Ohio State is pleased to announce the selection of 11 scholars as the inaugural cohort of President’s Postdoctoral Scholars. The President’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program (PPSP), supported by the Office of the President, was launched in January 2018 to attract and retain highly-qualified early career scholars as postdoctoral trainees. The recipients were selected from a diverse and highly competitive pool of 103 national and international applicants. PPSP awards provide salary support ($50,000 minimum), benefits and $5,000 for research-related and program travel expenses.
Lisa Barrow grew up in a rapidly-developing suburb of south Florida, where her interests in nature, conservation, and science first started. She completed a BS in Zoology with a minor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida in 2009. She was fortunate to stumble into a molecular laboratory at the Florida Museum of Natural History early in her undergraduate career, where she became fascinated with evolutionary biology and the importance of natural history collections for studying biodiversity across space and time.
Lisa earned her PhD in Biological Science (Ecology and Evolution) at Florida State University in 2016, advised by Drs. Emily Lemmon and Scott Steppan. Her dissertation focused on spatial genetic structure in North American amphibians across different scales, from species tree estimation of a genus of frogs, to phylogeography and population genetics of a disjunct species complex, to a targeted comparison of four frog species across the Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain. This work combined fieldwork with emerging genomic technologies and paleoclimate niche modeling to investigate the influence of historical processes and contemporary landscape on population divergence.
In 2016, Lisa was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (Research Using Biological Collections) under the direction of Dr. Chris Witt at the Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico (UNM) and Dr. Staffan Bensch at Lund University, Sweden. With this position, she expanded her research program to the intriguing system of haemosporidian blood parasites, a globally-distributed and diverse group including avian malaria. At UNM, Lisa has had the great opportunity to lead a diverse team of students on projects studying avian host-parasite community dynamics. In Fall 2018, she is excited to join Dr. Bryan Carstens’ lab in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, where she will expand her work on amphibian evolution, phylogeography, and conservation.
Randi Bates is a Registered Nurse (RN) and certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and will complete her PhD in Nursing from The Ohio State University in December 2018. Advised by Drs. Pamela Salsberry of the College of Public Health and Jodi Ford of the College of Nursing, Randi is also a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellow of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and a Nurse Leader Scholar of the Jonas Foundation.
Randi’s prior education was also completed at The Ohio State University. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2008 and her Masters of Science degree to become a FNP in 2015. Randi is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) from the Dominican Republic, where she served as a health advisor from 2008-2010 and as a first responder RN to the Haitian earthquake of 2010.
Randi’s background influences her primary research interest of how early experiences and environments influence later health development. Her dissertation research focuses on understanding environmental influences of early childhood self-regulation, a key component of health development. One product of this dissertation research is understanding if hair cortisol can be used to measure chronic stress in very young children. As such, Randi has pioneered an innovative study measuring cortisol concentration in the hair of toddlers and their mothers and completes this research at the College of Nursing Biomedical Laboratory.
This research has led Randi to partner with the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, directed by Dr. Laura Justice, a clinically-certified speech-language pathologist. As a Presidential Postdoctoral Scholar, Randi will extend her health development research by continuing her collaboration with Dr. Justice and will research early chronic stress, child development, and language and literacy development through observational and interventional studies.
Enrico Berkes is an urban and innovation macroeconomist. He recently obtained his PhD in Economics at Northwestern University. His work studies how innovative activities interact with the urban structure and its characteristics. One of his papers shows that a more diverse urban environment promotes the production of inventions that are more unconventional in nature. In another paper, he finds that innovative activities have a deep impact on the spatial distribution of income: The increase in the concentration of creative jobs in certain metropolitan areas is responsible for an important part of the increase in income segregation that has been witnessed over the past few decades within U.S. cities. Enrico will join the Economics Department at Ohio State University in August. He will be working together with Prof. Bruce Weinberg on projects that take advantage of a novel data set of detailed micro data about the beneficiaries of grants in a sample of U.S. universities. The data offer a unique opportunity to further understand how knowledge diffuses and which factors affect its dissemination. Of particular interest is to understand how the presence or absence of underrepresented ethnic and racial groups affect the type of research performed in academic institutions and which mechanisms might hinder their professional development and affect their placement in the labor market. The UMETRICS data project offers a unique opportunity to answer these questions with a new level of accuracy. He previously worked at the research department of the IMF where he co-authored a paper which studies the relationship between financial development and growth. He holds a Master of Arts in International Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva and a Master of Science in Mathematics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich.
Katarzyn Danis-Włodarczyk: I earned my Bachelor degree in Biology from the University of Wrocław in Poland and then was awarded an EU-funded Erasmus scholarship. With this scholarship I was able to study for half a year at the Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen in Belgium. In 2010 I came back to the University of Wrocław and was invited to join the Laboratory of Pathogen Biology and Immunology. There I began my work with bacteriophages, earning my Master’s degree in Biology/Microbiology. Also at the University of Wrocław I started studying Biotechnology. This lead to research focusing on the characterization of bacteriophages and their antimicrobial enzymes. After receiving a second Erasmus scholarship, I had an opportunity to join the Laboratory of Gene Technology at KU Leuven, Belgium. In 2015 I visited the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, where I worked with CF lung epithelium cell lines, focusing on phage therapy. In 2016 I separately defended my two PhDs to become Doctor of Bioscience Engineering, KU Leuven, Belgium, and Doctor of Biological Sciences, specialization Microbiology, University of Wrocław, Poland. In the meantime, I was awarded a highly competitive postdoctoral fellowship at KU Leuven and focused on the engineering of phage endolysins, EPS depolymerases, and recombinant fusion proteins with antimicrobial/anti-biofilm/wound healing peptides. I also participated in several international thematic courses and workshops. In 2017 I went for a research visit to the Laboratory of Host Pathogens Interactions, also at KU Leuven, and the Burn Wound Unit in Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, where I tested the efficiency of engineered phage endolysins on cell lines infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolates. Currently I am postdoctoral researcher in the Departments of Microbiology and Microbial Infection & Immunity at The Ohio State University, focusing on phage therapy against P. aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.
Taban Salem is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Mississippi State University (anticipated graduation August 2018), under the mentorship of E. Samuel Winer. She is currently completing her doctoral internship with Stony Brook University. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.