environment for fostering scholars. While John and Dave’s scholarly accomplishments are awe inspiring, they pale in comparison to their kindness and generosity. I am profoundly thankful for these years of mentorship and friendship."

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2016 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Jerry Reiter Department of Statistical Science.

Dr. Jerry Reiter, Department of Statistical Science

Dr. Raphael Valdivia, Vice Dean for Basic Sciences, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc Mentor to Dr. Jerry Reiter, Professor of Statistical Science, Principal Investigator of the Triangle Census Research Network, and Deputy Director of the Information Initiative at Duke. Dr. Reiter was nominated by numerous current and former lab members.

A current postdoc wrote: "Jerry has been a wonderful mentor to me. When I first arrived as a postdoc, he frequently made suggestions on areas he thought could be worth exploring, but he also very much encouraged me to find my own way and pursue my own interests. At first, this was a bit hard - in some ways I just wanted someone to tell me what to work on.  Now, 2 years later, I am very grateful to Jerry for giving me the freedom to explore, always with my best interests at heart. I now feel confident in my own ability to discover research topics and see them through, skills that are necessary in academia or as a principal investigator in any field."

Another postdoc wrote: "One of Jerry's best qualities as a mentor is that he always makes decisions that are in the best interest of his students and postdocs. He always makes time to meet and always gives opportunities to make ourselves a place in the scientific community.  Lastly, Jerry is a great example of work-life balance, and he encourages us to find our own balance as well.  He is a devoted husband and father, with two young children who he adores, and he plays a very active role in their lives.  This is encouraging to see, because as a woman in science who wants to have children, I have often felt skeptical of my ability to have a family, my own hobbies, and a successful academic career.  Jerry has shown me that this is not only possible, but it can be a rewarding way to live your life."

A former postdoc, now professor, wrote: "I was a postdoc supervised by Jerry and have just become an assistant professor.  My years at Duke are full of thankful memories because of my mentor, Jerry Reiter.  As a successful researcher, he was willing to pass down all his knowledge to postdocs.  He taught me not only research, teaching and writing skills, but also his passion to change the world into a better place.  I want to express my special thanks to Jerry for giving me guidance for personal life matters. Unlike other "very productive" researchers, he emphasizes the importance of family and work/life balance.  Like other postdocs, I spent a large amount of time on research, but I also could manage my own schedule and spend meaningful time with my family. Jerry trusts his postdocs, and that trust builds a strong bond."

Another postdoc wrote: "Professor Reiter is one of the most important researchers in the statistics field - his work speaks for itself.  So I'd rather focus on my experiences with him as a mentor.  In my opinion, an ideal mentor is someone who is willing to advise his pupils about academic life with total honesty, sharing all the knowledge he has acquired through years of experience.  Professor Reiter is, by far, the mentor who has been closer to this ideal definition.  He is always willing to work with his pupils, side by side. Some mentors get disappointed if a postdoc decides to work in industry instead of academia.  Jerry is supportive of any decision postdocs might make and provides support no matter which direction you take.  His understanding and respect for differences have not only helped me personally but also makes interdisciplinary work possible.  Finally, he is a role model as a mentor. He has taught me that it is possible to obtain very good results without being mean and unfriendly.  He comes to work with a smile every day and makes the life of a postdoc easier and happier."

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2015 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Philip Benfey Department of Biology.

2015 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Philip Benfey
Department of Biology

Dr Lawrence Carin, Vice Provost for Research, presented the 2015 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award to Dr. Philip Benfey. Dr. Benfey is the Paul Kramer Professor of Biology and director of the Duke Center for Systems Biology.  He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Dr Benfey was nominated by numerous current and former lab members. 

One of Dr. Benfey's postdocs wrote: "Philip Benfey is the epitome of an outstanding postdoc mentor. Despite leading an incredibly busy life, Philip is always available to his lab.  He is patient and understanding about issues big and small, and never diminishes the concerns of his postdocs.  As both an academic and biotech business founder, Philip is uniquely situated to mentor different scientific career paths.  He creates an environment which rewards creativity and team work while developing the next generation of leaders."

Another postdoc wrote: "Philip is highly supportive of both our scientific and personal lives.  He is unique in that he does not care what one does after leaving, just that you are successful, and success does not just mean being a professor, it can also mean going to industry.  He realizes this is part of a journey and his job is to make the best scientist and person out of each of us.  My wife and I agree that Philip doesn't really walk - he kind of floats a few feet above the ground."

A former postdoc, now professor, wrote: "In our field Philip has probably produced more professors and industry professionals worldwide than any other PI.  Furthermore he has managed to foster a supportive, warm, family-friendly environment that is extremely supportive of women in science.  I was considering leaving science before I started my postdoc, but joining the Benfey lab changed my life.  I published well, I was exposed to a wide variety of disciplines and ways of thinking, and I was treated by Philip as an equal and as a colleague.  As a postdoc and even still now as a faculty member, if I have a question he will email me back immediately.  His legacy lives on in the large number of postdocs he trained who are now among the next generation of leaders in plant biology and systems biology."

Another former postdoc, now professor, wrote: "Philip gives postdocs the freedom to develop their own projects and treats every member of the lab with equal respect and courtesy. His fairness creates a sense of collaboration and community in the lab, and inhibits competition.  I am currently an Assistant Professor, and I try to emulate this as head of my own lab.  I conducted my graduate studies in a small lab, so when I joined the Benfey lab I struggled to find my place in such a large, fast paced environment. Philip never doubted me and always had confidence in my abilities. That trust and support has been invaluable to me, and it is one of the reasons I had the courage to apply for and accept a faculty position at a large research institution. I would not be where I am today if not for my experience in the Benfey lab, not only because of the scientific acumen I gained from working with him, but also because of rich network of friends and colleagues his lab fosters."


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2014 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke Dr. Mohamed Noor.

2014 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Mohamed Noor
Earl D. McLean Professor and Chair
Department of Biology

Dr. Lawrence Carin, Vice Provost for Research, presented the 2014 award for Outstanding Postdoc Mentor to Dr. Mohamed Noor, Earl D. McLean Professor and Chair of the Duke Department of Biology. Dr. Noor was elected president of the Society for the Study of Evolution and the American Genetic Association, and was awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal in 2008.  He has received numerous teaching and mentoring awards, including most recently the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award.  He unfailingly provides support and encouragement, not only to graduate students and postdocs, but to the offices that work with these populations, including the Office of Postdoctoral Services and Graduate Student Affairs. Importantly, Dr. Noor actively supports postdocs who wish to pursue non-academic careers as well as those following the traditional academic route.

Dr Noor was nominated by numerous current and former lab members.  A former postdoc, now professor, wrote, "Mohamed was an amazing postdoctoral advisor.  His spirit and enthusiasm is unrivaled and his dedication to his mentees is truly amazing.  He is extremely busy with service, teaching, and research, but his postdocs would never know it because he is nearly always accessible.  This communicated to me, and to everyone else, that he values and respects us, and that is one of the best gifts an advisor can provide.  Mohamed is not just one of the most amazing postdoctoral advisors, he is probably the most amazing person I have had the privilege of knowing."

Another former postdoc wrote, "Mohamed was extremely supportive during my postdoc years.  Not only did he encourage (and expect) me to think independently and develop my own research, he actively mentored me on aspects related to running a lab (like balancing a budget) to prepare me for the job.  When I was on the job market, Mohamed wrote me wonderful letters of support, and forwarded them on to me. I re-read those letters to boost my spirits whenever I'm feeling discouraged.  But the mentoring didn't stop after I received a job.  Mohamed continues to be an amazing mentor. I cannot think of a person more deserving of this award."


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2013 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Warren Grill.

2013 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Warren Grill
Addy Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Mark Dewhirst, Associate Dean for Faculty Mentoring, presented the award for the 2013 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor to Dr. Warren Grill from the Department of Biomedical Engineering. A postdoc wrote, "Dr. Grill consistently encourages his postdocs. At every small victory along the way in my research, Dr. Grill made time to stop and tell me 'Great work!', 'Excellent job!', or some other encouraging word. Dr. Grill writes us 'thank you' cards expressing his appreciation for our efforts and the contributions we make to our team’s success throughout the year."

Another postdoc said, "I have always been amazed with Warren's ability to balance things. He balances giving direction without being a micromanager. He balances his time so he is available to all his students and postdocs with being an excellent teacher, and continually winning grants. And he balances being an excellent mentor and friend. There is no better candidate for Outstanding Postdoc Mentor than Warren Grill."


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2012 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Adam Wax.

2012 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Adam Wax 
Theodore Kennedy Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering

A former postdoc of Dr. Wax wrote, "Adam respects and trusts his group members and creates space for them to be their own boss, yet he cares about their development and knows the perfect timing to step in to guide and help. He is easily available almost all the time, and would regularly spend time in the lab talking with me and other members about ideas and experiments. He is never a micromanager, yet he made great efforts to keep himself up-to-date on our progresses, needs, and even small technical details, just so he could share his thoughts with us and be a great resource.

"In addition to helping me progress in knowledge and skills, Adam always encouraged me to build network. He introduced me to every visitor to the lab so I could interact with them. He encouraged me to attend a wide variety of conferences just to network with people. In 2011 and 2012, I presented results of my independent research at major conferences in the field with full support from Adam. This is the kind of crucial support a postdoc mentee needs the most to prepare for an independent career."


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2011 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Richard Mooney.

2011 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Richard Mooney 
George Barth Geller Professor
Department of Neurobiology

Dr. Mooney has risen above exceptionally sad and stressful circumstances: the untimely death of his own close friend and colleague, Dr. Larry Katz, in 2005. One of Dr. Mooney's postdocs wrote: "Larry ran a superb and vibrant lab in the Department of Neurobiology. When he passed, Rich immediately began to advocate for Larry’s students, taking one graduate student and two postdocs into his lab. This almost doubled the size of his lab and brought with it the responsibility of becoming an expert in a new field so that he could advise these new trainees on the projects that they brought with them. Rich was able to expertly shepherd these students through this stressful period, and all three got excellent academic positions....The fact that he took on such an enormous responsibility without compromising his support, enthusiasm and attention to other students and postdocs in the lab is truly remarkable. Rich stands as a model to the Duke community and I am proud to have him as a mentor, colleague and good friend."

Another of his postdocs wrote: "Rich thinks the world of his lab members, including his postdocs, and he is intensely devoted to their development as outstanding, successfully, and happy independent scientists. I can attest that every single postdoc I have seen come through Rich’s lab during the last five years has gone on to attain a successful position in research. Rich has recruited a number of postdocs to his lab over the years, and it is a testament to his dedication as a mentor that all of these people are successfully working in the field that they love. This fact sets Rich apart from many other postdoc mentors: although he very much wants all of his postdocs to continue in science, he also is supportive of whatever career choice meets your personal definition of success and fulfillment. Rich’s example as a mentor to his postdocs will continue to shape my development as a scientist and, eventually, as a mentor to my own lab."


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2010 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Thomas Petes

2010 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Thomas Petes
Minnie Geller Professor
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Dr Petes was nominated by several of his current and former lab members. One of his postdocs wrote: “Dr. Thomas Petes is not only a brilliant scientist, he is very willing to share his expertise with the post-docs and students around him. He has an open-door policy and will always make time for anyone who has a question, and will patiently discuss the issue until it’s resolved. He truly cares about helping everyone understand the research and why they are doing what they are doing. It is rare to find successful, driven, motivated scientists who are also caring mentors. I feel extremely grateful to have Dr. Petes as my post-doc advisor. I would not have been successful without his care and guidance!”

A former postdoc wrote: “Tom's mentorship of postdocs and graduate students is outstanding, and he has a long record of trainees with successful research careers. His enthusiasm and joy in what he does spills over into the entire lab group, keeping everyone motivated. When I was ready to leave the lab for my own independent faculty position, Tom was extremely generous with letting me develop a research program based on ideas that grew out of research in his lab. Tom is truly an exceptional mentor and a friend.” The faculty, administration, and staff of Duke University extend a hearty THANK YOU to all of our postdocs. We are proud to honor your achievements in research, mentoring, and teaching!


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2009 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Deborah Gold

2009 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Deborah Gold 
Associate Professor of Medical Sociology 
Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Sociology, and Psychology

Dr Gold was nominated by a group of her current and former postdocs. The nominations were uniformly enthusiastic and heartfelt, and all of her postdocs attended to cheer Dr Gold on as she accepted her award! Dr Gold's nominations read, in small part: "Dr. Gold encourages us, by example, to see beyond the boundaries of our various fields, and teaches us how to interact with researchers from other disciplines. She is unflagging in her recognition that work/life balance is crucial to maintaining one's quality of life in an academic setting. Her generosity of spirit and her enthusiasm for scholarship and human capacity building are assets to Duke's community of scholars. She always takes the time to recognize our accomplishments, no matter how small they seem to us. And she never misses an opportunity to market us and our potential within and beyond the walls of Duke. Being an exceptional mentor to one postdoc is a feat; being an exceptional mentor to as many as a dozen at one time is a marvel!"


