2015 Duke Postdoctoral Awards for 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 2015 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.


    Peter Larsen, PhD, Biology

Peter Larsen received his PhD in Zoology from Texas Tech University and has been a Postdoctoral Associate with Dr. Anne Yoder in the Biology Department since 2012.  His research focuses on disease surveillance and evolutionary genomics of Madagascar’s lemurs.

Dr. Larsen will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the 95th Annual American Society of Mammalogists meeting in Jacksonville, FL, where he will give an oral presentation.


 Chris Nelson, PhD  Christopher Nelson, PhD, Biomedical Engineering

Christopher Nelson completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Arkansas and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 2014. In his graduate work under the direction of Professor Craig Duvall, he built material platforms for efficient and sustained delivery of small interfering RNA to improve tissue regeneration. Dr. Nelson is now a postdoctoral associate with Professor Charles Gersbach at Duke University. His current work seeks to apply genome engineering techniques to correct the underlying genetic dysfunction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Dr. Nelson will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Controlled Release Society Annual Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he will give a platform presentation.


    Anthony Parolari, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tony Parolari joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2012, after completing his PhD at MIT. His research focuses on the development of quantitative models that link the water cycle to ecosystem processes, like agricultural productivity. Dr. Parolari also leads the Duke Research Integration Voyage for Engineers (DRIVE), a field research immersion program for CEE undergrads.

Dr. Pariolari will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science in Andover, NH, entitled “Thresholds in Time and Space”, where he and his graduate student mentee will both present posters.


    Maura Sabatos-DeVito, PhD, Psychology and Neuroscience

Maura Sabatos-DeVito received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Postdoctoral Associate with the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences under the mentorship of Dr. Geraldine Dawson. Her research explores the effects of cord blood stem cell therapy on behavioral outcomes for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Her primary research interests include exploring early developmental differences and risk, as well as early intervention approaches, for ASD.

Dr. Sabatos-DeVito will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend a week-long workshop on "Modeling Individual Differences in Behavior" at NC State University. This workshop focuses on advanced statistical techniques in multiple regression and latent variable and multilevel modeling.


     Tiffany Williams, PhD, Duke Marine Lab

Tiffany Williams received her PhD in 2014 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and is now a Postdoctoral Associate under the mentorship of Dr. Dana Hunt at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Her research focuses on how microscale interactions between heterotrophic bacteria and phytoplankton may drive the ecology of microbial habitats in marine environments. Additionally, Tiffany is building a mesocosm system to investigate how natural microbial communities respond to the effects of environmental stressors related to ocean acidification.  

Dr. Williams will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to present her research at the American Society for Microbiology's 115th General Meeting in New Orleans, LA.


    Luke Xie, PhD, Radiology

Luke Xie obtained his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. He is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for In Vivo Microscopy in Radiology of Duke University Medical Center. His research aims to advance preclinical MRI to study the structure and function in models of kidney disease. These models include acute kidney injury, polycystic kidney disease, inflammation and fibrosis, and diabetic nephropathy.

Dr. Xie will use the Postdoctoral Professional Development Award to attend the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 23rd Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Toronto, Ontario, where he will give an invited talk, an oral presentation, and an e-­poster presentation.

The Office of Postdoctoral Services thanks the 2015 Awards Committee: Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Dr. Hugh Crumley, Dr. Erin Sparks, and Ms. Molly Starback.