OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research

Twp Fellows in The OHSU Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research Program in the library

Purpose and goals of the program

The OHSU Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research Program is a competitive program whose goal is to increase the diversity of the community of scholars devoted to academic scientific research at OHSU. We seek to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, and other diverse populations whose life experience, research experience and employment background will contribute significantly to the academic mission of OHSU. Fellowships are available for postdoctoral training and junior faculty research in all scientific areas of study at OHSU. Priority for fellowships will be given to individuals from historically underrepresented populations, U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents, and where there might be a research priority need. Successful candidates will receive mentored scholarly and research training as well as grant writing assistance to prepare them for a faculty position in a major university.

Who should apply (minimum requirements, area of study, etc.)

Eligibility

  • Postdoctoral scholars from other institutions who have completed their dissertation
  • Individuals with postdoctoral training experience looking to establish an independent academic research career
  • Postdocs and fellows who currently have a position at OHSU are ineligible for this program

Benefits of the program

Fellows receive a stipend based on the OHSU Minimum Rates and NIH (FY2017) Stipend Scales, up to $3,000 for relocation, and up to $5,000 in additional research funding. A "matchmaking" system will be used to match potential mentors with prospective candidates based on the research interests of the candidates.

In addition to research training and mentorship, Fellows and their research mentors will receive grant-writing assistance through the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. Fellows are trained to write fellowship awards appropriate to their training and career stage, such as NRSAs, K awards, foundation grants, and similar awards. 

To help Fellows  transition into life in Portland, they will be connected with members of the Portland community who will be tasked with welcoming new Fellows to the city and ensuring they have the accommodations necessary to make them feel comfortable, settled, and integrated into Portland life.

Start dates will be arranged in consultation with the faculty mentor.

Application process

Required application materials include:

1. A completed fellowship application

2. A curriculum vitae, including current and pending publications

3. A personal statement, no longer than two pages, single-spaced, which must address all of the following:

  • Reviews your previous research accomplishments
  • Outline of your future research goals and proposed research
  • How participation in this program would further your career

4. Two-three letters of reference from people acquainted with your work. One reference letter should be from a faculty mentor. Reference letters must be submitted electronically in pdf format.

Application: Find the application on our online portal.Click on the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research competition link and follow instructions for completing the application and uploading required documents.

Application Deadline: Rolling admission.

Contact information: OFDIR@ohsu.edu, 503-346-0344

Current fellows

Jaime Abrego, Ph.D.

Jaime Abrego

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology

Jaime Abrego is a postdoctoral fellow 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 earned his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska Medical Center 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 cancer-associated fibroblast in order to understand how these stromal mechanisms promote carcinogenesis of pancreatic cancer. 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.

Alejandra Fernandez, Ph.D.

Alejandra Fernandez

Postdoctoral Fellow, Vollum Institute

Alejandra Fernandez is a postdoctoral fellow 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. 

Alejandra 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.

Community Fellows

Shandee Dixon, Ph.D.

Associate Scientist, Knight Cancer Institute Center for Early Detection Advanced Research

Shandee Dixon is an associate scientist with the Knight Cancer Institute Center for Early Detection Advanced Research (CEDAR). She holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Michigan. Prior to her transition to CEDAR, she was an OHSU Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion in Research in the Microbiology and Immunology Department, served as an adjunct instructor at California State University, Los Angeles and led research projects in postdoctoral positions at the University of California, Irvine, and UCLA . Along with facilitation and research roles on multiple projects, Shandee currently serves as team lead in a project introducing "in-house" nanobody and other high-affinity binder technologies to CEDAR for use in biomarker detection and imaging strategies. Advancements made in this field will facilitate development of new minimally invasive diagnostic technology that is more accessible to all patients. During this time, she looks forward to leveraging her current position to advocate for support and inclusion of other aspiring scientists from low-income and under-represented backgrounds.

Cristiane Miranda Franca, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Restorative Dentistry

Cristiane Miranda Franca is a dentist scientist with a Ph.D. in oral pathology from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. The majority of her work was focused on the local modulation of immune cells in wound healing using photobiomodulation. Passionate about how research can improve people's lives, Cristiane joined OHSU to work at the School of Dentistry with Dr. Luiz Bertassoni, extending her experience to tissue engineering and organs-on-a-chip. She is currently working with microfluidic devices and 3D printing to study the effect of dentin matrix molecules and extracellular matrix mechanical properties on dental pulp angiogenesis. She anticipates this work will have potential to advance the dental field, not only for dental pulp regeneration, but also for other oral disorders.

Robert Hermosillo, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

Robert Hermosillo is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience. He holds bachelor and master 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, Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science and the Youth Engaged in Science (YES!) program.