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2008 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Emily Bernhardt

2008 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Emily Bernhardt
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

In her short time at Duke, Emily has served as mentor for four postdocs. They praised her for: "going out of her way to help us develop as scientists, challenging us to describe the larger significance of our research, and always emphasizing the importance of making our work relevant to science and society, which increases the chances of our manuscripts getting published in high-profile journals." Dr Bernhardt was also praised for her support for women in science and her commitment to increasing the numbers of minorities in ecology.


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2007 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Dr. Joseph Nevins

2007 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Joseph Nevins 
Director, Center for Applied Genomics & Technology
Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy

Dr. Nevins was praised not only for his research successes, but for “having an open door policy, always making himself available on Saturdays, repeatedly helping to polish talks, tirelessly revising manuscripts, encouraging presentations at meetings, shielding postdocs from bureaucratic issues, and providing frantic rides to the airport in his sweet sports car.” Over 27 years, Dr Nevins has mentored over 60 postdocs, and virtually all have gone on to research positions at leading companies and universities including Tufts, Penn, Vanderbilt, and Merck. In an interdisciplinary center like IGSP, the variety of backgrounds and future career trajectories are endless, and Dr Nevins has worked carefully with each of his postdocs to prepare them for their unique careers.


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2006 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke Dr. Farsh Guilak

2006 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor at Duke

Dr. Farsh Guilak 
Director, Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory
Department of Surgery

Dr. Guilak's nominators praised him as someone who mentors by example as a lab leader, a scientist, and a father. Dr. Guilak manages a lab of 28 students, postdocs, and staff, is the Editor in Chief of a major journal, serves as the PI for numerous grants, and is in the midst of developing a start-up company. Despite these responsibilities, he has steadfastly supported, challenged, and encouraged his postdocs as they develop their own research paths. He meets with his postdocs regularly and provides annual reviews of their individual development plans, provides grant application recommendations and support (all five of his postdocs have their own funding), and he has an open-door policy that allows for frequent advice and discussion.

Outstanding Postdoc Award

The Outstanding Postdoc Award recognizes that postdocs are crucial to the research mission of Duke. This award honors those postdocs who are not only skilled researchers, but who serve as advisers, advocates and role models for other postdocs and students.

 

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2023 Outstanding Postdoc Award winner Dr. Géssica Barros.

Dr. Géssica Barros, Department of Biology

Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc to Dr. Géssica Barros from the Department of Biology.

Dr. Barros’ faculty mentor, Dr Gustavo Silva, writes: Dr. Barros is a scientific leader in my lab, an amazing mentor and teacher for our undergraduate students, and a wonderful colleague and role model for our graduate students and postdocs. With her strong work ethic, Dr. Barros rapidly became a leader, developed many new tools and brought new techniques to the lab. Her scientific efforts led to a first-author paper that has been recently accepted in Cell Reports. Her data and efforts allowed me to successfully secure funds to purchase a new flow cytometer that is now massively used by our lab members. Finally, her results are also serving as the foundation for two new research grants, one recently awarded and one under review at the NSF. In addition to being an amazing scientist, Dr. Barros naturally became the lab mentor for three undergraduate students. Dr. Barros is an amazing teacher and her patience and thoughtfulness fully support our students on their learning and scientific journey. Dr. Barros is not just an outstanding mentor for undergraduate researchers, but she is also a role model for my graduate students. Her professionalism, warmth, and presence are felt in the laboratory, as she consistently creates space to support, train, and welcome our new members. Finally, Dr. Barros has also supported many members of our department, whether they were in need for a better protocol for western blots, or to use our equipment. Her dependability and reliability have made her an amazing ambassador in the department. In sum, Dr. Barros has elevated the science of my laboratory.

A former undergraduate mentee writes: As a scientist, Géssica goes above and beyond what is required of her, constantly asking new questions. As a mentor, Géssica strives for the success of her mentees. From reading over my final senior thesis draft at 10 pm to answering every “why” question I have in lab, Géssica has always been someone I can rely on. Not only is she an extremely knowledgeable and creative scientist, she is also always willing to help, always willing to learn and always willing to teach. She serves as an exceptional role model to me, the members of our lab, and all future scientists.

A graduate student writes: Gessica has positively impacted our laboratory, both scientifically and socially.  She is fearless in taking our lab in new directions. She carries out her work to the highest standard of rigor when no one is looking. She also cares deeply for the wellbeing of her fellow lab mates, and has contributed to a more positive lab culture since she arrived. Gessica has gone above and beyond in her role as a postdoc, helping me improve not only as a scientist but as a person.

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2022 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke Dr. Catherine Denning-Jannace Department of Chemistry.

Dr. Catherine Denning-Jannace, Department of Chemistry

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2022 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke Dr. Carla Wall Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Carla Wall, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

In 2022, we are delighted to honor not one, but two, Outstanding Postdocs: Dr. Catherine Denning-Jannace of the Dept of Chemistry and Dr. Carla Wall of the Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Both Dr. Denning-Jannace and Dr. Wall were nominated by numerous current and former research group members and their faculty mentors. 

Dr. Jennifer Lodge, Vice President for Research and Innovation, presented the awards for Outstanding Postdoc to Drs. Denning-Jannace and Wall. 

Dr. Catherine Denning-Jannace

Dr. Denning-Janace’s faculty mentor, Dr. Katherine Franz, wrote: Catherine joined my laboratory in February 2020. What impressed me most was her desire to stretch fearlessly into a new research area. She was interested in applying her biophysical mindset to questions about how cellular metals influence biological regulatory events, which would require that she learn new skillsets. Given the timing of her arrival at Duke just one month before coronavirus laboratory shutdowns, the opportunity to gather preliminary data for her project was seriously curtailed. During that time, she showed impressive adaptability, resilience, and fearlessness to try new things. In the work-from-home phase, she dug into a large dataset generated by a former group member but not yet fully analyzed. She very quickly learned the new software required to analyze this incredibly rich dataset. When her analysis is completed, we will have an unprecedented look at the whole proteome level, of how expression of metalloproteins in C. albicans changes as a function of time and drug exposure.

The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic of course are far from over. The negative impact on women with care-giving roles is glaring. As a mother of twin toddlers, Catherine has persevered amid the daunting realities of day-care closures, Covid scares, and constantly shifting work schedules. Not only does she adapt and persevere, she provides strength and motivation to others.

Catherine’s leadership ability and commitment to inclusion is always evident. She is a phenomenal mentor to coworkers and younger students in the lab. I have seen her go out of her way to help graduate and undergraduate students work through challenges, both experimental and personal. In the broader departmental community, she stepped up to be a member of our Duke Chemistry Diversity, Inclusion and Community committee. Catherine’s voice within that committee is helping shape a positive and inclusive climate in the department.

A graduate student wrote: Catherine is incredibly hard working and an exceptional scientist. Catherine acts as a mentor and friend to all 10 graduate students here in lab. As a senior graduate student, I have found Catherine to be an invaluable part of my PhD journey. She is always willing to help you talk through experimental design, read through a paper draft, give general life advice, or just let you vent about dissertation writing.

Catherine is an inspiration to us all with the way she manages her research and her home life as a mother of 3-year-old twin boys. Despite having her own responsibilities as a mother, a scientist, and as an advocate for women in STEM, Catherine never fails to find time for all of us. Whenever I need guidance or support, she is there. I cannot wait to see what she will achieve in her independent career and am thankful to her for all of the support and friendship over the past three years.

An undergraduate student wroteCatherine is an outstanding lab mentor who went above and beyond in training me. She is one of the busiest people I have met yet constantly seeks to mentor others. My first project was not under Catherine’s supervision, and I struggled greatly. Catherine realized that I was struggling and entirely of her own accord, designed a small research project that fit my skills. I made more progress in those first two weeks working with Catherine than I had in my entire previous year in lab. Under Catherine’s mentorship I was finally able to reach a point where I felt proud of my research and confident enough to continue in science after graduation. I am now a post-baccalaureate researcher at the National Cancer Institute, and the skills that Catherine taught me have given me a strong start.

Dr. Carla Wall

Dr. Wall’s mentor, Dr Jill Howard, wroteDr. Carla Wall is a shining star in our lab. Having barely been in her current role for a year, she is already making a significant impact through her research, service and mentoring. She is leading or co-leading a number of research products and also serves as a research clinician on multiple large studies. Though her research is impressive, where she truly excels is in her service and mentoring. She has notably been identified by more junior colleagues as an advocate, mentor, and role model. Carla co-leads the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development’s Task Force for Racial Equity, which strives to dismantle systemic racism. Carla also serves as a member of the Professional Development Subcommittee of this task force, and has participated as a mentor on multiple initiatives to promote the future success of underrepresented minorities. She exudes a passion for elevating others, and in particular has been an important advocate for BIPOC colleagues. Carla is a committed clinical scientist with a big heart for service, and is one of the kindest, most personable individuals you could have the pleasure of meeting.  She is wholeheartedly deserving of this year’s Outstanding Postdoc award, and will clearly continue to make a positive impact at Duke.

A graduate student wroteCarla is continually dedicated to not only clinical research, but to the staff. She is always willing to be part of the team and lend a hand for anyone in need. We work with children with autism, which often requires the ability to adapt and accommodate individual needs, which Carla seamlessly navigates. In addition to her research role, Carla is always willing to mentor and train others. Carla has been a resource for me as I navigate the same process she went through as a doctoral student. She truly embodies being an outstanding postdoc!

A staff member wroteCarla’s strength, empathy, commitment to justice, equity and inclusion, and her passion for supporting all of those with whom she works are palpable in all that she does. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Carla through our research studies as well as co-leaders for the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development Task Force for Racial Equity. She is a strong advocate for colleagues and deeply sensitive to issues of fairness, equality, and justice. She is a strong leader, gives helpful feedback with kindness, always is willing to receive feedback and incredibly approachable and also humble. She thinks about how our activities and research impact people of color and minorities. It is wonderful to have her on our research team and I’m grateful that she is in this field because we need more leaders like her.

Another staff member wroteCarla’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is beyond the bare minimum. Carla has been an amazing support system for me and our team of multicultural employees. She has been a leader, allowing room for vulnerability, room for tears with her “just come to my office and close the door” stance, encouraging care and perseverance for our ideas, and reminding us that we have the power to find solutions through advocacy for ourselves. Simultaneously, Carla has advocated for us individually. It shows her character and dedication to bettering the human experience, not just her own, and she really deserves some recognition for that attribute. We need her in this field.

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2019 Outstanding Postdoc Adrian Oliver

Dr. Adrian Oliver, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Oliver’s PI, Dr Charles Gersbach, writes: Adrian has been a postdoctoral associate in my laboratory since 2015 and has proven to be an absolutely fantastic scientist with a tremendous work ethic and exceptional professionalism. She has made great progress in the area of engineering new technologies for gene therapy that are certain to be of value for the field, and has brought recognition to Duke through her work in multiple ways.  Adrian’s first project in my lab aimed to explore the diversity of CRISPR systems in nature as genome engineering tools in human cells. This work is now in press at Nature Biotechnology.  She has mentored two undergraduates, both of whom are co-authors on her Nature Biotechnology paper. They were both so inspired by their experience with Adrian that they chose to go to PhD programs in biomedical research.  Adrian is on a perfect path to establishing an impactful independent research program in gene and cell therapy, and has the ideal skill set to do so.

A lab member writes: I’d say Adrian is one of the rock stars in the lab. She is one of the most driven, energetic and passionate scientists I have ever met. She is constantly thinking of new experiments and encouraging me to come up with my own ideas. She truly loves the research that she does, and her excitement about new ideas and projects is palpable; it makes me excited to come to work every day. I am so grateful to work alongside her.

A grad student in the lab writes: Adrian was assigned to be one of my postdoc mentors, and she went above and beyond to help me get acclimated to the lab. She took it on herself to teach me all the fundamental skills I needed to get my project started. She also was key in the intellectual planning of my project, spending multiple hours to help me think through each and every detail. She also advocated for me to be a part of her project and got me on her paper within my first year of being in the lab. There's no doubt in my mind that Adrian would make a fantastic PI herself, because she truly looks out for the needs and success of the people she mentors.

A former postdoc, now Assistant Professor, writes: Two characteristics highlight why Adrian is a good candidate for this award: her tenacity during her research and her dedication to mentorship. Adrian was among the first to harness CRISPR systems of a special type, the subject of her recently accepted Nature Biotechnology paper. This work is impressive, but it started with a small blip on a graph. When the initial result was unimpressive, most people would have walked away from the project. Adrian instead set out to optimize every aspect and eventually developed a technology that can increase gene activation over 100-fold, resulting in a manuscript in one of our field’s top journals. She did this impressive work while mentoring two Duke Undergraduate students. She was a fierce advocate for both of them, and motivated them so that they were some of the most productive undergraduates I’ve ever seen. Adrian truly deserves this award.

