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 Sciences, 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.

  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.


 Ryan   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.


 Erin L. Glynn   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.


 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.


  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.