Current Fellows

First year fellows

We are still accepting applications from prospective Fellows for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Carla da Silva Batista, Ph.D.

Carla Batista Headshot 360

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Neurology 

Carla da Silva Batista holds a Ph.D. and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of São Paulo in Movement Sciences with a background in exercise physiology and Parkinson’s disease. Her graduate research focused on improving clinical outcomes (e.g., motor signs, mobility, and cognition) in individuals with Parkinson’s disease by investigating the pathophysiology of these clinical outcomes and improving them with exercise interventions with high sensorimotor demand. As a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Balance Disorders Laboratory at the Department of Neurology, Batista’s research will focus on using news rehabilitation strategies to improve neurophysiological mechanisms that can be predictors of disease progression. Under Dr. Mancini mentorship, Batista will investigate if vibrotactile feedback can restore loss of spinal mechanisms in people with Parkinson’s disease and start hesitation. Her long-term goals are to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to investigate the use of news rehabilitation strategies with high sensorimotor integration in improving neurophysiological mechanisms that can be predictors of disease progression with the goal of preventing falls as a principal investigator.

Alexis Gibson, Ph.D.

Alexis Gibsno

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Immunology

Alexis Gibson is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Isabella Rauch in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Immunology. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. During her graduate work in the lab of Boris Striepen, Alexis studied the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium and how its epithelial host cell responds to infection. Now at OHSU, her post-doc work will focus on innate pathogen recognition in intestinal epithelial cells through inflammasomes and the impact of extrusion and cell death in infection and chronic disease. 

Mauricio Sousa, Ph.D.

Mauricio Sousa

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Restorative Dentistry 

Mauricio Gonçalves da Costa Sousa is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Luiz Bertassoni laboratory at the School of Dentistry. He received his BSE in dentistry (2014) at the Catholic University of Brasilia, a Master’s in health sciences (2017) at the University of Brasilia, and a Ph.D. in Genomic Sciences and Biotechnology at Catholic University of Brasilia. His graduate research focused on developing a new antibiofilm and immunomodulatory nanofibrous scaffold loaded with host defense peptides to regenerate the dental pulp tissue. As a postdoc, Mauricio will develop a smart bioprinted hydrogel loaded with host defense peptides and bone marrow stem cells to reconstruct the bone tissue.

Joshua Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Joshua Gonzalez

Postdoctoral Researcher, Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences

Joshua Gonzalez is a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Nicole Bowles and Dr. Steven Shea at the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences. He received his PhD from Michigan Technological University in integrative physiology with a background in autonomic cardiovascular control. His graduate research focused on how short-term fasting influences autonomic balance and the acute influence of e-cigarettes on arterial pressure and peripheral sympathetic activity in humans.  As a postdoc, Josh’s research will focus on sleep and circadian physiology and how they contribute to disparities in hypertension. Under Dr. Bowles mentorship, Josh will study how one’s socio-cultural context may augment how an individual processes stress and the concomitant impact on sleep. His long-term goals are to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to investigate the intersectional impact of circadian rhythms, race, sleep, and nicotine usage on hypertension and autonomic dysfunction as a principal investigator.

Natasha Fowler, Ph.D.

Natasha Fowler

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

Natasha Fowler is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Deena Walker’s lab in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience. She holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Michigan State University under the mentorship of Drs. Kelly Klump and Cheryl Sisk. Her graduate work examined the role of stress and ovarian hormones on binge eating behavior in women and female rats. As a post-doc, Natasha’s research will focus on understanding how adolescent stress interacts with reward processes to influence natural (food) and drug reward-related behaviors in a sex-specific manner.  

Community fellows

Several postdoctoral fellows have completed their first year at OHSU with funding through OFDIR and have remained at OHSU to finish their postdoctoral work and stay involved in OFDIR programming. Learn more about their research and stories below.  

Jaime Abrego, Ph.D.