A former student writes: I worked for Adrian as an undergraduate at Duke for two and a half years. Adrian was a joy to work for and her mentoring style set me up for a successful transition into graduate school. I learned a great deal from her strong work ethic and high standards for scientific rigor. In addition to research, she always helped me with my next career step. When I was thinking about going into industry, she connected me with people who could share their experiences. When I finally decided on graduate school, she helped me understand the application process and guided me through the pros and cons of each school. Adrian is an Outstanding Postdoc because she embodies the characteristics of an outstanding mentor and teacher.

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2018 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke Dr. Sarah Longo Department of Biology

Dr. Sarah Longo, Department of Biology

Dr. Colin Duckett, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc to Dr. Sarah Longo from the Department of Biology.

Dr. Longo's PI, Dr. Sheila Patek, wrote: "One year ago, Sarah joined my lab as a postdoc on a Department of Defense, Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant.  Being a postdoc on this grant is an unusual and, for most postdocs, a somewhat terrifying experience.  This team effort spans seven labs and innumerable areas including biology, engineering, polymer sciences and physics.  Sarah came from a 100% biology laboratory, never having worked on a cross-disciplinary team, and was dropped right into this hot-bed of technical and cross-disciplinary interactions.  Within weeks of her arrival, it became clear that Sarah is a rare talent, not only as a gifted scientist, but as someone who joyfully engages with the discomfort of working across disciplines.  A mere few weeks into her job, she arrived with a calm and curious attitude, and immediately meshed with one of the key attributes of the team, which is to have a small ego and a willingness to be totally out of one’s comfort zone.  She can handle intense interdisciplinary exchanges, and, perhaps most importantly, members of the team immediately gravitated toward her insightful questions and curiosity. Sarah has developed a novel and exciting postdoctoral research project that involves real-time analysis of elastic energy release and measurements of the power density of biological systems, such as trap-jaw ants and snapping shrimp.  Just in the span of the year, she has developed a new system that is likely to yield a series of high-profile papers.  In all of the postdoctoral researchers in my lab to date, I have never had someone take such a deep dive into a topic, work tirelessly across disciplines, and emerge, in the span of just one year, with a new system, new insights, and ultimately a research program that will ground her own lab when she eventually starts her faculty career. There has been another remarkable aspect to Sarah’s arrival in the lab – her effect on my lab members.  She has been transformative for the people in my lab.  She is curious about their projects, looks at details, and then dives in to help – whether with R coding, mathematical analyses of motion, or experimental rigs.  She has such a delightful way of combining curiosity with rigor that the whole lab has been energized and excited.  Sarah is a truly superlative postdoc."

A lab member writes: "As a recent undergraduate at my first job, I felt unqualified and awkward around the older students in our lab. However, as soon as Sarah started working with us, the whole dynamic changed. Sarah's easygoing nature, joyfulness, and ability to include everyone in a conversation made me feel like part of the lab.  Sarah has also supported me when I face challenges. She has talked with me extensively about my research projects, and gotten excited about the twists and turns they take. Sarah awes me by the time she puts in to learning new concepts and techniques and I aspire to be as motivated and knowledgeable as she is, although it seems like an impossible goal. She supports everyone and somehow does all of her own work excellently as well."

A graduate student writes: "Despite her work on three projects, Sarah can always find time to sit down and help me.  She is always there to listen and provide feedback on how to improve my methodology or suggest another research avenue to pursue. Sarah improves the quality of all research projects in the lab, not just her own."

A former undergrad who is now a grad student writes: "Sarah was an excellent mentor during my senior year as an undergrad and continues to mentor me as I begin my PhD program in Biology.  Sarah has eased my transition by being patient and kind, while making sure my work is thorough and high-quality. I have had many graduate student and postdoctoral mentors, but Sarah has been the most effective, engaging, and influential mentor in developing my scientific curiosity and technical capabilities"

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2017 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke Dr. Okan Yurduseven Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Okan Yurduseven, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Lawrence Carin, Vice Provost for Research, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc toDr. Okan Yurduseven from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The award was accepted by Dr. Yurduseven's wife, Olena Aleksandrova and colleague Dr. Jonah Gollub. Dr. Yurduseven was nominated by his PI and many of his labmates. Dr. Yurduseven's PI, Dr. David Smith wrote: "Since Dr. Yurduseven started working at Duke University in May 2014, he has co-authored 41 peer-reviewed scientific papers, including 24 journal articles. Of those, he is the first author in 12 of these articles. Moreover, he has published 18 conference papers (first author in 10) and filed four provisional patent applications. In recognition of his efforts, he was invited to deliver an invited speech at the University of Cambridge on behalf of the Duke MetaImager research group. Particularly impressive is that Dr. Yurduseven has chaired two sessions at the European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP 2015); two sessions at the IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (AP-S 2016); and three sessions at AP-S 2017. He will also deliver an invited talk at the European Microwave Week, again on behalf of the Duke team. Okan is an outstanding postdoctoral associate not only in his research activities but also in his mentoring. Despite his extremely busy research schedule, he always finds the time to help students. As an example, in his first year of postdoctoral appointment, he was approached by a graduate student who had no background in the field that he would be conducting his PhD. Under his guidance, the student published 4 journal papers with Dr. Yurduseven before the end of his second year. I have supervised many, many postdocs; Dr. Yurduseven is truly exemplary, and easily the best in terms of being able to address the design of an entire system. It is rare to find one individual who can manage all aspects and not be overwhelmed. Dr. Yurduseven is such an individual."

Another member of the group wrote: "Besides his outstanding research skills and publication achievements, Dr. Yurduseven is an enthusiastic mentor and easily approachable to students. He encourages initiative and asks tough questions with the purpose of encouraging students to think deeply about the problems at hand. He works as an equal with his colleagues and is always ready to transfer his experience and learn from others. I believe that academia needs more scientists like Dr. Okan Yurduseven."

A graduate student wrote: "Okan is the best mentor, and here is why. Okan says firstly, there is no such thing as talent, there is hard work, and many failed attempts resulting in one successful attempt. So, the more we try, the higher our probability of success. Second, any plan is flexible - if one thing does not work out, another may. Third, when a task seems impossible it can be split into sub-tasks. This simple strategy works for me because it allows me to keep my focus and achieve results. Okan also teaches me to do everything in a quality way. By quality he means the highest level I can achieve, so I can answer positively to the question of whether I have done all I could today. Importantly, our communication is a two way street – “We get smarter by teaching others”, he says. I consider myself lucky to be working with Okan."

  

 

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2016 Outstanding Postdoc Chris Nelson
Dr. Chris Nelson, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Lawrence Carin, Vice Provost for Research, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc to Dr. Chris Nelson from the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Nelson was nominated by his PI and many of his labmates.

Dr. Nelson's PI, Dr Charles Gersbach, wrote: "Chris has made a tremendous impact at Duke and beyond since arriving as a postdoc in my lab.  Chris’s many accomplishments from graduate school (including an impressive 16 research publications, 8 review articles, and 5 patent applications), were an accurate harbinger of what he would accomplish as a postdoctoral fellow. In a relatively short time in my lab, Chris worked hard through several different technical challenges, and was able to submit a manuscript to Science only 15 months after joining my group, which was published in that journal earlier this year.  The impact of the results is reflected in the widespread attention that the paper received, including highlights in The New York Times, The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, BBC, and NIH Research Matters.  As evidence of the translational impact of Chris’s work, we have been contacted by many biotech companies interested in his results.  In fact, Duke is in the process of licensing Chris’s patent applications. I am certain that Chris will have a successful independent career in which he will mentor many students and postdoctoral fellows.  The Outstanding Postdoc Award will honor the incredible contribution that Chris has made both through his internationally recognized research and his mentoring within Duke to support our students."

A graduate student wrote: "Since undergrad, I have worked in four different labs and been mentored by many people along the way. Chris is by far the best mentor that I have had.  In addition to patiently teaching me lab techniques, he inspires me to think like a scientist and has become my role model on how to mentor.  Chris’ insights always lead me to a broadened perspective.  Even when he knows the answer to something, he teaches me how to figure it out myself so that next time I don’t need to ask. He makes me feel like part of the team and excited to own my part of the project."

An undergraduate wrote: "I have yet to find – in any of my research experiences at Duke or otherwise– a mentor who is as dedicated and engaged as Christopher Nelson.  Dr. Nelson teaches me to be an independent researcher by giving me actual experience, instead of simply spoonfeeding me a “recipe.”  Dr. Nelson has also taught me to think critically about accuracy and honesty in science.  In every project, Dr. Nelson encourages me to be rigorous in my inquiry, stringent in my methods, and honest in my analysis. Needless to say, Dr. Nelson is generous with his time.  He meets with me almost every week to check in, and comes in on some weekends simply to accommodate my schedule.  Beyond the time he spends on me, he is also the go-to for many other undergraduates in the lab because he is so approachable, non-judgmental, and encouraging.  I have always felt encouraged to discuss my new, sometimes half-baked ideas with Dr. Nelson, and he empowers me to question his reasoning about his project designs.  Finally, Dr. Nelson is a mentor to me outside of research.  He is truly invested in my future.  Every semester, after we give each other performance reviews (yes, he insists that I give him a mentor review), his first question is about my well-being: am I stressed? Overcommitted?  Unlike many other mentors I have had in the past, I feel that Dr. Nelson is genuinely my advocate. Dr. Nelson is a gift - to the Duke research community, to science, and to me."

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2015 Outstanding Postdoc Kathryn Dickerson

2015 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Kathryn Dickerson, 
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Dr. Raphael Valdivia, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the 2015 Award for Outstanding Postdoc to Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Dickerson from the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Dr. Dickerson's PI wrote: "Katie Dickerson has earned the best endorsement I can imagine for this award: her lab mates clamored for me to nominate her. Katie’s upbeat, direct approach is coupled with ingenuity, keen intelligence, and a true gift for clear-sighted and gracious communication.  Katie makes it look easy, even when things are very hard.  Katie has been deeply involved in mentoring the graduate students in the lab.  Her ability to teach the process of being a scientist has given students exactly the right guidance to keep them on track with difficult projects.  Graduate school is inherently hard and often dispiriting, so I cannot stress enough the value of Katie’s ability to offer both concrete instruction and social support for the students.  I predict that when she leaves my laboratory she will continue to help everyone achieve superb science with tremendous translational impact, just as she is doing here, and make it look easy along the way."

One of the grad students who works with Dr. Dickerson wrote: "Kathryn Dickerson is hands-down THE BEST RESEARCH MENTOR I have ever observed.  I consider myself very lucky to be one of the graduate students she has taken on as a mentee.  Knowing I can go to Katie for help on everything from research to writing my dissertation has been a great resource (and comfort) in progressing towards my dissertation defense.  Katie’s example has taught me a lot about how to better conduct research AND how to better conduct myself as a researcher."

Another grad student wrote:"Katie Dickerson is exactly type of postdoc that this award was designed to honor.  From the moment she joined our lab 4 years ago, her warm presence and bottomless good cheer has been contagious. It's simply better in lab when Katie is there.  I was particularly blessed in getting paired up with her on projects that eventually turned into my dissertation.  And without hyperbole, I'm not sure I would have finished without her.  At every stage, she was there offering helpful guidance, a critical eye for detail, and dedication to making sure everything stayed on track.  When I was racing against the clock to complete data collection and analysis for the last chapter of my dissertation, Katie selflessly postponed a trip to the Bahamas in order to help me finish up.  My last 4 years are full of experiences like that.  And I was just one of five graduate students; everyone has similar anecdotes about her.  We're all better scientists because of her guidance.  More importantly, however, is what Katie offers as a friend and mentor.  Over the last few years I've had more than my share of anxiety-riddled what-am-I-doing-with-my-life moments, and Katie has been there each time to listen, offer perspective, and invariably leave me feeling more optimistic.  Her achievements over the last 4 years are a testament to her as a scientist; her ability to foster growth in those around her is a testament to her as a mentor.  Combined, these are a testament to why she is a unique and outstanding postdoc."


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2014 Outstanding Postdocs at Duke Shraddha Desai.
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2014 Outstanding Postdocs at Duke:  Duke Diversity Postdoc Alliance
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2014 Outstanding Postdoc

2014 Outstanding Postdocs at Duke:  Duke Diversity Postdoc Alliance

Molly Starback, Director of the Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, presented the 2014 Award for Outstanding Postdoc to not just one postdoc, but a group of postdocs: the Duke Diversity Postdoc Alliance (DPA). The Diversity Postdoc Alliance was launched in 2013 by three postdocs, Drs. Shraddha Desai, Argenia Doss and Tricia Wright.

