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Departmental Postdoc Representatives

Our Initiative

In the Fall of 2018, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs began implementing a plan to create a forum of postdoctoral research fellows from each department in the School of Medicine to serve as representatives for their peers. We are currently identifying one postdoctoral representative from each department to communicate with the other fellows in their department, help answer questions postdocs may have, and to build a more effective channel of communication with the postdoc office. We held our first meeting with our inaugural cohort of representatives in December 2018. We are continuing to seek one representative from each department in the School of Medicine. Current representatives are listed below. New postdocs in the School of Medicine are encouraged to reach out to their departmental representative to learn more about resources available for their training.

Department Representatives

soma ghosh headshot

Biological Chemistry

Soma Ghosh, Ph.D., completed her Ph.D. in Computational Biology at Indian Institute of Science, India, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Tamara O’Connor’s lab in Biological Chemistry. Soma uses a combination of computational methods and experimental techniques to uncover the key molecular events that govern Legionella pathogenesis. The presence of ~270 known translocated substrates or effectors and the inherent redundancy amongst them make Legionella an excellent model system to study bacterial pathogenesis at a systems level. In addition to efforts in the lab, Soma also volunteers for the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association (JHPDA).



Cell Biology

Dhiman Pal, Ph.D., completed his doctoral degree in Cellular and Biochemical Parasitology at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata. He is a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Devreotes, with whom he investigates the biochemical excitability of signal transduction networks governing chemotaxis and phagocytosis in immune cells. In addition to his research, Dhiman has volunteered for the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association and a current participant in the JHU Teaching Academy. As a postdoctoral peer representative for Cell Biology, Dhiman will assist his colleagues with their concerns, provide information regarding resources available to postdocs at JHU, and serve as a direct line of communication with the postdoc office.


johan melendez headshot

Medicine - Infectious Diseases

Johan Melendez, M.S., Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His current research focuses on the development, evaluation, and implementation of rapid tests for the diagnosis of STIs and characterization of antimicrobial resistant gonorrhea.


grace muller headshot

Medicine - Neuroscience

Grace Muller, Ph.D., completed her Ph.D. in Physiology at Yale University, and is a 4th year postdoctoral fellow in Dr. David Kass’s lab in Cardiology. Grace’s research focuses on the role of the phosphodiesterase type1 (PDE1) protein in cardiac function. We have found that PDE1 inhibition enhances cardiac function in pre-clinical models. This finding can benefit heart failure patients, and we are testing this applicability in an ongoing clinical trial. In addition to efforts in the lab, Grace has volunteered for the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association (JHPDA), and also serves as a peer representative to SOM postdoctoral fellows.


alicia braxton headshot

Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology

Alicia Braxton, D.V.M., earned her DVM from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology Department, she is concurrently completing a Laboratory Animal Medicine residency and PhD training. Through the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program, Alicia is studying pancreatic precursor lesions using next generation sequencing as a strategy for early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer in the lab of Laura Wood, M.D., Ph.D.


katie moss headshot


Dr. Kathryn Moss, Ph.D., is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Ahmet Höke in the Neuromuscular Division of the Department of Neurology. She is interested in identifying pathomechanisms of inherited and acquired peripheral neuropathies. Her research is focused on PMP22 copy number variation disorders (Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies [HNPP] and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Type 1A [CMT1A]) and Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN). Specifically, she is characterizing the role of dysregulated adhesion in the demyelinating peripheral neuropathies HNPP and CMT1A and identifying mechanisms of SF3B2 downregulation-mediated neuroprotection in CIPN.


sayantan datta heashot


Sayantan Datta, Ph.D.


Peer Rep Naomi

Orthopaedic Surgery

Naomi Dirckx, Ph.D., completed her doctoral work at KU Leuven in Belgium, where she investigated the role of the skeleton in global glucose homeostasis by focusing on hypoxia signaling in the osteoblast. Currently, she is a 2nd year postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Clemens. She aims to discover the role of citrate in bone strength and quality and to unravel the metabolic pathways by which osteoblasts generate citrate and incorporate it into bone minerals. This project will increase knowledge about the mechanisms of new bone formation needed to develop new therapeutic strategies to tackle low bone mass disorders. She is also the current co-president of the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association (JHPDA).


megan wood headshot


Megan Beers Wood, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Fuchs. Her research uses noise-induced hearing loss models to study the effect of damaging noise on the cochlea. High levels of sound can lead to cell death in the cochlea. Cochlear type II afferent neurons do not respond to sound, but do respond to cell damage. Recent work from Dr. Fuchs’ laboratory suggests that type II afferent neurons report damage and may be responsible for nociception in the ear. Her work aims to shed light on the role of type II afferent neurons in the sensation of damage and pain.


pranaz d headshot


Parnaz Daneshpajouhnejad, M.D., obtained her medical degree from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran and joined Johns Hopkins University to pursue her goal in becoming a future Pathologist. Parnaz has almost 10 years of research experience since medical school and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Pathology. She is working on the underlying genetic mechanisms of chronic kidney disease and age-related changes in the kidney. Her hobbies are reading novels and psychology books, playing the piano, painting, yoga, tai chi, playing tennis, and photography.


rachel alinsky headshot


Rachel Alinsky, M.D., M.P.H., is a board-certified physician in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Adolescent Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics and recently finished her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Systems & Policy. She has spent time as both a clinical fellow and now a research fellow, and focuses on health services research regarding access to care for adolescents with substance use disorders.


Peer Rep Aline


Aline Gottlieb, M.D., earned her medical degree at the University of Duisburg-Essen and has been working in the field of Internal Medicine (Gastroenterology/Hepatology) for the past four years. In March 2019, she became a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Svetlana Lutsenkos, where she studies the effects of copper misbalance on the development of liver steatosis. She is the current secretary for the Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association (JHPDA).



Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences

Francesca Anna Carrieri, M.S., M.S, Ph.D., was born and raised in Italy and graduated from the University of Urbino with a B.S. in Biotechnology and two M.S. degrees in Industrial Biotechnology and Molecular Biology. In 2011, she joined the Laboratory of Genetics at the National Institute on Aging as visiting fellow for three years. She then received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Dundee in Scotland. Currently, Dr. Carrieri is a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Phuoc Tran, where she investigates candidate genes involved in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) chemotherapy and radiation resistance and will develop novel mouse models of SCLC. Francesca’s long-term research goal is to develop predictive biomarkers in order to improve patient therapy responses.


sanaz ameli headshot


Sanaz Ameli, M.D., received her M.D. from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the division of body MRI in Russell. H Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiologic Science. Her research focuses on studying malignant tumor characteristics on molecular level by using Functional MRI. Sanaz has been doing research for almost ten years and presented her results in several conferences.


aravinth kumar headshot

School of Public Health

Aravinthkumar Jayabalan, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Dr. Leung’s lab and  is currently working on dissecting the physiological relevance of non-membranous structures called stress granules at School of Public Health (SPH). As the department representative of SPH, Aravinth aims to help postdocs at the School of Public Health identify all the resources available to postdocs at Johns Hopkins University ranging from professional development to community building.


Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Matthew Hurley, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychiatry. After earning his graduate degree from Marquette University in 2018, he joined Dr. Tim Moran's lab, where he is using translational research models to understand the biological mechanisms of anhedonia in Anorexia Nervosa.


Former Department Representatives

  • Bahar Tuncgenc, PhD. Kennedy Krieger Institute (2018-2019)
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