Jaime Abrego

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology 

Jaime Abrego is a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Mara Sherman in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology department. Jaime was born in Mexico and grew up in Conyers, Georgia. He joined the University of Nebraska Medical Center to pursue his Ph.D. in cancer research at the Eppley Institute for Cancer Research. During his pre-doctoral training, Jaime’s research focused on studying metabolic reprogramming of pancreatic cancer at the cellular level. As a graduate student, he was author on several peer-reviewed publications, he presented his research at major national conferences and developed strong mentorship in the laboratory and classroom. While in the Sherman lab, Jaime's research will focus in studying the role of free fatty acids in the microenvironment of pancreatic tumors. As a postdoctoral fellow, he expects to continue producing impactful research for the betterment of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. Jaime’s short-term goal is to publish his research and become an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow. His long-term goal is to develop the skills and knowledge to study the tumor microenvironment of pancreatic tumors as a principal investigator.

Alejandra Fernandez, Ph.D.

Alejandra Fernandez

Postdoctoral Researcher, Vollum Institute 

Alejandra Fernandez is a postdoctoral researcher at the Vollum Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular medicine from the George Washington University (2018). Throughout her career, Alejandra has focused on the intersection of metabolism, gene regulation and circuit development. She is currently studying the effects of altered signaling of a mayor nutrient pathway, the PI3K-PTEN-mTOR network, in the development of the peripheral nervous system in Dr. Kevin Wright’s laboratory.

Robert Hermosillo, Ph.D.

Robert Hermosillo

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience 

Robert Hermosillo holds bachelor's and master's degrees in neurophysiology from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in systems neuroscience from the University of British Columbia (2015). He held a Postdoctoral fellowship in speech and hearing sciences, investigating speech motor disorders at the University of Washington in Seattle with Dr. Ludo Max. He uses a combination of machine learning algorithms, genetics and state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques to look at brain networks and classify neuropsychiatric disorders. Robert’s background is in computational neuroscience, investigating how the organic circuitry of the brain is able to perform computations that humans can use to control their limbs in a coordinated manner. Currently, his research aim is to be able to find patterns of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or genes that result in aberrant developmental brain circuits in neuropathological disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Robert is involved with the OHSU Post-doctoral Association and the Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science

Sará King, Ph.D.

Sara King

Postdoctoral Fellow, Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders 

Sará King is a mother, a UCLA-trained neuroscientist, anthropologist, education philosopher, and political scientist. She completed her B.A. degrees in Linguistics and Black Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA before coming to OHSU. Her work integrates culturally celebratory yoga and mindfulness practices into a community intervention for Alzheimer’s disease for the African-American community of Portland (SHARP). SHARP is headed up by Dr. Raina Croff and supported by the OHSU Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Her research also currently focuses on healing the trauma of gentrification and its impact on brain and cognitive health. Sará is also an internationally recognized thought leader in field of mindfulness and social justice in schools, and has enjoyed public speaking and advocacy work at the intersection of these fields. 

Ernesto Manzo, Ph.D.

Ernesto Manzo

Postdoctoral Fellow, Vollum Institute 

Ernesto Manzo is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Marc Freeman, researching the cellular mechanisms that control neuronal decay. His research uses the fruit fly as a model organism to better understand how neurons either survive or degenerate in response to genetic insults. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, he became fascinated by how genetic alterations cause human disease. In 2010, he sought out an internship at the Clinic for Special Children, where he studied genetic diseases in the Amish and Mennonite Plain populations under Dr. Erik G. Puffenberger. He received his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona (2019) where he studied metabolic defects implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the laboratory of Dr. Daniela C. Zarnescu. Ernesto is a former HHMI predoctoral Gilliam Fellow with an interest in breaking down institutional barriers for traditionally underrepresented students in higher education. 

Benjamin Sarno, Ph.D.

Ben Sarno

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology 

Benjamin Sarno is a postdoctoral researcher currently working in Dr. Gordon Mills’ lab in the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology. He received his PhD from the University of California San Diego in Chemical and Bioengineering with a background in cancer diagnostics. His  =work is focused in liquid biopsy technologies for cancer therapeutics and condition monitoring. Ben is currently developing a translational technology to interrogate blood plasma from triple negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer patients to identify key biomarkers for early diagnosis and therapy monitoring. He is also leading an exploratory effort to define potential bacterial biomarkers from opportunistic cultures found in tumor necrotic regions. In addition to his laboratory research, Ben is also passionate about challenging preconceived notions about who and what makes a “scientist” and breaking down barriers to create more ethical and diverse workspaces.