Drs. Desai, Doss, and Wright recognized a need for increasing communication between postdocs and graduate students from diverse backgrounds, which they define broadly as underrepresented, international or from different fields of research within the Duke community.  The Diversity Alliance has collaborated with the Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity, the Duke Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement, the Office of Postdoctoral Services, and the Duke Postdoctoral Association to host networking events for postdocs and grad students from diverse backgrounds. The Diversity Alliance also joined with the UNC Minority Postdoc Alliance and the NCCU Postdoc Association to throw a Diversity Postdoc Mixer for postdocs from all over the Triangle.  


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2013 Outstanding Postdoc Andrew Butler

2013 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Andrew C. Butler
Department of Psychology & Neuroscience

Dr. Anne West, Associate Professor of Neurobiology in the Duke School of Medicine, presented the 2013 Outstanding Postdoc Award to Dr. Andrew C. Butler in the Marsh Lab of the Duke Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.

One lab member who works with Dr. Butler wrote, "Andrew always wants to mentor undergraduate and graduate students. Many people try to spend as little time as possible with the undergraduates (an unfortunate comment, but one I’m afraid is true) but Andy sets up a weekly meeting schedule and does an individualized reading schedule with each student. I believe he truly enjoys these meetings and he spends a large amount of time working with his undergraduates to help them write the best independent study (honors thesis) papers possible. Andy also has served on several thesis committees beyond the students he has directly mentored, and he is a fair questioner who at the same time always makes the students think."


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2012 Outstanding Postdoc McKell Carter

2012 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Ronald McKell
Center for Brain Imaging & Analysis

Dr. Raphael Valdivia, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented the 2012 Award for Outstanding Postdoc to Dr. Ronald McKell from the Center for Brain Imaging & Analysis.

One lab member who works with Dr. Carter wrote, "McKell is incredibly kind and generous with his knowledge and his time. He has mentored countless graduate students, research assistants, and undergraduates, while at the same time being one of the hardest workers I've ever collaborated with, as well as an extremely active father and husband. It is inspirational to see how he makes the time to commit his focus and enthusiasm towards so many areas of his life."

Another labmate wrote of Dr. Carter, "Science is competitive, no matter what field you work in. This can sometimes cause people to hoard their experience and refuse to work with others under the fear that doing so may compromise their work. McKell’s willingness to help anyone in the lab that comes to him is the key to making him such an outstanding postdoc. Whether you’re a fellow postdoc in the lab, an aspiring grad student, or an associate in research, McKell will take time out of his busy schedule to sit down, listen to your problem, and help you as best as he can. This is not a trait you find in many work environments, let alone one in science. It’s this altruistic behavior that really makes McKell a natural leader and someone that others respect."


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2011 Outstanding Postdoc Hak Suk Chung

2011 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Hak Suk Chung
Department of Biochemistry

By any measure she would be an outstanding postdoc, but Dr. Chung has helped her lab rise above particularly sad and challenging circumstances: their mentor, Dr Christian Raetz, passed away in August 2011.

A former lab member wrote of Dr. Chung, "Having known Chris Raetz for the past 15 years, first as his graduate student, hak suk then as a post-doc, and finally as a colleague and friend, I have been privileged to hear his praises of Hak Suk on numerous occasions. I can say without hesitation that Chris would have written this nomination himself were he able. Hak Suk is, according to a letter written in July for her by Chris, 'an extraordinarily talented and hard-working scientist, who is also an outstanding mentor for young graduate students and new members of the lab.'"

A graduate student and labmate wrote: "Hak Suk has shown an unmatchable intellectual curiosity that, when paired with her devotion for experimentation, has made her the most productive member of our laboratory. To the rest of the lab, Hak Suk represents much more than a productive pair of hands. She has been a continuous mentor to undergraduates, graduate students, and fellow postdocs. It seems as if every conversation between members of our lab ends with a decision to consult Hak Suk. Over the past year, Hak Suk’s role as mentor and 'den mother' to the Raetz lab has become increasingly essential. Hak Suk’s impact on our lab is clear: she is the single greatest factor in our ability to continue Prof. Raetz’s work. Hak Suk has proven an invaluable source of lab cohesion, personal support, and experimental advice. She serves not only as a mentor we are lucky to have, but a friend we could never do without."


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2010 Outstanding Postdoc Suzanne McGaugh

2010 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Suzanne McGaugh
Department of Biology

Dr. McGaugh’s mentor, Mohamed Noor, wrote of her, “She's moved in a year from being an evolutionary and physiological ecologist to a widely respected genomic bioinformatician and geneticist. I have never seen anyone so adept at such a broad swath of biology! Within the laboratory, Suzanne is a brilliant, scholarly, and friendly resource. If I had to summarize Suzanne in a word, it'd be ‘determination.’ If I had to summarize Suzanne in 2 words, they'd be ‘utterly irreplaceable.’ I cannot sufficiently express how fortunate I feel to have her in my lab.”

One of Suzanne’s lab mates wrote: “Suzanne embodies all of the qualities that this award seeks to honor. She is a determined and tireless advocate, undaunted by any obstacle, whether it’s teaching herself a new computer programming language, or setting up a server for our lab. She inspires and encourages others around her to persevere to success. And while she is extremely dedicated to her work, Suzanne also serves as a role model for a healthy work/life balance. Suzanne McGaugh is an excellent example of an outstanding postdoc.”


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2009 Outstanding Postdoc Melanie Auffan

2009 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Mélanie Auffan
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr Auffan's mentor, Dr. Mark Weisner, wrote: "Dr. Auffan combines outstanding science with dedication to student mentoring. Her work in the laboratory has spanned traditional environmental engineering with work in the life sciences. Her work has required her to develop methodologies where virtually none have existed. As a result she has played a vital role in bringing together faculty and students from widely differing disciplines. In the 18 months she has been at Duke, she has published or had accepted 6 papers based on her work since coming here, including an upcoming paper in Nature Nanotechnology. Dr. Auffan has also given generously of her time in mentoring graduate students, undergraduates, and high school students. She has lectured in several of my classes and to outside groups concerning her research and the broader topic of environmental nanotechnology, and took the lead in organizing a conference between French and US researchers on the topic of nanotechnology."

Mélanie was selected in 2009 for France's highly competitive search for a permanent position with the French National Scientific Research Center. She joined the European Center for Research and Education in Geosciences and the Environment in late 2009. Mélanie is truly an outstanding postdoc, not just for her research skills, but for giving back to the community by teaching and mentoring


 
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2008 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke Dr. Joshua Carter Department of Chemistry

2008 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Joshua Carter
Department of Chemistry

 Dr Carter's mentor, Dr. Thomas LaBean, wrote: "Josh possesses an impressive range of interdisciplinary research skills, including materials characterization and molecular biology, as well as synthetic and analytical chemistry. I have repeatedly been impressed with Josh's ability to reach outside his previous experience and implement new solutions to difficult experimental challenges. In addition to his bench science prowess, Dr. Carter displays a relaxed, easy leadership style with the younger members of the group, and has acted as lead mentor for the research projects of local high school students from Project SEED. Despite the costs in time and effort, Dr. Carter cheerfully gives of himself to provide a profitable research experience for these young students."

Not only did Josh's labmates provide written testimonials praising his excellence in teaching, mentoring, and research, they were so enthusiastic about him that they created a video in his honor! Josh's nominations demonstrate that he is truly an outstanding postdoc, whose success in research is complemented by his service to the University and the larger community.


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2007 Outstanding Postdocs Siobhan Brady

2007 Outstanding Postdocs at Duke

Dr. Siobhan Brady
Department of Biology

Dr. Sally Kornbluth, Vice Dean for Basic Science, presented two awards for Outstanding Postdoc in 2007.  In alphabetical order, the first recipient was Dr. Siobhan Brady from Dr Philip Benfey’s lab in the Department of Biology. One of her nominations read, “Dr Brady’s research in transcription factor expression patterns has yielded innovative ways to approach expression research. In all, her two years of research at Duke have yielded six first author papers. Dr Brady currently has four collaborations with laboratories in the United States and abroad, ranging from developmental genetics to computational biology and bioinformatics. What is incredible about Siobhan is that she accomplishes all of her research while managing undergraduate independent research students and summer students. Within the past two years, she has mentored six students, all of whom completed their projects with posters, theses, or both. No matter how busy she is, she is never too busy to stop and answer questions, always with a big smile. Siobhan is not only active in the lab, but also in the community. She has volunteered at Rogers-Herr Middle School, teaching genetics to seventh graders, and she volunteers at marathons and races, including the Susan Komen Race for the Cure.”


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2007 Outstanding Postdocs Tim Griffin

2007 Outstanding Postdocs at Duke

Dr. Tim Griffin
Department of Surgery

Dr. Kornbluth presented the second award to Dr Tim Griffin from the Department of Surgery. Dr. Griffin’s mentor, Dr Farshid Guilak, wrote: “Tim is the ‘walk-on-water’ type of postdoc that we all dream of. His ability to learn in multiple areas has made him a uniquely trained scientist with expertise in subjects including physiology, biomechanics, bioengineering, and biological anthropology. As a scientist, he has a balanced view of every question, and so is able to reach conclusions through the data without any bias. He is able to manage and direct a number of different projects at the same time, all performed with the utmost care and precision. He is able to accomplish so much because of his clear and organized way of thinking, but also because of his ability to communicate and collaborate with others. He spends significant time mentoring undergrads, med students, and junior post-docs in our group. Tim has the characteristics of a true leader – he is exceptionally smart; he is confident yet unassuming; he is an outstanding writer and speaker; and he is highly ambitious. He is a team player who is always willing to help others and mentor younger members of the lab.”


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2006 Outstanding Postdoc Xiapeng Zhao

2006 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke

Dr. Xiaopeng Zhao
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Zhao received nominations from his mentor, from a student in one of his classes, and from an officer of Sigma Xi, the professional society he serves in. Dr. Zhao's research used techniques of nonlinear dynamics to study the mechanisms underlying cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation, and he has established an excellent record of publication. All three of Dr. Zhao's nominators praised not only his research achievements, but also his service, teaching, and mentoring activities at Duke.


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2006 Outstanding Postdoc Leader Elizabeth Johnson

2006 Outstanding Postdoc Leader at Duke

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson
Department of Neurobiology

Vice Provost for Research and Professor of Biology, Dr. James Siedow, presented the award for Outstanding Postdoc Leader to Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, president of the Duke University Postdoctoral Association. Dr. Siedow described Dr. Johnson as a force for positive change for postdocs on the Duke campus. He noted that Dr. Johnson had been instrumental in crafting the new postdoc policy, which mandated a minimum salary level and provided equal access to health insurance regardless of source of funding. Dr. Johnson also led the effort to establish the new postdoc office at Duke, and built DUPA from a relatively small group into a well-organized team that hosted numerous professional and social events for Duke postdocs. Needless to say, Dr. Johnson did all of this while maintaining her own research in the Fitzpatrick Lab of the Department of Neurobiology.

 

 

 

    Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development

    The Office of Postdoctoral Services sponsors the Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development, designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

    The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, with support from the Vice President for Research & Innovation and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the 2024 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards provide reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the postdoc's professional growth, including conference attendance, workshop attendance, educational courses, and other professional development activities.  Applicants with creative ideas for reaching their professional development goals are encouraged to apply. The awards are open to full-time postdocs in all disciplines. Each recipient will receive an award of up to $1000. A limited number of awards will be given in 2024.

    The application deadline is Weds Feb 21, 2024 at 12 noon. Awards will be announced Weds Mar 20, 2024 on the Duke Postdoctoral Services website and email list. 

     Guidelines:

    1. Applicants must be in one of the two Duke postdoctoral job categories: Postdoctoral Associate (job code 3820) or Postdoctoral Scholar (job code 2898). Applications will not be accepted from non-postdoctoral employment designations such as Visiting Scholar, Research Associate Senior, Research Scientist, Visiting Assistant Professor, etc.
    2. Postdocs are only eligible to receive one Professional Development Award during their time at Duke.
    3. Postdocs may submit only one application per award cycle.
    4. Awards cannot be used for computers or other personal electronic devices.
    5. Awards are not meant to supplement faculty mentors' budgets, nor should the awards be treated as an opportunity to purchase miscellaneous items, such as lab supplies, that are not directly relevant to the proposal.
    6. Awards are for up to $1000. Partial funding may be awarded at the discretion of the awards committee.
    7. The award funds must be expended while the applicant is still employed as a postdoc at Duke.
    8. Funds must be expended between Mar 20, 2024, and Mar 19, 2025.
    9. Awards will not be made retroactively, such as for travel completed prior to date of application.
    10. Funds will be reimbursed once the entire sum has been expended. All original receipts, records, and similar financial documentation relating to award expenditures must be presented to the Office of Postdoctoral Services. If appropriate documentation is not provided, the award will be rescinded. An award is a reimbursement for expenditures, not a cash bonus, and will not be given as a lump sum to awardees.
    11. At the time of reimbursement, the awardee must be in Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Scholar status (i.e., still employed at Duke).
    12. Funds must be expended as outlined in the application and budget. Because award decisions are based upon the original application, the award may not be used for any purpose other than that originally proposed. If the postdoc is not accepted to a competitive workshop; decides that s/he would prefer to attend a different conference than originally proposed; the conference is cancelled or rescheduled; the postdoc receives additional funds that cover the cost; or otherwise changes his/her plans due to personal or professional reasons; the award will be rescinded.

