Postdocs: Key drivers in fueling discovery at a research university

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There’s a critical phase in a budding scientist’s education that comes after finishing a doctorate but before striking out on her or his own. Somewhat under the radar among the general public yet key to both the young scientist-in-training and the universities they serve, this critical phase is called a “postdoc,” or a postdoctoral fellowship.

Drs. Todd Golde and Cara Croft collaborate with trainees in the lab.

Department of Neurology

Lorena de Mena Alvarez, Ph.D.

Lab of Diego Rincon-Limas, Ph.D. Age: 36 Hometown: Vijon, Spain Research focus: Examining pathological aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and ALS using a fruit fly model and an optogenetic tool (genetically engineered cells exposed to specific wavelengths of light).

Dr. Lorena de Mena Alvarez

Department of Neuroscience

Cara Croft, Ph.D.

Lab of Todd Golde, M.D., Ph.D. Age: 29 Hometown: Manchester, England Research focus: Understanding mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease to seek potential drug targets.

Dr. Cara Croft

Department of Neuroscience

Matt Hamm

Lab of José Abisambra, Ph.D. Age: 30 Hometown: Atlanta Research Focus: Understanding the biochemical fallout following one or more mild traumatic brain injuries and associated neurodegeneration in order to inform the design of potential therapeutics to improve quality of life.

Dr. Matt Hamm

Department of Physical Therapy

Arash Tadjalli

Lab of Gordon Mitchell, Ph.D. Age: 37 Hometown: Toronto, Ontario Research focus: Relationship between inflammation of the central nervous system and plasticity of spinal respiratory motor function (breathing movements) both in healthy (non-disease) states and in spinal cord injury or diseases like ALS.

Dr. Arash Tadjalli

Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Adrienn Varga

Lab of Erica Levitt, Ph.D. Age: 31 Hometown: Budapest, Hungary Research focus: The role of opioid-sensitive respiratory neurons in the brain in both normal breathing and under the influence of opioids, to seek a potential therapeutic target to reverse respiratory effects of opioid overdoses without causing pain or discomfort.

Dr. Adrienn Varga