Eugene Manley, Jr. Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine

Eugene Manley is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine. He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry at Boston University, his Master's in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. His Ph.D. focused on novel combination therapies for treatment of lung and brain cancer, and characterization of angiogenesis in cancer stem cell tumor models. His M.S. focused on mechanical testing of knee ligaments to determine optimal test durations for performing group comparisons. He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan where he worked on bone biology and biomechanics, and at Thomas Jefferson University where he studied signal transduction in heavy metal-induced carcinogenesis. His current research is to develop cyclic immunofluorescence to detect intratumoral heterogeneity and response to therapies in triple negative breast cancer. In addition to his research, he has participated or worked with the McNair Scholars, NEAGEP, NSBE, and Michigan AGEP to increase training, opportunities, and development of underrepresented minorities in STEM.

Ginnifer Mastarone, Ph.D.

Health Services Research Informatics Fellow, Portland VA Health Care System

Ginnifer Mastarone is a social scientist who specializes in human-computer interaction. Her work centers around the usability and usefulness of Health Information Technologies (HIT) in operational settings. Another arm of her research is the evaluation of decision aid tools that facilitate patients as they learn about medical conditions, treatment options, and engage in shared decision-making with their providers. As an OFDIR Fellow, Ginnifer contributed to the design, implementation and evaluation of software applications to improve patient access to health services. She worked with the National Office of Human Factors Engineering to develop a user experience (UX) Toolkit to improve informatics across the VA. She has been very involved with implementing health care programs using applied social science techniques. Ginnifer is currently a Health Services Research Informatics Fellow at the Portland VA Health Care System. There, she works closely with Dr. Kathleen Carlson to evaluate the barriers and facilitators to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program use. Additionally, she works closely with the Department of Clinical Informatics with her mentor Dr. Blake Lesselroth on quality improvement initiatives.

Oscar Miranda Dominguez, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

Oscar is a biomedical engineer with more than nine years of experience in research, industry and academy. He holds a master's in control engineering and automation (Tecnologico de Monterrey), and a Ph.D. from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, where he has developed expertise in neuroimaging and clinical research. 

Oscar has studied the brain at different spatiotemporal scales by using different mathematical frameworks and experimental approaches, going from single cell recordings in the hippocampal formation in rats to non-invasive functional MRI in mice, macaques and humans. He has directed his training to developed methods and technologies combining the latest findings from neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and clinical psychology to identify biomarkers of psychiatric and neurological disorders at their earlier manifestations, and to build model-based approaches to therapeutics. To this end, he is using functional MRI to a) extract unique and stable personalized brain fingerprints in different species that can be detected with limited data, b) identify shared patterns of brain connectivity among groups that generalize across studies, and c) methods to bridge functional neuroimaging findings across species. As a member of the Developmental Cognition and Neuroimaging laboratory, he collaborates closely with the Parkinson's Center of Oregon in several Projects aiming to characterize how brain function relates to cognition and mobility.

Jeffrey Proulx, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurology

Jeffrey Proulx was affected by stress-related outcomes he witnessed growing up in Native American and African American communities. The strengths of these communities influenced his career path and guided his research into the positive features of underserved communities as a means to address health disparities. As a health psychologist, he was drawn to OHSU because of the opportunities to bridge research, clinical and community-based outreach. His appointment as a T32 postdoctoral fellow in Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders gives him an ideal context and training for sharpening his research skills in stress reduction. The Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research program was a catalyst for moving his research into a career in health- and diversity-related research.

Jeffrey has lived in the Pacific Northwest for many years and completed his graduate education at Oregon State University. Because Portland is an interactive and diverse city, he anticipates it will be a good model for diversity-related research. His research necessarily involves direct interaction with people within and outside of OHSU, and his hope is that his research will become integrated into the character of Portland across a range of cultural and ethnic groups.

Marquitta L. Smith, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Marquitta L. Smith is a currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine. She completed her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. Her current research interest involves understanding how impaired glymphatic function leads to the accumulation and propagation of proteins in protein accumulation disorders such as Alzheimer's and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Marquitta also has an interest in teaching and promoting STEM amongst minority and disadvantaged individuals.

Alumni Fellows

Tunde Akinyeke, Ph.D.

Tunde Akinyeke, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

Tunde Akinyeke conducted his postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Jacob Raber in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience. Tunde was born in Washington, D.C., and earned his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. It was there he found his love for biomedical research through various internships. He further pursued his graduate work at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn, where he completed his Ph.D. in biomedical research in the Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology. There he studied the role of type II anti-diabetic drugs on post-translational modifications of c-Myc protein in prostate cancer. After his graduate work was completed, he started his first postdoctoral research position at New York University in the Department of Basic Science &Craniofacial Biology where he expanded on his graduate studies. As he transitioned to OHSU he continued to study c-Myc protein in the role of alcoholism and characteristics of alcoholism in the brain. His future goals are to transition into the education sector focusing on recruiting more students of color in the STEM field.

Gonzalo Romero, M.D.