    Applications must consist of the following, submitted as one PDF. Please follow instructions exactly, or your application may be disqualified.

    1. Cover letter (no more than 1 page; see instructions below).
    2. CV/resume, including a service and leadership section if applicable (no more than 2 pages).
    3. Statement of financial need and a detailed budget (no more than 1 page). In the budget, include all costs (e.g., registration, transportation, lodging, meals, and any other anticipated expenses), not only the portion that may be covered by this award. If funding is also being provided by the faculty mentor, institutional allowance, or similar source, or if such funding is an option, this must be noted.

    The cover letter should include:

    1. A brief (one paragraph) description of the applicant's research topic and its significance.
    2. Number of years as a postdoc at Duke.
    3. A description of the applicant's career goals: note that both traditional academic careers and careers beyond academia are supported by these awards.
    4. A description of how the award will further the applicant's career goals.
    5. If the application is for a conference/workshop, the applicant must provide the conference/workshop name, location, dates, and conference/workshop URL.
    6. If the applicant will be presenting at a conference, the cover letter must specify the type of presentation (eg, keynote, oral, abstract, poster). If the applicant does not plan to present or has not yet been accepted to present, this must be noted in the cover letter.  Please note that while networking at a conference is a valuable activity, this is probably not sufficient justification to merit an award.

    Email application materials in one PDF to: Molly Starback, Director of Postdoctoral Services, at molly.starback@duke.edu and cc to Mark Mathison, Staff Assistant for Postdoctoral Services, at mark.mathison@duke.edu

    Questions? Email Molly Starback at molly.starback@duke.edu

     

     

    The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, the Vice President for Research  & Innovation and the Vice Dean for Basic Science are pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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    2023 Prof Dev Akira Horiguchi
    Akria Horiguchi, PhD, Statistical Science

    Akira Horiguchi is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University working under Drs. Li Man and Cliburn Chan. He completed his PhD in Statistics at The Ohio State University. His Research interests include improving Bayesian nonparametric inference for flow cytometry data and developing sensitivity analysis tools for Bayesian regression trees.

    Dr. Horiguchi will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings 2023 in Toronto, where he was invited to give an oral presentation.

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    2023 Prov Dev Ashley Huggins
    Ashley Huggins, PhD, Brain Imaging and Analysis Center

    Ashley Huggins is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center under the mentorship of Dr. Rajendra Morey. Her research focuses on how the brain learns and remembers fear in the context of traumatic stress and other forms of adversity. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

    Dr. Huggins will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the annual meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, where she will be presenting her postdoctoral work as part of an invited symposium.

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    2023 Prof Dev Zena Lapp
    Zena Lapp, PhD, Duke Global Health Institute

    Zena Lapp is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Global Health Institute studying malaria parasite transmission between humans and mosquitoes with Drs. Wendy Prudhomme-O'Meara and Steven Taylor. She received her PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of Michigan. Last year, she co-organized the first DiscovR workshop to teach data managers in Kenya foundational data analysis and visualization skills in R.

    Dr. Lapp will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to help pay for a venue to co-teach the DiscovR workshop once again this year, alongside participants from last year's workshop.

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    2023 Prov Dev Carolina Segami Marzal
    Carolina Segami Marzal, PhD, Biology

    Carolina Segami Marzal is a postdoc in the Yoder lab at the Biology department working on Speciation genomics of endangered mouse lemurs from southeast Madagascar. She received her PhD from Uppsala University where she investigated the genetic basis of hybrid sterility of Ficedula flycatchers.

    Dr. Segami Marzal will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend a workshop organized by the Network for the Integration of Speciation Research to be held in Tvärminne, Finland. Dr.Segami Marzal is one of 30 accepted participants out of a pool of more than 150 applicants.

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    2023 Prov Dev Meltem Yucel
    Meltem Yucel PhD, Psychology and Neuroscience

    Dr. Meltem Yucel is a Postdoctoral Associate at the ECC Lab in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Dr. Yucel received her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a concentration in Quantitative Psychology at the University of Virginia. She is primarily interested in social cognition and morality, specifically focusing on how and when children become moral beings.

    Dr. Yucel will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend an intensive 5-day online Multilevel Modeling workshop. 

     The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2023 Awards Committee: Melissa Bostrom PhD, Rossie Clark-Cotton PhD, Rachel Coleman MS, Hugh Crumley PhD, and Molly Starback MSLS.

     

      The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, the Vice President for Research & Innovation and the Vice Dean for Basic Science are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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      2022 Prof Dev Grace Brennan, PhD
      Grace Brennan, PhD, Clinical Psychology

      Grace Brennan is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Moffitt-Caspi Lab in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. She is funded by a T32 training grant from the National Institute on Aging. Her research focuses on how personality traits and mental disorders influence health and social functioning as people age. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Yale University.

      Dr. Brennan will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to virtually attend a statistics workshop on longitudinal structural equation modeling offered by Curran-Bauer Analytics.

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      2022 Prof Dev Michelle Scotton Franklin, PhD
      Michelle Scotton Franklin, PhD, Nursing

      Michelle Scotton Franklin is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy under the mentorship of Drs. Gillian Sanders Schmidler and Gary Maslow. Her research focuses on developing interventions and health policy solutions to address the physical and behavioral health inequities experienced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She received her MSN at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with dual certification as a family nurse practitioner and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner and received her PhD in Nursing from the Duke School of Nursing in 2020.

      Dr. Scotton Franklin will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to virtually attend the 2022 ResearchTalk course, "Implementation Research: Using Qualitative Research Methods to Improve Policy and Practice".

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      2022 Prof Dev Yuerong Liu PhD
      Yuerong Liu PhD, Social Work

      Yuerong Liu is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Center for Child and Family Policy within the Sanford School of Public Policy, working under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth J. Gifford. Her research focuses on understanding how societal mechanisms drive child maltreatment and the subsequent adverse health outcomes among children involved with Child Protective Services. She received her PhD in Social Work from New York University.

      Dr. Liu will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to virtually attend the course “Online Certificate Program in Mixed Methods Research” at the University of Michigan.

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      2022 Prof Dev Juliann Stalls, PhD
      Juliann Stalls, PhD, Health Psychology

      Juliann Stalls is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, under the mentorship of Drs. Rebecca Shelby and Caroline Dorfman in the Cancer Symptom Management and Support Program and Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program. She earned her PhD in Health Psychology, Clinical Health Concentration, from East Carolina University in 2020. Her research focuses on addressing symptom management concerns among cancer survivors and she is particularly interested in supporting survivors to address reproductive and sexual health concerns following cancer treatment.

      Dr. Stalls will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to virtually attend the 2022 International Psycho-Oncology Society’s World Congress Meeting.

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      2022 Prof Dev Erica Washington, PhD
      Erica Washington, PhD, Biology

      Erica Washington received her PhD in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her primary research interests include studying molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis using tools and techniques in structural biology. Dr. Washington is a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Richard G. Brennan’s laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry, where she investigates the structures and function of trehalose biosynthesis proteins in fungal pathogens using x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy.

      Dr. Washington will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to purchase reagents that will enable her to extend her current independent project by studying fungal-specific DNA-binding domains and their role in the regulation of trehalose biosynthesis.

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      2022 Prof Dev Shujie Yang, PhD
      Shujie Yang, PhD, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

      Shujie Yang received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke University in 2021, after which he became a Postdoctoral Associate working under the mentorship of Prof. Tony Jun Huang. His research focuses on developing acoustic and microfluidic platforms to efficiently manipulate cells and particles for disease diagnosis.

      Dr. Yang will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to virtually attend the 17th IEEE International Conference on Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular Systems (NEMS).

      The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2022 Awards Committee: Melissa Bostrom PhD, Rachel Coleman MS, Hugh Crumley PhD, Cameron Prigge PhD, and Molly Starback MSLS.

      The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, the Vice President for Research & Innovation and the Vice Dean for Basic Science are pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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      2019 Prof Dev Charles Bartlett, PhD
      Charles Bartlett, PhD, History

      Charles Bartlett is a Postdoctoral Associate in the History Department. His research examines the political, legal, and economic institutions of several periods of European and international history, especially antiquity and the early modern and modern periods; he is particularly interested in the development of Roman law and the history of political economy. Charles received his PhD in Classics (Ancient History) from Harvard University in 2017.

      Dr. Bartlett will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Celtic Conference in Classics in Coimbra, Portugal, where he will present a paper on a consequential topic in economic and legal history as part of the panel that he is co-organizing.

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      2019 Prof Dev Loneke Blackman Carr, PhD
      Loneke Blackman Carr, PhD, Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity

      Loneke T. Blackman Carr earned her PhD in Nutrition (Intervention and Policy) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017. She is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, working under the mentorship of Dr. Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards. Addressing health inequities in obesity and obesity treatment are the focus of her work. Her research involves examining the sociocultural context of weight, dietary and physical activity behaviors, in order to maximize the effectiveness of behavioral weight loss interventions for black women.

      Dr. Blackman Carr will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society on Behavioral Medicine.

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      2019 Prof Dev Zhiying Lu, PhD
      Zhiying Lu, PhD, Duke Marine Lab

      Zhiying Lu received his PhD in Environmental Science from the University of China Academy of Science. Dr. Lu is a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Zackary Johnson at the Duke Marine Laboratory. His research focuses on developing economic and environmental-friendly algal cultivation and separation technologies for biofuel and co-products production. His primary research interests include integrating algal cultivation with membrane filtration and algal culture media reuse.

      Dr. Lu will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 9th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts (9th AlgalBBB) at Boulder, Colorado, where he will give an oral presentation.

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      2019 Prof Dev Victor Ruthig, PhD
      Victor Ruthig, PhD, Cell Biology

      Victor Ruthig is a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Capel Lab in the Department of Cell Biology. His research focuses on molecular regulation and maintenance of the developing mammalian male germline at the intersection of cell cycle, epigenetic and pluripotency controls. He received his MS and PhD in Developmental and Reproductive Biology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

      Dr. Ruthig will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to travel to Hong Kong to attend the biennial Gordon Conference on Germinal Stem Cell Biology, where he will present a poster on his work (Dead End 1 (DND1) In Developing Embryonic Male Germ Cells Targets Transcripts Associated With Pluripotency and Male Fate Regulation), and stop over in Honolulu, where he will give a methods seminar at his alma mater (Transgenic and Molecular Tools for Studying Germinal Stem Cell Regulation of Differentiation in the Developing Mouse).

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      Prof Dev Miranda Scalabrino, PhD
      Miranda Scalabrino, PhD, Neurobiology

      Miranda Scalabrino received her PhD in Biomedical Science with a concentration in Genetics from the University of Florida in 2016. She is a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Greg Field’s lab in the Department of Neurobiology, where she investigates mechanisms of bipolar cell plasticity during retinal degeneration and subsequent genetic rescue, while also discovering how bipolar cell types contribute to functional vision.

      Dr. Scalabrino will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the course "Vision: A Platform for Linking Circuits, Perception and Behavior" at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

      The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2019 Awards Committee: Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Paige Cooper, Dr. Hugh Crumley, Dr. Cameron Prigge, and Ms. Molly Starback.

        The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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        2018 Prov Dev Alessandro De Simone, PhD
        Alessandro De Simone, PhD, Cell Biology

        Alessandro De Simone’s interests revolve around understanding how multi-cellular tissues are organized in time and space using imaging-based quantitative methods. Alessandro received a PhD in Cell Biology from the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne. Alessandro is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Stefano Di Talia in the Department of Cell Biology.

        Dr. De Simone will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 2018 Physiology Course at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The Physiology Course is a 7-week-long intensive laboratory experience that offers a training environment at the interface between physics, computer science and biology.

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        2018 Prov Dev Robert Fitak, PhD
        Robert Fitak, PhD, Genetics

        Robert (Bob) Fitak received his PhD in Genetics from the University of Arizona in 2013. He has been a Postdoctoral Associate in Duke’s Department of Biology since May 2015, under the mentorship of Dr. Sönke Johnsen. Bob’s research utilizes various genetic and statistical techniques to understand how organisms like trout and sea turtles sense Earth's magnetic field and use it to navigate.

        Dr. Fitak will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 4th Annual Summer Institute in Statistics for Big Data workshop at the University of Washington for specific training in "Supervised Methods for Statistical Machine Learning".

