Whether you are a prospective postdoc, a new postdoc at Drexel University College of Medicine, or you are finishing your postdoctoral training and looking for a job, there are policies, definitions, training opportunities, manuals, forms, information and links to help guide you, educate you and focus your energies on the task at hand.
What Is a Postdoc?
A postdoctoral appointment at Drexel University College of Medicine:
- Is a temporary training position (generally five years or less)
- Involves substantial full-time research or scholarship
- Prepares the trainee for a full-time career
- Is not part of a clinical training program
- Is performed under the supervision of one or more senior scholars or a department
- Allows and encourages the postdoc to publish the results of their research or scholarship
Grants and Fellowships
Meet a Postdoc
Elena Irollo, PharmD, PhD, is a research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Olimpia Meucci in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology. The major focus of Dr. Irollo's research is to understand how opioid drug use contributes to the progression of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). To this end, Dr. Irollo studies opioid-induced synaptic damage and opioid regulation of the neuroprotective CXCL12/CXCR4 chemokine signaling axis. She is also interested in the effect of chemokines and other immune mediators in brain tumor development and progression.
Before joining the Meucci Lab in 2018, Dr. Irollo worked as postdoctoral research fellow at Thomas Jefferson University in the Department of Cancer Biology, where she investigated the role of stress granules in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment. During this time, Dr. Irollo was elected as an executive board member of the Jefferson Postdoctoral Association, and she served the postdoctoral community as vice president of social affairs.
Dr. Irollo obtained her PharmD degree from the University of Naples, Italy, and her PhD in cancer biology from the University of Erlangen, Germany. Her doctoral work demonstrated that collagen-X is a novel specific stromal biomarker for the detection of malignant colorectal carcinomas. Her findings formed the basis of our understanding that collagen-X analysis could be used in routinely processed primary tumor tissues as prognostic profilers to identify high-risk patients.
Dr. Irollo is currently the chair of the Career & Professional Development Committee for the Drexel Postdoctoral Association, and is actively involved in developing, implementing, disseminating and evaluating professional development programs for postdoctoral fellows. She aims to help research fellows expand their research development knowledge and add valuable skills to both their professional and personal toolboxes.
Roshell Muir, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow in infectious diseases and HIV medicine, working in the lab of Dr. Elias El Haddad. She previously completed postdoctoral work in human immunology at The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, and earned her PhD in medicine with a concentration in immunology at Queen's University Belfast.
Roshell presented her PhD thesis and published her work on the identification of type 3 innate lymphoid cells in the lung during acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Her postdoctoral projects include looking at the role of T helper–dependent B cell responses in acute HIV infection, and the characterization of Tfh function and germinal center B cell responses in a model of adjuvant HIV vaccination with long-term probiotic (Pbio) treatment.
Roshell collaborates with groups from the Thai Red Cross and Military HIV Research Program, and the University of Washington. She has coauthored with her colleagues in the lab as well as colleagues from other departments at Drexel. She has a keen interest in advocating for fellow postdocs and in graduate student curriculum development.
Irene Headen, PhD, MS, is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative in the Dornsife School of Public Health. Her research interests center around the social and structural determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Headen's work investigates how differences in exposure to neighborhoods and other urban environments across the life course impact inequities in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Her doctoral work examined associations between long-term trajectories of neighborhood deprivation and women's risk of gaining too much or too little weight during pregnancy, both of which have adverse implications for maternal and infant health.
Previously, as a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Centers of Excellence postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Headen studied how neighborhood environments interact with individual-level interventions to modify their effectiveness on pregnancy-related cardiometabolic outcomes. Her current work studies associations between place-based, early education initiatives, including Promise Neighborhoods, and maternal, child and family health outcomes in low-income communities. Dr. Headen earned her bachelor of science in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of science and doctorate in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Swathi Swaminathan, PhD, is a third-year postdoctoral associate from the Vascular Kinetic Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Drexel University. This is her first postdoc position after receiving her PhD in biological engineering at Utah State University. Her mentor is Dr. Alisa Morss Clyne. Dr. Swaminathan's research focus includes fabricating in vitro models to study endothelial cell metabolic interactions with parenchymal tissues along with investigating the effect of inflammatory markers on aortic stiffness following spinal cord injury. She collaborates with Drexel's Department of Biology, the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rowan University. She has authored a number of publications and mentored high school students, undergraduates and PhD students. Dr. Swaminathan ardently believes in promoting collaboration and wellness initiatives among fellow postdocs to help them stay motivated and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Mamta Shah, PhD, is a third-year postdoctoral scholar in the Games and Learning in Interactive Digital Learning Environments (GLIDE) Lab at Drexel University. She earned her PhD in educational leadership and learning technologies from Drexel University. She trained with faculty from a variety of disciplines including educational psychology, educational technology, and learning sciences. She earned both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in human development from University of Mumbai, India.
General interests: Dr. Shah is passionate about examining learning with new media and investigating the design and implementation of professional development opportunities for teachers (a) to understand the dynamic nature of teaching and learning with technology, and by extension unearthing teachers’ roles and presence in digitally evolving classrooms, (b) to acquire the analytical and pedagogical knowledge and skills to incorporate technology in creative ways in their practice, and (c) to explore, reflect on and reframe their professional identities as teachers who are motivated to teach with complex environments for learning such as digital games.
Selected current projects: In her current appointment as a postdoctoral scholar in the NSF CAREER grant awarded to her supervisor, Dr. Aroutis Foster (DRL#1350707), Dr. Shah designed and implemented a year-long professional development for preservice science teachers focusing on the development of and change in teacher learning and identity for game-based learning (Foster & Shah, 2017; Shah & Foster, 2018). She is also currently spearheading a project (funded by the School of Education) called "Facilitating 21st Century Knowledge and Skills and Motivation to Learn Through STEAMulating Play-based Experiences in Informal Settings." One of the key goals of this design-based research project includes working with environmental educators in Philadelphia to create and implement a maker-course to bridge high school students’ experiences with Little Bits and Makey Makey to disciplinary knowledge, transdisciplinary skills, and their interest in STEAM through the use of the Play Curricular activity Reflection Discussion (PCaRD) play-based pedagogical model (Foster & Shah, 2015).
Mentoring: Dr. Shah's motivation to be part of the founding members of the Drexel Postdoctoral Association is to be able to serve as a mentor to doctoral students aspiring a postdoc experience and to postdoc scholars who are just beginning their journey. She is excited to be able to guide them toward seeking professional development opportunities both within Drexel and beyond that can contribute to their growth as promising academics. She is also an academic mama and is happy to provide a space for academics seeking guidance on work-life balance.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. Good luck and enjoy your postdoctoral experience, one of the most enjoyable research experiences you will ever have!
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