2019 cohort of President’s Postdoctoral Scholars selected

Ohio State has named 10 outstanding young researchers as the 2019 cohort of President’s Postdoctoral Scholars. The recipients were selected from a diverse and highly competitive pool of national and international applicants. The cohort’s research ranges from applying tissue engineering methodology to improve plastic surgery patient’s outcomes, to using novel mass spectrometry-based approaches to study histone proteins, to analyzing farmers’ livelihood strategies using social science theories, to examining the inflammatory mediators of stress exposure and neurodevelopment in preterm infants.

The President’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program, supported by the Office of the President, was launched in January 2018 to recognize outstanding young researchers at the university and aid in the recruitment of highly qualified postdoctoral trainees who will become leaders in their fields.

Meet the 2019 Scholars:

Jenny BarkerJenny Barker
Faculty Mentor: Christopher Breuer, Pediatric Surgery

Jenny earned her BS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her MD and PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is a resident in the Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency Program at Ohio State. Jenny is currently in the midst of a three-year research sabbatical being performed at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She would like to focus on applying tissue engineering methodology to improve the outcomes of plastic surgery patients. Her long-term career objective is to be a surgeon-scientist focused on translational research in the field of wound healing.


Andreas FiedlerAndreas Fiedler
Faculty Mentor: Siddharth Rajan, Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Andreas received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the Humboldt-University of Berlin. In March 2015 he started working on his doctorate at the Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung (Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth). His research focuses on the characterization of the formation and the influence of defects on the properties of ß-Ga2O3 – a promising material for power electronics. While working on his PhD, he contributed to nine articles and gave eight contributed talks. Andreas was elected as the representative to help severely disabled persons represent and defend their rights.


Jeremy HendersonJeremy Henderson
Faculty Mentor: Juan Alfonzo, Microbiology 

Jeremy received his BS in Biochemistry from Ohio State University and his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a postdoctoral research scientist under the mentorship of Dr. Juan D Alfonzo in the Department of Microbiology and the Center for RNA Biology at Ohio State. His research focuses on the mechanisms of RNA modification and editing within the human parasite Trypanosoma brucei. He is also studying a pair of enzymes that appear to co-activate one another – a first of its kind discovery that has equally broad impact on our understanding of molecular mechanisms within general biology.


Kelly KarchKelly Karch
Faculty Mentor: Vicki Wysocki, Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Kelly earned a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Franklin and Marshall College and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research uses novel mass spectrometry (MS)-based approaches to study histone proteins, which are crucial for regulation of many nuclear processes. She has developed MS methodology to detect and quantify ADP-ribosylation, a post-translational modification involved in DNA damage detection and repair as well as hydrogen deuterium exchange (HDX) methodology coupled to top-down and middle-down MS to monitor histone protein dynamics in solution.


Wasiur R. Khuda BukhshWasiur R. Khuda Bukhsh
Faculty Mentor: Eben Kenah, Biostatistics 

Wasiur holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Calcutta, a master’s degree in statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute and a PhD from the Technische Universitat Darmstadt. His thesis work focused on developing model reduction techniques for agent-based and queuing systems with applications in communication networks. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State. He is interested in applications of probability theory, statistical inference and survival analysis to problems in epidemiology, biology and other branches of science. His goal is to design better public health interventions.


Katherine MifflinKatherine Mifflin
Faculty Mentor: Phillip Popovich, Neuroscience 

Katherine completed her BSc Hons in Neuroscience at Dalhousie University, during which time she studied chronic pain in a pediatric population. She earned her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta, where she studied the sex differences, exercise interventions and chronic pain in a murine model of multiple sclerosis. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Phillip Popovich at Ohio State. Her research focuses on exploring the potential relationship between gut dysbiosis and the development of infection after high level spinal cord injuries.


Marliese NistMarliese Nist
Faculty Mentor: Tondi Harrison, Nursing

Marliese earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ohio State. She will complete her PhD program in Ohio State’s College of Nursing in August 2019. Marliese is passionate about caring for preterm infants and their families. Her research aims to optimize preterm infant neurodevelopment. For her dissertation, she is using a non-experimental, longitudinal approach to examine inflammatory mediators of stress exposure and neurodevelopment in preterm infants. As a postdoctoral scholar, Marliese will continue to develop her program of research through training in intervention research.


Nicole PfiesterNicole Pfiester
Faculty Mentor: Sanjay Krishna, Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Nicole received her BS in Physics from Purdue University, where she was first introduced to semiconductors through research on GaN nanowire growth via molecular beam epitaxy. She received an MS in Electrical Engineering and the first Joint-PhD in Electrical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering from Tufts University. While working on her PhD, Nicole was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and Future Leader of Engineering Fellow. Her research interests include photonic and optoelectronic devices, with an emphasis on leveraging materials engineering and nanostructures to improve their performance. She won several funding competitions and an award for her contributions to undergraduate education.


Steven ProhiraSteven Prohira
Faculty Mentor: John Beacom, Physics

Steven received his Masters and PhD in Physics from the University of Kansas. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in at Ohio State’s Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. His research has primarily focused on radio-based detection techniques for high-energy particles, such as cosmic rays and neutrinos. He helped to develop a firmware trigger for the Telescope Array Radar (TARA) experiment in central Utah, which sought to detect cosmic-ray air showers using a radar technique. In 2018, Steven led the most ambitious experiment to date to test the feasibility of radar detection of high energy particle cascades in dense material (analysis is ongoing).


Andrea RissingAndrea Rissing
Faculty Mentor: Douglas Jackson-Smith, School of Environment and Natural Resources 

Andrea received her BA in Anthropology from Grinnell College and her PhD in Anthropology from Emory University. She is a cultural and economic anthropologist whose research interests focus on critical agrarian studies, sustainable food systems, alternative economies and political economies of industrial agriculture in the United States. She uses social science theories and methods to analyze farmers’ livelihood strategies and the innovations that can arise when multiple approaches to growing food encounter each other. At Ohio State, she will explore the socio-economic factors that lead some beginning farmers to leave agriculture while other new farmers, running apparently similar operations, continue to farm.