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        2018 Prov Dev Sairam Jabba, PhD
        Sairam Jabba, PhD, Pharmacology

        Sairam Jabba earned his PhD in Pharmacology at Creighton University. He is a Postdoctoral Associate at Duke Neurobiology (Jorg Grandl lab) and Duke Anesthesiology (Sven-Eric Jordt lab). His research involves investigating the addictive and toxicological effects of novel tobacco products and understanding the role of sensory ion-channels (like TRP-ion channels) in mediating these effects.

        Dr. Jabba will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Duke Science Policy Summer Institute.

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        2018 Prov Dev Alessandro De Simone, PhD
        Melissa Kay, PhD, Nutrition

        Melissa Kay is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Center for Childhood Obesity Research and at the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center. Her research focuses on the implementation and dissemination of innovative digital health interventions to prevent early life obesity prevention. Melissa received her PhD in Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MPH/MS at Tufts University.

        Dr. Kay will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Pediatric Academic Societies conference in Toronto, where she will present her work titled “Toddler dietary intake: Results from a multi-site study of low-income families.”

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        2018 Prov Dev Rosa Li, PhD
        Rosa Li, PhD, Psychology and Neuroscience

        Rosa Li received her PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University in 2017, after which she became a Postdoctoral Associate in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. Her research investigates whether and how decision-making changes across development from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, and she also teaches courses for Duke's undergraduate certificate in decision sciences.

        Dr. Li will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Neurohackademy Summer School in Neuroimaging and Data Science at the University of Washington's eScience Institute.

         

        The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2018 Awards Committee: Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Hugh Crumley, Dr Cameron Prigge, Dr. Jory Weintraub, and Ms. Molly Starback.

         

          The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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          2017 Prov Dev Rachel Harris, PhD
          Rachel Harris, PhD, Biological Sciences

          Rachel Harris received her PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has been a Postdoctoral Associate in Duke’s Department of Evolutionary Anthropology since February 2016, under the mentorship of Dr. Christine Drea. Rachel’s research focuses on the relationships between beneficial bacteria, animal health, and olfactory communication in ring-tailed lemurs and meerkats.

          Dr. Harris will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 14th triennial meeting of the Chemical Signals in Vertebrates group in Cardiff, Wales, where she will present her research on the effects of health and injury on olfactory cues in ring-tailed lemurs.

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          2017 Prov Dev Bonnie Kaiser, PhD
          Bonnie Kaiser, PhD, Anthropology

          Bonnie Kaiser earned a PhD in Anthropology and MPH in Epidemiology at Emory University. She has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute since 2015, working with Dr. Brandon Kohrt and Dr. Eve Puffer. She conducts global mental health research in Haiti, Nepal, and Kenya, with a focus on cultural aspects of measurement, communication, and intervention design.

          Dr. Kaiser will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend a conference in Rwanda that focuses on global mental health interventions developed in low-income settings.

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          2017 Prov Dev Marta Mulawa, PhD
          Marta Mulawa, PhD, Health Behavior

          Marta Mulawa is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Duke’s Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in AIDS (IRTPA) T32 Program. She is based in the Duke Global Health Institute and works under the mentorship of Dr. Kathleen Sikkema. Marta received her PhD in Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MHS in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on improving our understanding of how social networks influence HIV-related behaviors.

          Dr. Mulawa will use Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the XXXVII Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis in Beijing, China, where she will present her research titled, "Structural network position and performance of popular opinion health leaders within an HIV prevention trial in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania."

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          2017 Prov Dev Cameron Prigge, PhD
          Cameron Prigge, PhD, Biological and Biomedical Sciences

          Cameron Prigge received her PhD in 2015 from Oakland University, where she examined dopaminergic neuron pathophysiology in retinal degenerative disease. Cameron is now a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Jeremy Kay in the Department of Neurobiology where she uses the retina as a model system to study the development of neural circuits. She is particularly interested in determining how neurons utilize repulsive interactions to avoid crosswiring during development.

          Dr. Prigge will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 2-week-long course “Vision: A Platform for Linking Circuits, Behavior & Perception” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

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          OPS 2017 Prov Dev Jennifer Rocca, PhD
          Jennifer Rocca, PhD, Ecology

          Jennifer Rocca received her BS in Botany from the University of Florida, a Masters in Plant Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, and her PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University. She is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Bernhardt Aquaterrestrial Biogeochemistry Lab in the Biology Department, where she examines microbial community coalescence during seawater intrusion of freshwater wetlands. Jenny’s research interests include unraveling the assembly mechanisms driving microbial community structure, and understanding the impacts of environmental perturbations on functional redundancy and community resilience.

          Dr. Rocca will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to present at the 2017 Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, where she was invited to the special session, “Microbes in Modernity: Microbial Responses to Anthropogenic Change”, to present her postdoctoral research on microbial community coalescence.

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          Okan Yurduseven, PhD
          Okan Yurduseven, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering

          Okan Yurduseven received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Northumbria University, United Kingdom, where he developed multiband and ultrawideband photovoltaic antennas, and a phaseless microwave holographic imaging technique for security-screening applications. Dr. Yurduseven is now a Postdoctoral Associate with Prof. David R. Smith at Duke University. His research interests include computational imaging, microwave and millimeter-wave imaging, metamaterials, antennas and propagation, antenna measurement techniques, and wireless power transfer. He is the author of more than 70 research articles and two provisional patents, and a Senior Member of the IEEE.

          Dr. Yurduseven will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to present his research and chair several sessions at the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (AP-S) in San Diego, California. In addition, he will organize and chair a special session at AP-S on emerging techniques in imaging at microwave, millimeter-wave and THz frequencies.

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          2017 Prov Dev Jiayin Zheng, PhD
          Jiayin Zheng, PhD, Probability & Statistics

          Jiayin Zheng received his BS in Statistics from Zhejiang University and PhD in Probability & Statistics from Peking University, China. Since April 2016, he has been a Postdoctoral Associate under the supervision of Dr. Shein-Chung Chow in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, where he studies statistical methodology related to clinical trails and pharmaceutical development. His current research interests include biomarker evaluation, adaptive/multi-regional clinical trials, survival analysis and biosimilar/generic interchangeability.

          Dr. Zheng will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Summer Institute of Statistics for Clinical Research (SISCR) at University of Washington. SISCR introduces participants to state-of the art methodology for biomedical studies, including clinical trials and observational studies.

          The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2017 Awards Committee:  Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Hugh Crumley, Dr. Jory Weintraub, and Ms. Molly Starback.

            The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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            2016 Prof Dev Marina Blanco, PhD
            Marina Blanco, PhD, Biological Anthropology

            Marina Blanco received her degree in Biological Anthropology at the National University of La Plata, Argentina, and her PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. During her tenure at UMass, she became intrigued by the nocturnal lemurs of Madagascar. Since 2012, she has been investigating hibernation in lemurs as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Lemur Center, under the supervision of Dr. Anne Yoder. Her current research interests include the ecology of rainforest mouse and dwarf lemurs and community-based conservation activities in Northern Madagascar. 

            Dr. Blanco used the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to lead a 2-day workshop on the modeled effects of climate change on lemurs in the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Dr. Blanco writes about her experience here.

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            2016 Prof Dev Hayley Estrem, PhD
            Hayley Estrem, PhD, Nursing

            Hayley Estrem received her PhD in 2015 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is now a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Debra Brandon at the Duke University School of Nursing. Her research focuses on child and family centered care for pediatric feeding disorder, measure development, and symptom and care trajectories for infants and young children with feeding problems.

            Dr. Estrem will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend NIH NINR's "Precision Health: from 'Omics' to Data Science" bootcamp this summer in Bethesda, MD.

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            2016 Prof Dev Mohammadreza Imani, PhD
            Mohammadreza Imani, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering

            Mohammadreza Imani received his BS and PhD in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has been a Postdoctoral Associate in the David Smith Group of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since January 2014, where he studies aspects of dynamic and frequency diverse apertures for microwave imaging. His research interests include microwave imaging, analytical and applied electromagnetics, and wireless power transfer.

            Dr. Imani will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation, where the work of his graduate student mentee has been nominated for the student paper competition and will be presented. In addition, Dr Imani has proposed, organized, and will chair a special session on computational imaging at microwave, millimeter wave, and THz.

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            2016 Prof Dev Nikki Sullivan, PhD
            Nikki Sullivan, PhD, Computation and Neural Systems

            Nikki Sullivan is a Postdoctoral Associate in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Scott Huettel lab. She received her PhD in Computation and Neural Systems from Caltech, and an MA from the University of Chicago, where she also worked as a researcher for the Departments of Psychology and Economics. At Duke, Nikki investigates the neural mechanisms underlying decision-making, including those involving dietary and financial self-control using a combination of techniques from economics, neuroscience, and psychology.

            Dr. Sullivan will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the invitation-only 10th Triennial Invitational Choice Symposium in Alberta, Canada, where she will present her research on process trace methods.

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            2016 Prof Dev Max Villa, PhD
            Max Villa, PhD, Materials Science and Engineering

            Max Villa received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Connecticut, where he developed biomaterials and imaging tools to heal bone injuries with progenitor cells. Max's research interests involve the development of new technology to investigate biomedical questions. Max is now a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Lawrence David's laboratory in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, where he is developing a microfluidic droplet platform for high throughput screening of human microbial communities to better understand their role in heath and disease. 

            Dr. Villa will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 2016 Microbial Diversity course held at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, to support his transition from the engineering field to microbiology. 

            The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2016 Awards Committee: Dr. Sherilynn Black, Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Hugh Crumley, Dr. Christopher Nelson, and Ms. Molly Starback.

              2015 Duke Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2015 Prov Dev Peter Larsen, PhD, Biology
              Peter Larsen, PhD, Biology

              Peter Larsen received his PhD in Zoology from Texas Tech University and has been a Postdoctoral Associate with Dr. Anne Yoder in the Biology Department since 2012.  His research focuses on disease surveillance and evolutionary genomics of Madagascar’s lemurs.

              Dr. Larsen will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 95th Annual American Society of Mammalogists meeting in Jacksonville, FL, where he will give an oral presentation.

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              2015 Prov Dev Christopher Nelson, PhD
              Christopher Nelson, PhD, Biomedical Engineering

              Christopher Nelson completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Arkansas and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 2014. In his graduate work under the direction of Professor Craig Duvall, he built material platforms for efficient and sustained delivery of small interfering RNA to improve tissue regeneration. Dr. Nelson is now a postdoctoral associate with Professor Charles Gersbach at Duke University. His current work seeks to apply genome engineering techniques to correct the underlying genetic dysfunction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

              Dr. Nelson will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Controlled Release Society Annual Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he will give a platform presentation.

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              2015 Prov Dev Anthony Parolari, PhD
              Anthony Parolari, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering

              Tony Parolari joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2012, after completing his PhD at MIT. His research focuses on the development of quantitative models that link the water cycle to ecosystem processes, like agricultural productivity. Dr. Parolari also leads the Duke Research Integration Voyage for Engineers (DRIVE), a field research immersion program for CEE undergrads.

              Dr. Pariolari will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science in Andover, NH, entitled “Thresholds in Time and Space”, where he and his graduate student mentee will both present posters.

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              2016 Prof Dev Maura Sabatos-DeVito, PhD
              Maura Sabatos-DeVito, PhD, Psychology and Neuroscience

              Maura Sabatos-DeVito received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Postdoctoral Associate with the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences under the mentorship of Dr. Geraldine Dawson. Her research explores the effects of cord blood stem cell therapy on behavioral outcomes for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Her primary research interests include exploring early developmental differences and risk, as well as early intervention approaches, for ASD.

              Dr. Sabatos-DeVito will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend a week-long workshop on "Modeling Individual Differences in Behavior" at NC State University. This workshop focuses on advanced statistical techniques in multiple regression and latent variable and multilevel modeling.

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              2015 Prof Dev Tiffany Williams, PhD
              Tiffany Williams, PhD, Duke Marine Lab

              Tiffany Williams received her PhD in 2014 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and is now a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Dana Hunt at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Her research focuses on how microscale interactions between heterotrophic bacteria and phytoplankton may drive the ecology of microbial habitats in marine environments. Additionally, Tiffany is building a mesocosm system to investigate how natural microbial communities respond to the effects of environmental stressors related to ocean acidification.  

              Dr. Williams will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to present her research at the American Society for Microbiology's 115th General Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

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              2015 Prov Dev Luke Xie, PhD
              Luke Xie, PhD, Radiology

              Luke Xie obtained his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. He is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for In Vivo Microscopy in Radiology of Duke University Medical Center. His research aims to advance preclinical MRI to study the structure and function in models of kidney disease. These models include acute kidney injury, polycystic kidney disease, inflammation and fibrosis, and diabetic nephropathy.

              Dr. Xie will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 23rd Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Toronto, Ontario, where he will give an invited talk, an oral presentation, and an e-­poster presentation.

              The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2015 Awards Committee: Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Hugh Crumley, Dr. Erin Sparks, and Ms. Molly Starback.


