2012 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 2012 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.

  Adam Biggs, PhD Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Adam Biggs received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and has been a Postdoctoral Associate in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience since October 2011. Dr. Biggs studies visual cognition - the relationship between what we see and what we know. His work focuses on understanding how prior experiences and preferences cause different people to look at different aspects of the same scene. With funding from the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, he is studying the characteristics of superior visual searchers to both inform cognitive theories of attention and to improve training and performance for airport security.

Dr. Biggs will attend the 12th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, where he will present two posters: one on individual differences and expertise in visual search (second author), and one on how holding firearms affects the attentional priorities of someone viewing a threatening scene (first author).


    Daniel Thomas Davis, DMA Department of Music

Daniel Thomas Davis received his DMA in Composition from the University of Michigan and his MA in Ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. As a first-year Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Music, his research most frequently takes the form of musical compositions, often drawing upon interdisciplinary studies of American, East African and several other vocal traditions.

Dr. Davis will use the Duke Postdoctoral Professional Development Award for a professional-studio-level recording of his original composition, “Atlantic Fire”, featuring the Grammy-Award-winning vocalist Jacqueline Horner. A historical commentary on concepts of American brotherhood/sisterhood, “Atlantic Fire” draws upon oratory texts from Cotton Mather's 1693 collection Wonders of the Invisible World as well as an 1891 wax-cylinder recording of what is thought to be the voice of Walt Whitman reading from the poem "America".


    Sophie Plouviez, PhD Duke Marine Lab

Sophie Plouviez received her PhD in Biology from the University of Paris and is in the second year of her postdoctoral appointment at the Duke Marine Lab. Dr. Plouviez’s research focuses on population connectivity in hydrothermal vent and cold seep ecosystems using Next Generation Sequencing approaches. Specifically, she is comparing populations of two deep-sea hydrothermal vent limpet species (Lepetodrilus schrolli and Olgasolaris tollmani) from multiple ocean basins in the southwest Pacific.

Dr. Plouviez will participate in the 13th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand, where she will present her results and also organize a special session on Next Generation Sequencing in the Deep-Sea.


Shannon Smith, DVM  Shannon Smith, DVM Division of Laboratory Animal Resources

Shannon Smith received her DVM from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, working towards her certification from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Smith’s research focuses on hormone-induction of lactation protocol in non-pregnant non-human primates, with the goal of developing a vaccine that confers long-term immunity to the infants of HIV-positive breastfeeding mothers.

Because the use of laboratory fish in research is rapidly escalating, Dr. Smith will attend a short course, “Health and Colony Management of Laboratory Fish”, at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, where course topics will include general system design and water quality management, anatomy and histology of fish, and disease management for laboratory-maintained fish colonies.


The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2012 Awards Committee: Dr. Sherilynn Black, Dr. Erin Glynn, Dr. Claire Gordy, Ms. Molly Starback, and Dr. Anne West.