The Dean's Postdoctoral Fellows
The Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship sponsored by:
Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership and Office for Postdoctoral Fellows
2021 Dean's Postdoctoral Fellow
Chelsea Powell, PhD
Dr. Chelsea Powell is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. A. Sloan Devlin, Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. Before joining Dr. Devlin’s lab, Dr. Powell’s research focused on using chemical biology techniques in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches for targeting kinase activity in cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Powell is applying her training in chemical biology in order to understand the mechanistic connections between the human gut microbiota and host circadian rhythm. This research aims to reveal fundamental relationships between feeding, circadian rhythm, the microbiome, and metabolic homeostasis, and may pave the way for new microbiota-inspired therapies to treat metabolic and cardiovascular diseases that result from circadian misalignment. Dr. Powell received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University in 2014 and her Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Biology from Harvard University in 2020.
2020 Dean's Postdoctoral Fellows
Dr. Demetrice Jordan is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Bonds, Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine. As a Health and Medical Geographer with a background in environmental science and policy, Dr. Jordan’s research investigates health and disease from a spatial perspective, at the landscape and population level, offering scalable health risk reduction approaches to global communities. In the Bond’s Ecology of Poverty Lab, Dr. Jordan will utilize geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis to examine the physical, ecological, and social determinants of disease risk, explore the spatial distributions of negative health outcomes, analyze barriers to health care access among geographically isolated households, and develop strategies to encourage poverty alleviation of the Malagasy people. Dr. Jordan received her Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Georgia State University, her Master of Arts in Health Geography and Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Georgia State University, and a Dual Doctor of Philosophy in Geography, Environmental and Spatial Science and Environmental Science and Policy from Michigan State University.
Dr. Sara Romero is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Vikram Patel, Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Before joining Dr. Patel’s group, Dr. Romero’s research focused on assessing stress and trauma reactions and its related health outcomes within Latinx migrant communities in the United States. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Romero’s program of research will integrate interdisciplinary and multi-method approaches to understand how the interplay of Latinx cultural values and psychosocial factors influence stress and trauma reactions within migrant communities in Latin America in efforts to implement a psychological intervention via task-sharing approaches to mitigate such reactions. Dr. Romero received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary College, her Master of Arts in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University.
Dr. Victor Puac-Polanco is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Ronald C. Kessler, McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy. Building on his previous work on psychiatric epidemiology in his native Guatemala, Dr. Puac-Polanco plans to comprehend the translational implications of the detection and treatment of behavioral health problems in low- and middle-income countries. Specifically, he will estimate the costs of untreated common mental disorders from a societal perspective, simulate implementation of policy to evaluate the likely effects of interventions to address the unmet need for treatment of mental disorders, and evaluate the effects of actual policy implementations in various parts of the world that occur in response to the simulations. Dr. Puac-Polanco received his Medical Degree from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in 2009, his Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, and his Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2020.
2019 Dean's Postdoctoral Fellows
Manal Adam is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Corey Harwell, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology. Dr. Adam’s research explores the role of epigenetic programming in the development of neuronal diversity in the brain. Using cutting edge molecular biology techniques and next-generation sequencing, she plans to assess the relevant genetic and epigenetic programs and progenitor types required for the production and specification of diverse neuron subtypes in the septum. She hopes her work will provide a foundation to understanding the development and function of temporally specified septum neuron types, and their contribution to behavioral circuits implicated in complex neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Adam received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Bournemouth University in 2014 and her Master of Science in Neuroscience in Developmental Neurobiology from King’s College London in 2015. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience at Cardiff University in 2019.
Joshua François, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Galit Lahav, Novartis Professor of Systems Biology. Before joining Dr. Lahav’s group, Dr. François investigated how extracellular matrix density affects the mechanics of 3-dimensional leukocyte migration. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. François uses his background in quantitative image analysis and leukocyte biology to understand how compound chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments affect cancer cell fates. Specifically, he investigates tumor suppresser protein p53 signaling dynamics in cancer cells after both DNA damage and interactions with immune cells. Dr. François’s research has implications for the design of more efficacious compound cancer therapy strategies while also contributing to the fundamental understanding of p53 signaling in response to extrinsic cues. Dr. François received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2011 and his Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego in 2018.
2018 Dean's Postdoctoral Fellow
Claudio L. Morales-Perez is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School under the guidance of Assistant Professor Maofu Liao. Dr. Morales-Perez studies the post-translational modifications of signaling proteins with lipid moieties. His research focuses on understanding the atomic-scale mechanisms of the membrane-bound O-acyltransferases. Specifically, the peptide/hormone acyltransferases which regulate multiple biological processes such as food intake, metabolism, cell proliferation and cell differentiation. He uses a variety of biochemical, biophysical and structural methods such as cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) to study their folding, dynamics, substrates selectivity and function. The hope of his study is to provide a high-resolution structure model that can be used as a template to design novel treatments for obesity, cancer and diabetes. Dr. Morales-Perez received his bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Puerto Rico in 2012 and his doctoral degree in Molecular Biophysics from UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2018.