              2014 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2014 Prof Dev Stephanie Clare, PhD
              Stephanie Clare, PhD, Women's Studies Program

              Stephanie Clare is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Women’s Studies Program. Her research interests include twentieth-century French and Francophone philosophy, feminist and queer theory, and Canadian settler colonial studies. She is currently writing a book manuscript, Earthly Encounters, that examines relations between subjectivity and territory, land and the earth in twentieth-century world literature, focusing especially on Canada. She has publications in GLQ, differences, Hypatia, and forthcoming in Diacritics.

              Dr. Clare will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to present a paper based on the third chapter of her book at the “Queer Places, Practices & Lives” conference hosted by Ohio State University. She will also speak on a panel with two junior scholars in the field who have recently secured tenure-track positions in queer studies, a major hiring field.

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              2014 Prof Dev Natalia Dmitrieva, PhD
              Natalia Dmitrieva, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

              Natalia Dmitrieva holds a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University, and is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her primary research concerns the role of health behaviors in chronic illness management, particularly in diabetes. Natalia's work also emphasizes applied statistical methodology, particularly analytic approaches to daily diary and ecological momentary assessment studies.

              Dr. Dmitrieva will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the workshop “Experimental design and analysis methods for developing adaptive interventions: Getting SMART,” at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. This workshop focuses on the fundamentals of “SMART Trial” interventions, which can be tailored and adapted to individual differences of participants as the trial progresses.

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              2014 Prof Dev Roxanne Larsen, PhD
              Roxanne Larsen, PhD, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

              Roxanne Larsen received her PhD in Biology from Texas Tech University in 2011 and is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology. She works in the Animal Locomotion Lab with Dr. Daniel Schmitt and teaches Gross Anatomy to medical students at Duke University’s School of Medicine. Her primary research is focused on understanding the biomechanics and evolution of human running. Dr. Larsen’s current project uses novel and integrative approaches to create more naturalistic running conditions, which allow for the investigation of multi-step stability when running on uneven terrain.

              Dr. Larsen will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 2014 American College of Sports Medicine conference in Orlando, FL, where she will present her research in addition to networking with colleagues in her field.

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              2014 Prof Dev Nicola Paine, PhD
              Nicola Paine, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

              Nicola received her PhD in 2013 from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), which investigated inflammation and vascular (i.e., blood vessel) reactivity during mental stress. Nicola is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science under the mentorship of Professor Andrew Sherwood, investigating how health behaviors (e.g., depression, anxiety and stress) can lead to the development of Cardiovascular Disease.

              Dr. Paine will use the award to visit the laboratory of Dr Simon Bacon (Concordia University, Montreal) to learn techniques to assess haemoconcentration, which is a process where red blood cells become more concentrated within the blood due to a temporary loss of some of the liquid (plasma) which makes up the blood.

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              2014 Prof Dev Erin Sparks, PhD
              Erin Sparks, PhD, Department of Biology

              Erin Sparks received her BS in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and a PhD in cell and developmental biology from Vanderbilt University. For the past three years, Dr. Sparks has been a Postdoctoral Associate in Philip Benfey's laboratory at Duke University. Her postdoctoral work uses systems-level analyses to study the development of plant roots, with the long-term goal of improving crop resilience under varying environmental conditions.

              Dr. Sparks will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to present her work at the 2014 International Association for Plant Biotechnology Congress, where she has been invited to be a keynote speaker.

              The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2014 Awards Committee: Dr. Sherilynn Black, Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Sissel Juul, Ms. Molly Starback, and Dr. Anne West.


              2013 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2013 Prof Dev Diego Bohórquez, PhD
              Diego Bohórquez, PhD, Division of Gastroenterology

              Diego V. Bohórquez attended college at the Pan-American School of Agriculture in Honduras, and obtained his PhD in Nutrition from North Carolina State University in 2010. He is a third year Postdoctoral Scholar in the Division of Gastroenterology. His research focuses on how food in the gut triggers satiety in the brain, leading to the development of therapeutic treatments for obesity. In 2010 he was awarded an NIH NRSA F32 Fellowship focused on neurobiology.

              Dr. Bohórquez will attend the 2013 Summer Neurobiology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, allowing him to bridge his knowledge in gastroenterology with intensive, laboratory-oriented training in neurobiology.

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              2013 Prov Dev Jason L. Brown, PhD
              Jason L. Brown, PhD, Department of Biology

              As a youth, Jason explored the outdoors of rural South Dakota, developing his love for amphibians and nature. He received his PhD in Biology from East Carolina University in 2009. He is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Biology Department working with Dr. Anne Yoder to integrate geographic information systems, statistics and genetic analyses to better understand, predict and mitigate the genetic consequences of future climate change.

              Dr Brown will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to to present his research at the 2013 joint annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Society of Systematic Biologists, and the American Society of Naturalists (aka Evolution 2013).

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              2013 Prof Dev Nishad Jayasundara, PhD
              Nishad Jayasundara, PhD, Nicholas School of the Environment

              Nishad Jayasundara received his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and has been a Postdoctoral Associate in Richard T. Di Giulio’s laboratory at the Nicholas School of the Environment since November 2012. Dr Jayasundara investigates mechanisms underlying toxic effects of environmental pollutants (complex hydrocarbon mixtures) and fitness tradeoffs and bioenergetic consequences associated with adaptation to these chemicals in fish inhabiting thermally variable environments. Dr Jayasundara is a native of Sri Lanka and enjoys spending his spare time working with a non-profit he co-founded that focuses on improving access to higher education for Sri Lankan students.

              To obtain a better understanding of bioinformatics approaches to analyzing large data sets, Dr Jayasundara will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend a short course, “Introduction to Programming for Bioinformatics”, at the University of California-Berkeley.

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              2013 Prof Dev Andrew Macintyre, PhD
              Andrew Macintyre, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

              Andrew Macintyre received his PhD in immunology from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and has been a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology since January 2010. Dr Macintyre currently studies metabolism in normal and cancerous immune cells. His research aims to identify ways of targeting glucose metabolism to improve anti-cancer and immune therapies

              Dr Macintyre will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the American Association for Cancer Research workshop “Translational Cancer Research for Basic Scientists” in Boston, MA. At this workshop he will learn how to maximize the clinical impact of his research.

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              2013 Prof Dev Emily O'Brien, PhD
              Emily O'Brien, PhD, Duke Clinical Research Institute

              Emily O’Brien received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 and is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Her primary research focus is causal inference methodology for observational cardiovascular disease cohorts, with specific applications to atrial fibrillation, stroke, and hypercholesterolemia. Dr. O’Brien’s current projects include assessment of obesity and long-term outcomes for heart attack patients, regional healthcare resources and quality of acute stroke care, and population-based interventions to reduce hypertension.

              Dr. O'Brien will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services workshop “Introduction to the Use of Medicare Part D Data for Research” in Minneapolis, MN. The workshop provides an overview of the strengths and limitations of research within Medicare claims, as well as strategies to address specific challenges such as systematic bias, drug exposure misclassification, and ascertainment of clinical outcomes.

               The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2013 Awards Committee: Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Talline Martins, Dr. Stefan Oehlers, Ms. Molly Starback, and Dr. Anne West.


              2012 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2012 Prov Dev Adam Biggs, PhD
              Adam Biggs, PhD Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

              Adam Biggs received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and has been a Postdoctoral Associate in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience since October 2011. Dr. Biggs studies visual cognition - the relationship between what we see and what we know. His work focuses on understanding how prior experiences and preferences cause different people to look at different aspects of the same scene. With funding from the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, he is studying the characteristics of superior visual searchers to both inform cognitive theories of attention and to improve training and performance for airport security.

              Dr. Biggs will attend the 12th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, where he will present two posters: one on individual differences and expertise in visual search (second author), and one on how holding firearms affects the attentional priorities of someone viewing a threatening scene (first author).

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              2012 Prov Dev Daniel Thomas Davis, DMA
              Daniel Thomas Davis, DMA Department of Music

              Daniel Thomas Davis received his DMA in Composition from the University of Michigan and his MA in Ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. As a first-year Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Music, his research most frequently takes the form of musical compositions, often drawing upon interdisciplinary studies of American, East African and several other vocal traditions.

              Dr. Davis will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award for a professional-studio-level recording of his original composition, “Atlantic Fire”, featuring the Grammy-Award-winning vocalist Jacqueline Horner. A historical commentary on concepts of American brotherhood/sisterhood, “Atlantic Fire” draws upon oratory texts from Cotton Mather's 1693 collection Wonders of the Invisible World as well as an 1891 wax-cylinder recording of what is thought to be the voice of Walt Whitman reading from the poem "America".

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              2012 Prov Dev Sophie Plouviez, PhD
              Sophie Plouviez, PhD Duke Marine Lab

              Sophie Plouviez received her PhD in Biology from the University of Paris and is in the second year of her postdoctoral appointment at the Duke Marine Lab. Dr. Plouviez’s research focuses on population connectivity in hydrothermal vent and cold seep ecosystems using Next Generation Sequencing approaches. Specifically, she is comparing populations of two deep-sea hydrothermal vent limpet species (Lepetodrilus schrolli and Olgasolaris tollmani) from multiple ocean basins in the southwest Pacific.

              Dr. Plouviez will participate in the 13th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand, where she will present her results and also organize a special session on Next Generation Sequencing in the Deep-Sea.

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              2012 Prov Dev Shannon Smith, DVM
              Shannon Smith, DVM Division of Laboratory Animal Resources

              Shannon Smith received her DVM from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, working towards her certification from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Smith’s research focuses on hormone-induction of lactation protocol in non-pregnant non-human primates, with the goal of developing a vaccine that confers long-term immunity to the infants of HIV-positive breastfeeding mothers.

              Because the use of laboratory fish in research is rapidly escalating, Dr. Smith will attend a short course, “Health and Colony Management of Laboratory Fish”, at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, where course topics will include general system design and water quality management, anatomy and histology of fish, and disease management for laboratory-maintained fish colonies.

               The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2012 Awards Committee: Dr. Sherilynn Black, Dr. Erin Glynn, Dr. Claire Gordy, Ms. Molly Starback, and Dr. Anne West.


              2011 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2011 Prof Dev Zachary Cleveland, PhD
              Zachary Cleveland, PhD, Department of Radiology

              Zackary Cleveland is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Radiology. He received his BS in chemistry with minors in mathematics and biology from The University of Montana in 2001, and his PhD in physical chemistry from Colorado State University in 2008. He works with Dr. Bastiaan Driehuys in the Center for In Vivo Microscopy to develop novel methods for pulmonary MRI. While at Duke, he helped conduct a Phase-I clinical trial for HP 129Xe MRI and demonstrated that HP 129Xe can be used to non-invasively detect pathological changes in ventilation, pulmonary microstructure, and gas uptake in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Dr. Cleveland has been involved in a number of preclinical lung imaging studies involving small animal models of human pulmonary diseases.

              Dr. Cleveland will attend the annual weeklong Phenotyping Mouse Models of Human Lung Disease workshop held by The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. This workshop provides hands-on training in small animal handling, surgical procedures, and lung mechanics measurement needed to study murine models of human pulmonary diseases.

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              2011 Prof Dev Ryan Georgianna, PhD
              Ryan Georgianna, PhD, Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology

              Ryan Georgianna received his BS in Biology in 2004 from Virginia Tech and his PhD in 2009 from the Functional Genomics Program at North Carolina State University. His graduate research featured investigations using comparative genomics and proteomics tools to study secondary metabolism in Aspergillus flavus, a mycotoxigenic fungus notorious for contaminating food and feed with the highly carcinogenic secondary metabolite aflatoxin. Since receiving his PhD, Dr. Georgianna has been a Postdoctoral Scholar in John McCusker’s laboratory in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. The main focus of his research has been to develop a high-throughput quantitative genetics resource in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. He plans to pursue research on genetic improvement or domestication of algae as an efficient green-technology industrial organism for production of biofuels, therapeutics, and nutraceuticals.

              Dr. Georgianna will attend the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology (SD-CAB) symposium Algal Biofuels - Advancing to Economic Viability held at the Salk Institute, where he will present a poster. Additionally, Dr. Georgianna will meet with the Director of the SD-CAB and give an open talk in his lab at the University of California-San Diego.

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              2011 Prof Dev Erin Glynn, PhD
              Erin Glynn, PhD, Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center

              Erin Glynn received her BS in Kinesiology from Texas A&M University in 2005, and her PhD in Preventive Medicine and Community Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2010. She is a Postdoctoral Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Newgard in the Sarah Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center, where she researches metabolic dysfunction in obesity and type 2 diabetes, and is learning about the use of animal models, metabolomics and cell culture in metabolic studies. Her goal is to use basic science and animal modeling tools to increase the translational impact of future clinical metabolic investigations.

              Dr. Glynn will attend the Short Course on Metabolic Syndrome at Vanderbilt University to learn specific techniques that assess metabolic outcomes in animals during pharmacologic, dietary or environmental interventions.

