Postdoctoral Association

PDA committee






As an association run by postdocs for postdocs, the WSU-PDA's mission is to promote the professional development and social well-being of the postdoctoral community at Wayne State University. We aim to:

  • Optimize the professional development of postdoctoral scholars at Wayne State University in order to facilitate their successful transition to a professional career
  • Promote social interactions between its members by creating a forum for social gathering and discussion of issues related to the postdoctoral experience at WSU.
  • ​Recognize outstanding postdoctoral scholars at WSU, highlight the impact of postdoctoral research within WSU and connect WSU postdoctoral scholars to regional and national postdoctoral organizations.
  • Organize community outreach efforts by the postdoctoral scholars of WSU.

The WSU-PDA is run by a steering committee composed of a dedicated team of postdocs from various departments across the WSU campus. In addition to the steering committee, several standing committees have been set up to effectively carry out the mission of the WSU-PDA. These include the Professional Development, Advocacy, Media and Networking, Events, and Fundraising and Publications committees. The advisor for the PDA is Associate Dean of Compliance and Postdoctoral Development, Sokol Todi.

​Please read the WSU-PDA's bylaws for further information.

Meet the PDA

PDA 2019 committee member bios

Want to join the PDA? Email and a committee member will be in touch with you. Sign up to get timely email alerts of all our activities and other relevant information for postdocs. You can also follow us and join our group on Facebook and LinkedIn.

We are always looking for postdocs who would like to get involved.  If interested, please contact Chitra Thakur, or Stefanie Baier,

PDA leadership at the National Postdoc Association meeting 2018

PDA leadership attended the National Postdoc Assocciation meeting in Cleveland, OH, April 5 - 8, 2-18.

Upcoming events

WSU-PDA Spotlight Seminar May 2019

Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, May 16
5057 Woodward Ave., Graduate School, Conference Room #C

Featuring Grace Swanson, Ph.D. RSVP to Marufa Rumman,

Dr. Grace Swanson received her Ph.D. from Howard University College of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Muneer Abbas at the National Human Genome Center. Her dissertation research focused on evaluating the epigenetic alteration of miRNAs downstream of serotonin receptor 7 in response to chronic psychological and physical violence within the landscape of protective and detrimental SNP variation.  Presently, she is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Krawetz at the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development. Her work is focused on defining key epigenetic markers in sperm altered by acute and cumulative life stress that will impact reproductive potential and be delivered to the oocyte upon fertilization.

The title of her talk is "Obesity and sperm: a story of chromatin modification." 

Past events

WSU-PDA Spotlight Seminar April 2019

Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, April 18
5057 Woodward, Graduate School, #C

Featuring Elizabeth L. Johnson, Ph.D. RSVP to Marufa Rumman,

Dr. Elizabeth L. Johnson studies the brain with an emphasis on memory. She has dual appointments with Dr. Noa Ofen (Wayne State University), where she leads the intracranial EEG program, and Dr. Robert Knight (University of California, Berkeley). She is also a Science Mentor for the journal Frontiers for Young Minds. Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from the University of Chicago.

The title of her talk is "Measuring memory directly from the developing brain." 

WSU-PDA Spotlight Seminar March 2019

Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, March 21
Scott Hall, #1358 | 540 E. Canfield St.

Featuring Samaresh Sau, Ph.D. RSVP to Marufa Rumman at

Samaresh Sau, Ph.D. is a senior research scientist at Dr. Arun Iyer's lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wayne State University. Dr. Sau received his Ph.D. from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, India. He started his post doc journey at Purdue University. Dr. Sau has developed a variety of smart therapeutic and diagnostic agents, including small molecule drugs, polymeric and lipid nanoparticle, and antibody drug conjugates for improving current therapeutic outcome in tumor, MRSA and autoimmune disease. He demonstrated the tumor hypoxia directed nano-formulation in combination with clinically approved drug can reprogram the tumor promoting immune cells, including macrophages and T cells. He has invented a high vancomycin-antibiotic loaded lipid nanoparticle for significant inhibition of staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and superior therapeutic benefits in animal model. One of his patented technologies was funded by a Michigan Translational Research & Commercialization (MTRAC) grant for clinical translation. Beside research activities, he is involved in mentoring Ph.D., PharmD and MS students and writing grant applications for funding.

The title of his talk is "Drug Delivery Agents for Disease Treatment and Immune Cell Modulation." 

WSU-PDA Spotlight Seminar February 2019

Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, February 21
5057 Woodward Ave., 6th floor, Graduate School, Conference Room C

Featuring Razieh Kebriaei, PhD '16. RSVP to Marufa Rumman at

Razieh Kebriaei is a postdoctoral fellow at Anti-Infective Research Laboratory at Wayne State University. Her research is focused on pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic simulation models of infectious diseases. She started her research work as a biomedical engineer at Wayne State University. Her PhD thesis was focused on high-throughput screening and measurement of protein contents of biological samples. Her most recent publication is "Influence of inoculum effect on efficacy of daptomycin monotherapy and in combination with β-lactams against daptomycin-susceptible Enterococcus faecium harboring LiaSR substitutions."