Gonzalo Romero

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Diagnostic Radiology

Gonzalo Romero earned his M.D. at the Central University of Venezuela. He conducted his fourth year medical school rotation at the University of California, San Francisco, and then moved to the U.S., where he gained clinical experience in the academic environment of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He then held a research fellowship at Harvard University, enforcing his clinical research skills. An international clinical trial in cardiovascular disease allowed him to learn about research development from the ground up. As a research scholar at Temple University working directly with Latina patients, he worked to assist communities with diabetes prevention. His goal is to pursue a career as a radiologist and researcher. At OHSU, he worked in the Diagnostic Radiology Department under Dr. Coakley's mentoring, developing innovative research projects in prostate cancer MRI.

Administration

Damien A. Fair, P.A.-C., Ph.D.

Associate professor, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychiatry
Associate scientist, Advanced Imaging Research Center

Damien Fair directs the Fair Neuroimaging Lab, is principal investigator of the Typical and Atypical Brain Development project and co-principal investigator of the Longitudinal Imaging Study of ADHD Brain Development project. His research interests focus on Cognitive Brain Development, ADHD, Autism, and Neuroimaging. The Fair Neuroimaging Lab focuses on mechanisms and principles that underlie the developing brain. The majority of their work uses functional MRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI to assess typical and atypical populations. They also focus on testing the feasibility of using various functional and structural MRI techniques in translational studies of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders. Damien obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, under Dr. Bradley Schlaggar and Dr. Steven Petersen.

Letisha Wyatt, Ph.D.

Director of Diversity in Research, Research and Innovation Office
Assistant professor, Department of Neurology and the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center

Letisha R. Wyatt is faculty in the Department of Neurology and the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology &Toxicology from the University of Southern California (2013). Her research focuses on mechanisms for regulation of the brain's response to drugs. Letisha is a former NIH predoctoral fellow and has strong record of mentorship in the laboratory and classroom. She works together with CEDAR Scientists and Staff to plan for current and future information and data stewardship needs. Letisha also works in the Research and Innovation Office as the Director of Diversity in Research to support campus-wide efforts for diversity and inclusion in laboratories and graduate education. Read more about Letisha's role at her departmental webpage and view her work on ORCID: 0000-0003-1026-5232.

Binyam Nardos, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

Binyam Nardos is a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. Damien Fair at OHSU. He received his PhD. in Biology and Biomedical Sciences (Neurosciences) from Washington University in St. Louis (2013), where he was a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow. While his dissertation research focused on characterizing the brain-basis of word learning in young adults, his current research investigates how socioemotional contexts influence decision making in the presence of race cues (e.g. black vs. white faces). Binyam is passionate about combining his strong research, teaching, and mentorship background to advance social justice in academia and beyond.

Tori Douglass

Coordinator, Fellowship for Diversity in Research

Diversity resources

OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion
The Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) leads university-wide initiatives to create an environment of respect and inclusion for all people. CDI is dedicated to fostering partnerships to enhance OHSU's mission of healing, teaching, research and community services. CDI has a range of resources and services to support and empower students, faculty and staff from all walks of life, including historically underrepresented populations.

To help foster employee growth and development while meeting the needs of a more diverse employee workforce, OHSU supports the formation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs provide opportunities for career development, social support, networking, mentoring, and community participation, and help promote cultural awareness and employee engagement. ERGs align with OHSU's mission and goals of advancing diversity and inclusion.

OHSU Diversity Resource Guide
The CDI also has a Diversity Resource Guide that serves as a resource for OHSU students, staff, faculty, and residents to connect with diverse and cultural organizations and businesses in Portland, and beyond. This resource will be very essential in helping newcomers navigate the city and promote exploration.

Partners in Diversity | Say Hey
Partners in Diversity (PiD) is an organization operating under the Charitable Institute of the Portland Business Alliance that works with companies to help recruit and retain professionals of color to the Oregon/SW Washington region. The Say Hey event series was created to honor new minority professionals relocating to the Oregon and the SW Washington area with the goal of helping them connect with the multicultural community. At each Say Hey event, held quarterly, PiD recognizes honorees of color who have recently moved to Oregon and SW Washington. Community leaders, corporate and public sector leaders, community organizations and other individuals attend Say Hey to help make honorees feel welcome and more connected to their new community. This multicultural event provides a great opportunity to enjoy an evening of meeting new friends and learning about what makes the Portland community a great place to live and work.

Urban League of Portland Young Professionals
The Urban League of Portland is a non-profit, community-based organization headquartered in north Portland and an affiliate of the National Urban League. Since 1945, the Urban League of Portland has advocated, served and empowered African Americans and other Oregonians to create an equitable place to work and live. The Urban League of Portland Young Professionals (ULPDXYP) is a committed group of young professionals (aged 21 - 40) invested in the values and strategic goals of the Urban League of Portland that include leadership development, education, healthcare, and elder care. ULPDXYP regularly hosts general body meeting and other events, such as social events, professional development series, and policy and advocacy forums.

Hispanicpros
Hispanicpros' mission is to connect professionals and community to businesses, corporations and other organizations through diversification and inclusion strategies. They host monthly face to face networking events to welcome individuals from all professional backgrounds to come and meet one another, form social bonds and help each other develop in their careers. The purpose of the meetings is to get to know each other on a personal level in a relaxed, professional and friendly environment.