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              2011 Prof Dev Jeffrey R. Harris, PhD
              Jeffrey R. Harris, PhD, Division of Cellular Therapy

              Jeffrey R. Harris received his PhD in molecular cell biology from the University of Florida in 2007 and is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the laboratory of John Chute, MD in the Division of Cellular Therapy. Previously, Dr. Harris was a postdoc in the laboratory of Tannishtha Reya in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, where he developed a novel method to observe changes to the bone marrow niche in real-time using confocal microscopy. This technique has shed new light on the dynamics of the hematopoietic microenvironment and will be utilized in Dr. Chute’s lab to study bone marrow regeneration following administration of myeloablative clinical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

              A significant challenge when using a real-time imaging strategy is the extraction of relevant information from the immense volume of data acquired. Jeff, a trained cell biologist, will further enhance his education in advanced programming by taking the three-day MatLab Fundamentals Course from Mathworks. This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to technical computing and aid in writing his own software analysis programs for quantitating data from his imaging studies.

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              2011 Prof Dev Claire Terhune, PhD
              Claire Terhune, PhD, Evolutionary Anthropology

              Claire Terhune received her PhD in physical anthropology from Arizona State University in 2010. Her dissertation research analyzed the shape of the temporomandibular joint across anthropoid primates with the goal of associating shape variation with variation in body size, evolutionary relationships, and dietary differences among species. As a Postdoctoral Associate at Duke, she is the primary instructor for Physician Assistant Anatomy, and has continued her research in physical anthropology under the guidance of Dr. Andrea Taylor. Her research centers on how differences in the chewing apparatus among primates might be related to dietary or behavioral differences. Dr. Terhune plans to develop a research program in this area by combining analyses of fossil humans with experimental analyses of primate feeding behavior.

              Dr. Terhune will travel to the University of Chicago to work with her collaborators on an experimental procedure to quantify movements of the mandible during chewing in macaques and capuchin monkeys, with the ultimate goal of comparing this movement to previously documented patterns of mandibular movement in humans. She will also visit the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, which houses one of the largest collections of primate skeletons in the world, to collect data that will be analyzed using geometric morphometrics.

              The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2011 Awards Committee: Dr. Lauren Anderson, Dr. Sherilynn Black, Ms. Molly Starback, Dr. Tomalei Vess, and Dr. Anne West.


              2010 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2010 Prof Dev Jie Deng, PhD
              Jie Deng, PhD, Department of Neurobiology

              Jie (Jay) Deng received his undergraduate degree in Zoology at Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. After working as an ecologist and conservation biologist in Beijing and Gainesville, Florida, he earned his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Florida in 2005. He spent one postdoctoral year at the Duke Center for Human Genetics, then joined the Duke Neurobiology Department as a Postdoctoral Associate. Dr. Deng currently investigates how addictive drugs alter brain reward networks through their effects on proteins that mediate epigenetic regulation of gene transcription.

              Dr. Deng will travel to the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida to learn intra-venous self-administration (IVSA) of drugs in mice. Although this technique is well developed for rats, mouse IVSA is extremely challenging because of the small body size of the animals. Dr. Paul Kenny of Scripps, whose lab is one of the few in the US performing mouse IVSA, will train Dr. Deng in this technique.

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              2010 Prof Dev Julie Meachen-Samuels, PhD
              Julie Meachen-Samuels, PhD, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)

              Julie Meachen-Samuels received her PhD in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. Her doctoral dissertation examined the functional morphology and prey-killing strategies of cats. She then worked for six months as a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA with Dr. Blaire Van Valkenburgh examining the structure and function of the nasal turbinate bones in mammalian carnivores. In August 2009, Dr. Meachen-Samuels started her postdoc at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) at Duke. Her project examines the dietary niche partitioning that occurs in living carnivore communities and analogous communities of extinct carnivores from North America. This research will use past faunal turnovers to understand how current human and climatic alterations may impact carnivore communities today.

              Dr. Meachen-Samuels will travel to the 2010 SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) conference in Anaheim, California. SACNAS is one of the largest and longest-standing organizations in the nation focused specifically on scientific outreach to underrepresented minorities. Dr. Meachen-Samuels will coordinate and lead a field trip to the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, where she did much of her dissertation work, and will share her knowledge about the evolutionary importance of this fossil site with budding scientists. She will also take part in “Conversations with Scientists”, an informal mentoring session where undergraduates are paired up with science professionals for roundtable discussion of the joys and challenges of a science career.

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              2010 Prof Dev Amy D. Owen, PhD
              Amy D. Owen, PhD, Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health

              Amy D. Owen, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at the Duke University Medical Center. She received her BA in Psychology from Luther College in 1999, and her PhD in Educational Psychology and an additional MS in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. Her primary focus of research has been exploring forgiveness as a therapeutic intervention and the concept and process of forgiveness in different cultures. Recently, she also began researching the role of various spiritual and religious factors in physical and mental health. Currently, Dr. Owen is studying whether forgiveness (of self, another person, and perceived forgiveness from God) is associated with immune health among people living with HIV-AIDS. In addition, she is investigating the relationship of forgiveness and cancer; religious factors and cardiovascular disease and mortality; and the longitudinal effects of religious identification and life-changing spiritual experiences on structural neuroanatomy in late life.

              Dr. Owen will travel to the 2010 Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference in Seattle, WA, where she will present three poster abstracts: “The Complex Relationship of Religious Factors, Cardiovascular Health, and Mortality” (first author), “Forgiveness and Reduced Risk of Cancer Onset” (second author), and “Religious Correlates of Structural Brain Changes in Late Adulthood” (second author). She will also join the Society’s Spirituality and Health Special Interest Group, and participate in their mentoring program.

              The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2010 Awards Committee: Dr. Danielle Maatouk, Dr. Anirudh Ullal, Ms. Molly Starback, Dr. Tomalei Vess, and Dr. Anne West.


              2009 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2009 Prof Dev Elisabeth L. Engebretsen, PhD
              Elisabeth L. Engebretsen, PhD, Women's Studies

              Elisabeth L. Engebretsen is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in Transnational Sexualities at Duke's Women's Studies Program.  She has a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with a thesis titled "Love in a Big City: Sexuality, Kinship, and Citizenship amongst Lala ('lesbian') Women in Beijing" (2008).  She majored in Chinese Studies and Socio-Cultural Anthropology for her BA degree at the University of Oslo, holds Masters degrees in Gender Studies and Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the LSE, and has studied Chinese language and literature at Sichuan University and Xiamen University in China.  Her research concerns women’s same-sex sexuality, kinship and marriage ideologies and practices, and cultural citizenship in globalizing China.  Her work has appeared in the Feminist Review, Contemporary Political Theory, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Culture, Health, and Sexuality, the Graduate Journal of Social Sciences, and is forthcoming in Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

              Dr. Engebretsen will be spending Summer 2009 in Beijing, China, to update data for her dissertation, which she is revising into a book manuscript entitled Different Women:  The Cultural Politics of Sexuality and National Identity in Postsocialist Beijing.  She will speak at the Conference on Chinese Sexualities and Social Development at Renmin University, Beijing.  Her paper will be published in a Chinese social sciences journal following the conference.

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              2009 Prof Dev Mickey Kosloff, PhD
              Mickey Kosloff, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology

              Mickey Kosloff received his PhD in Structural and Molecular Biochemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.  He then took a 3 year postdoc at Columbia University, where he learned how to develop and apply computational methods to understand protein function.  In 2006 Dr Kosloff began a postdoctoral appointment under Dr Vadim Arshavsky in the Duke Department of Ophthalmology, where he combines experimental and computational approaches to decipher how 3D structure encodes interaction specificity in signaling proteins.

              Dr. Kosloff will travel to Israel to attend the ILSI Biomed 2009 Conference.  This conference is the largest meeting of its kind in Israel, bringing together Israeli biotech companies, venture capital firms, and representatives from academia and government.  Dr Kosloff will schedule interviews with relevant companies and explore employment options in the Israeli biotech field, and also follow up on academic job opportunities.

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              2009 Prof Dev Jaclyn Schwarz, PhD
              Jaclyn Schwarz, PhD, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

              Jaclyn Schwarz obtained her undergraduate degree from Boston College and her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2008.  Her thesis research focused on the underlying mechanisms by which sex differences are established in the brain during development.  Dr Schwarz is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the lab of Dr. Staci Bilbo at Duke University, where she studies the mechanisms by which differences in drug abuse liability in adulthood may be established during development.

              Dr. Schwarz will travel to the annual meeting of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD) in Toronto, ON.  The OSSD is a newly formed scientific society, of which Dr Schwarz is a founding member, and for which she currently serves as the Young Investigator Councilor.

              The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2009 Awards Committee:  Dr. Joshua Carter, Dr. John Schmidt, Ms. Molly Starback, Dr. Tomalei Vess, and Dr. Anne West.


              2008 Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award Winners

              The Duke Office of Postdoctoral Services, along with the Vice Provost for Research and the Vice Dean for Basic Science, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 Postdoctoral Awards for Professional Development. These awards are designed to support postdocs' professional development needs by providing reimbursement for activities that directly enhance the individual's professional growth.

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              2008 Prof Dev Maryléne Boulet, PhD
              Maryléne Boulet, PhD, Department of Biological Anthropology & Anatomy
              Dr. Boulet earned her PhD in Biology from McMaster University, studying the evolutionary history and migration patterns of the yellow warbler. Dr. Boulet currently studies olfactory indicators of genetic constitution in ringtailed lemurs. The 2008 Postdoctoral Research Award will be used for travel to the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (CSEE) Meeting in Vancouver, BC, where Dr. Boulet will give an oral presentation and attend the Symposium for Women Entering Ecology and Evolution Today (SWEEET), and Academic Careers in Biological Sciences, a workshop Dr. Boulet helped organize as past CSEE Council Member. Dr. Boulet will also attend a pre-meeting workshop on Mesquite, a phylogenetic software computing character evolution analyses.
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              2008 Prof Dev Wenhong Chen, PhD
              Wenhong Chen, PhD, Department of Sociology
              Dr. Chen earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2007. Her research interests include social capital/social networks, economic sociology, and international migration. Drawing on a large representative dataset in the US, Dr. Chen is exploring the relation of ethnic diversity in the neighborhood and social capital at the individual level. The 2008 Postdoctoral Research Award will be used for travel to the International Social Capital Conference in Taiwan organized by Academia Sinica, where Dr. Chen will present a paper titled “Discontents in the Melting Pot: Diversity, Inequality, and the Plight of Social Capital”. The paper examines whether and how trust, an integral component of social capital, is related to racial/ethnic diversity and economic inequality.
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              2008 Prof Dev Amanda Moehring, PhD
              Amanda Moehring, PhD, Department of Biology
              Dr. Moehring received her PhD in Genetics from North Carolina State University in 2003. She works on the genetics of variation in behavior within species and the genetics of reproductive isolation between species. The 2008 Postdoctoral Research Award will be used for travel to two concurrent conferences in Vancouver, BC: the Symposium for Women Entering Ecology and Evolution Today (SWEEET), a symposium addressing issues that influence the advancement of women with postgraduate degrees, where Dr. Moehring has been invited to speak on “Balancing Career and Family”, and the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (CSEE) conference, where Dr. Moehring will present her research on “Genetics of behavioral isolation between two Drosophila species.”
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              2013 Prof Dev Jonathan Prather, PhD
              Jonathan Prather, PhD, Department of Neurobiology
              Dr. Prather received his PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University in 2001. His postdoctoral research has focused on the neural mechanisms of vocal communication. Dr. Prather and his colleagues were the first to demonstrate the existence and characteristics of auditory-vocal “mirror neurons” in the songbird brain, leading to the recent publication of their article, “Precise auditory-vocal mirroring in neurons for learned vocal communication”, in the journal Nature. The 2008 Postdoctoral Research Award will be used for travel to the international meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC.
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              2008 Prof Dev Bing Yu, PhD
              Bing Yu, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering
              Dr. Yu received BS and MS degrees in Optoelectronics Technology from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2005. Dr. Yu performs research in biomedical optics, developing optical spectroscopy devices for breast cancer diagnosis, and a miniature spectral imaging system for intra-operative assessment of tumor margins. Dr. Yu invented a self-calibrating fiber-optic probe that has a built-in calibration channel and can be used to record lamp spectrum and instrument/probe responses concurrently with tissue measurements. The 2008 Postdoctoral Research Award will be used for travel to the Gordon Conference on Lasers in Medicine and Biology (GRC-LMB), where Dr. Yu will present his research on the self-calibrating probe.

               The Office of Postdoctoral Services and the Duke University Postdoctoral Association extend their thanks to the 2008 ResearchAwards Committee: Dr. JD Dunn, Dr. Rebekah Fleming, Dr. Sonke Johnsen, Dr. Susan Smith, Ms. Molly Starback, Dr. Jennifer Tenor, Dr. Tomalei Vess, and Dr. Anne West.