The title of her talk is "When bacteria meet more than one antibiotic." She will share experiences on how combination therapy can lead to resistance prevention and reduction of bacterial burden in patients with serious infections such as endocarditis.

WSU Graduate School's first Postdoc Open House

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15
Student Center Ballroom

For those unable to particpate in the Postdoc Open House, click here to download the PDF of the slides shown. Join us in the coming years for similar events!

WSU-PDA Annual Meeting 2018

Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 20
Scott Hall, Room 1328 (540 E. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201)

The meeting will start with a postdoctoral scholar spotlight of Dr. Karl Koebke, followed by the PDA election. 

Karl Koebke, Ph.D., Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Medicine 

Karl Koebke received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the lab of Professor Andy Pacheco, analyzing the kinetics of heme-mediated nitric oxide dioxygenation within several heme proteins. He then spent three years working in the lab of Professor Vincent Pecoraro at the University of Michigan, designing de novo protein models of various cupredoxins, copper nitrite reductase, and superoxide dismutase. He currently works in the lab of Professor Timothy Stemmler at Wayne State University where he is designing a competitive assay for determining Fe(II) dissociation constants of proteins within the mitochondrial FeS cluster biogenesis pathway of yeast. His research interests include the study and design of bioinorganic proteins with applications in alternative fuels and methods to control secondary sphere interactions within de novo bioinorganic peptides. 

The title of his talk is "Rational tuning of de novo cupredoxin model spectroscopy: The Journey from red to green to blue." 

2018 Southeast Michigan Postdoctoral Symposium 

On October 6, 2018 the University of Michigan hosted the 2018 Southeast Michigan Postdoctoral Symposium. Postdoctoral Researchers from the southeast region of Michigan were in attendance, including thirteen postdocs from Wayne State University and the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, Dr. Sokol Todi. Dr. Stefanie Baier, Vice Chair of the WSU PDA gave an update on the postdoctoral activities at WSU. Several of our postdocs and graduate students presented their research  either as 3-Minute Talks or as poster presentations. Among the presenters were Grace Swanson, Bernard Bahaha, Lauren Chaby, Peter Y Hsueh, S. Kiran Koya, Shariat Mobasser, Nadia Saadat, Prakaimuk Saraithong, Md. Hafiz Uddin, and Phuong Vo. Panel discussions provided insights into engaging with the general public, women and minorities in science, and international studies and politics. Participants also had the opportunity to work with a career coach. WSU postdocs also took advantage of the networking opportunities at the event. New ways on how the regional university postdoctoral associations can collaborate more closely were discussed with a focus on offering more professional development opportunities at our partner institutions.

WSU-PDA Spotlight Seminar February 2018

3 to 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23
Mazurek Education Commons, Stapleton (320 E Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201)    

Featuring presentations from postdoctoral scholars Amy Pennar, Ph.D., School of Medicine, and Kate Rollert French, Ph.D., College of Education. RSVP to Marufa Rumman at

Amy Pennar, Ph.D., Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine

Amy Pennar is a Researcher of Biobehavioral Health in Urban Settings Today (RoBUST) Postdoctoral Fellow in Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. Her primary research interests focus on the mechanisms through which health and culture affect individual development and family dynamics as they evolve over time and in diverse contexts. Her postdoctoral research, under the direction of Dr. Sylvie Naar-King and Dr. Mark Luborsky, centers on the effect of HIV-infection on adolescent biopsychological functioning, medication adherence, and long-term health outcomes.

The title of her talk is "Optimizing your academic job visit."
She will describe the tips, strategies, and pitfalls of interviewing, dining and communicating with faculty, chairs and deans during academic job visits.

Kate Rollert French, Ph.D., WSU College of Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Kate Rollert French, is a postdoctoral fellow at Wayne State University's College of Education, in the department of administrative and organizational studies. French began her career as an AP Biology teacher in Dallas, Texas. She most recently completed her dual Ph.D. in Educational Policy K-12 Educational Administration with a specialization in urban education at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the experiences of new teachers working in urban schools--with an emphasis on justice-oriented pedagogy.

Description of her talk:
Drawing on literature around the first-year experiences of new teachers working in urban schools—including their unique vulnerability for emotional turbulence as they undergo the Moir (1990) First Year Phases of Teaching model—this talk will examine the changing beliefs of brand new urban educators as they progress throughout their first year as teacher of record.  Findings from 50 interviews, 15 observations, and 15 surveys suggest that new teachers are more likely to change their beliefs when they undergo various stages of emotional conflict and will turn to more experienced colleagues at their new school for advice and insight. This can contribute to belief change and impact classroom practice. Teachers are more likely to change their beliefs during the middle of the school year—specifically during the survival and disillusionment phases of the Moir (1990) model. Contributions to Critical Theory and implications for policy concerning social equality—and inequality—are discussed. 

*If you would like to be removed from the WSU-PDA e-mail list, send an e-mail (from the e-mail address you would like removed) to LISTSERV@LISTS.WAYNE.EDU with the text: signoff POSTDOCS