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Post Doctoral

Postdoctoral Association (UCD-PDA)

UCD-PDA Previous Executive Council

Carol Aherne, Ph.D.

Dept. of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine

Working with Dr. Holger Eltzschig. We are interested in exploiting endogenous anti-inflammatory pathways for potential therapeutic intervention. The observation that local tissue hypoxia drives extracellular adenosine generation and signaling events has lead to our investigation of adenosine signal transduction pathways. Of particular interest are the anti-inflammatory properties associated with these pathways. PDA Vice President

International Postdoc representative from University College Dublin, Ireland

Tullia Bruno, Ph.D.

Department of Immunology, National Jewish Health

The lab focus is in tumor immunology, specficially in trying to make more optimal cancer vaccines. My project entails trying to pinpoint the breast cancer antigen that is recongnized by CD8 tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancer patients in order to create a vaccine that will target the antigen associated specifically with the tumor microenvironment.

PDA Executive Council

Nicolas Busquet, Ph.D.

Colorado Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, University of Colorado Denver

For my research project, I perform a behavioral assessment of rodent models of developmental and cognitive disorders.

Research Associate
International Representative from University of Paris 13, France

Kimberly Cox-York, Ph.D.

Dept. of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, School of Medicine

IMAGE Group. Researching menopause-related changes in lipid trafficking with regard to subcutaneous adipose tissue depots (abdominal vs. femoral) and implications for cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk.

Postdoc Research Day Planning Committee

Erin Giles, Ph.D.

Dept. of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, School of Medicine

MacLean Lab. Studying (1) the metabolic links between obesity and post-menopausal breast cancer, and (2) the metabolic adaptations to long term weight loss that promote weight regain, and strategies to counter those adaptations.

PDA President
International Postdoc rep from Ontario, Canada

Ritsuko Iwanaga, Ph.D.

Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine

Ford lab, we are studying the role of Six1 in breast cancer and mammary stem cells.

International Postdoc rep from Japan

Kimberly Jordan, Ph.D.

Department of Surgery, School of Medicine

I am investigating the role of cells that suppress immune responses against cancer in human melanoma patients. We have found increased numbers of regulatory T cells in Stage IV melanoma patients. These cells normally control autoimmune responses and prevent autoimmunity, but also dampen specific immune responses against cancer. Soluble factors produced by the tumor cells likely contribute to the accumulation of regulatory T cells both in our patients and in our in vitro model of melanoma. We are determining the soluble factors that are responsible for this accumulation, with the goal of identifying target molecules for immunotherapy. We are also investigating the role of a newly identified subset of immunosuppressive cells, known as myeloid derived suppressor cells, in our melanoma patients.

PDA Council Member
Postdoctoral Seminar Series Planning Committee

Melissa Langworthy, Ph.D.   (PDA Secretary 2010-2012)

Dept. of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

I am a postdoctoral fellow in Bruce Appel’s Lab. My research has focused on using zebrafish to characterize a dynein cytoplasmic 1 heavy chain 1 (dync1h1) mutant that has peripheral nerve defects. Peripheral nerves are composed of neurons and a myelinating cell, the Schwann cell, which ensheaths axons allowing for rapid saltatory conduction of action potentials. In these dync1h1 mutants, Schwann cells do not differentiate or myelinate axons and we determined that Dync1h1 is required cell autonomously in myelinating Schwann cells. In order to identify the mechanism of Dynein function, I am coculturing rat Schwann cells and dorsal root ganglion in vitro to investigate the signaling pathways that promote Schwann cell differentiation and myelin sheath formation. We are currently testing the hypothesis that receptor internalization and Dynein-mediated trafficking of signaling endosomes is required for the transition from immature to myelinating Schwann cell.

PDA Secretary
Training and Educational Development (TED) Committee

Bruce Mandt, Ph.D.     (PDA Vice President 2011-2012)

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

I was awarded my Ph.D. in 2009 and started a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Richard Allen in the UCD Psychology Department that same year. In Dr. Allen’s lab, I continue to conduct pre-clinical drug abuse research with an emphasis on identifying factors regulating the transition from “recreational” to “compulsive” cocaine use. In addition to research, I also teach at the undergraduate level and my long-term career goals are to remain in academia. PDA Executive Council

Postdoctoral Advisery Committee
PDA Communications Committee

Ryan Mays, Ph.D.

Department of Cardiology, School of Medicine

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs as the result of the development of atherosclerotic plaque in the intimal layer of the major arteries of the legs and leads to an increased morbidity and mortality event rate in patients. Although supervised exercise programs for PAD patients are highly effective for improving health, few people are able to successfully utilize these programs. Barriers that prevent patients from adopting and adhering to supervised exercise programs include lack of insurance reimbursement for walking exercise, proximity to hospitals and clinics, lack of knowledge about how to exercise and habitual sedentary behavior. Community-based exercise programs for PAD have to date met with inconsistent results, as patients are typically given advice to walk with little follow-up. Thus, the primary aim of Dr. Mays’ study is to determine the effect of a community-based exercise program with more detailed training, monitoring and coaching for improving health of PAD patients, effectively circumventing many of the above barriers to exercise training.

Executive Council
PDA Social Committee

Eric Moody, Ph.D.

JFK Partners, School of Medicine

There are two main foci to my research. First, I study basic social and emotional mechanisms associated with autism through psychophysiological methods (electromyography). Second, I study the clinical treatment paradigms for families who have children with autism and other developmental disabilities. I also consult on statistics and methods for several research projects, and am the coordinator for a large multi-site study exploring the causes of autism.

PDA Treasurer
Postdoctoral Research Day Planning Committee

Lora Wilson, Ph.D.     (PDA President 2011-2012) 

Department of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine

The molecular basis of lung cancer is my primary interest. I create novel cell culture models to identify key transcriptional regulators that activate genomic responses associated with the development of lung cancer.

Postdoctoral Research Day Planning Committee
PDA Social Committee
Postdoctoral Seminar Series Planning Committee

Previous Executive Council Members:

  • Jason Duex, Ph.D.

    Dept. of Pharmacology, School of Medicine
    Postdoctoral Advisory Committee

  • Karen Glass, Ph.D.

    Dept. of Pharmacology, School of Medicine

  • Traci Lyons, Ph.D.

    Dept. of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine
    Postdoctoral Advisory Committee

  • Amanda Oglesby-Sherrouse, Ph.D.

    Dept. of Microbiology, School of Medicine
    PDA Social Committee
    Training and Education Development Committee

  • Heather Ann Pangburn, Ph.D.

    Dept. of Dermatology, School of Medicine

  • Enrique Torchia, Ph.D.

    Dept. of Dermatology, School of Medicine
    International Postdoc rep from University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada