WRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee

WRF Postdoctoral Fellows are chosen by an outstanding committee comprising experts in multiple scientific disciplines and assembling strong research teams.

Aimée Dudley, Ph.D. / Co-Chair

Pacific Northwest Research Institute

Aimée Dudley, Ph.D. / Co-Chair

Pacific Northwest Research Institute

Daniel Slichter, Ph.D. / Co-Chair

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Daniel Slichter, Ph.D. / Co-Chair

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Bing Brunton, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Bing Brunton, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Tony Chiang, DPhil

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Tony Chiang, DPhil

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dr. Chiang is the Pure Mathematics in Machine Learning Thrust Lead for the Mathematics for Artificial Learning in Science (MARS) initiative. As part of the leadership team, he is helping to connect MARS projects with research in the underlying pure mathematics. His efforts are concentrated with the geometry of the loss landscape and spectral machine learning theory. In addition to pure mathematics, he works in the analysis of variance of machine learning models.

Dr. Chiang joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from the Allen Institute for Immunology where he served as a scientist and computational systems immunologist. Prior to the Allen Institute, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, College of the Environment, Department of Oceanography. His main work focused on biogeography and environmental genomics. He obtained his doctorate from King’s College at the University of Cambridge in Statistical Computing and Cancer Biology where he focused on error modeling of protein interactions and siRNA datasets. He is trained as a pure mathematician having graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and starting his doctoral training at the University of California at Berkeley in Representation Theory, Geometry, and Combinatorics.

Cyril Engmann, MD

PATH & University of Washington

Cyril Engmann, MD

PATH & University of Washington

Marcos Frank, Ph.D.

Washington State University

Marcos Frank, Ph.D.

Washington State University

Vince Holmberg, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Vince Holmberg, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Grace Huynh, MD, Ph.D.

Microsoft

Grace Huynh, MD, Ph.D.

Microsoft

Grace Huynh is a Principal Researcher in the Microsoft Research Health Futures group, a team responsible for research, incubations, and moonshots to drive cross-company strategy, partnerships and real-world impact across healthcare and the life sciences. Her experience spans lab-based research, computational modeling, and implementation to practice in public health.

Prior to Microsoft, Dr. Huynh received her PhD in Bioengineering from UCSF/UC Berkeley with a focus on nanoparticulate drug and gene delivery, and completed her MD at Stanford. She then led a team at the Institute for Disease Modeling to develop computational models for tuberculosis and TB/HIV disease progression and transmission. These models were used to support policy in China, India and South Africa, and to support the TB delivery strategy at the Gates Foundation. She has also spent time as a research scientist at MIT working on super-resolution microscopy to map the brain. Her current research focuses on machine learning methods in healthcare, digital pathology and infectious diseases

J. Nathan Kutz, Ph.D.

University of Washington

J. Nathan Kutz, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Harmit Malik, Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Harmit Malik, Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Dr. Harmit Malik studies genetic conflict, the competition between genes and proteins with opposing functions that drives evolutionary change. His research could have implications for a range of diseases, from HIV to cancer. As part of this work, his team developed an approach for identifying genes that divide one species from another, which could help solve the riddle of how new species evolve. Dr. Malik also studies the evolutionary processes that drive our body’s interactions with viruses, including contemporary scourges like HIV as well as ancient viruses whose fossils litter our genome. With Hutch colleagues, he has characterized the rapidly evolving interface between proteins on human cells and viruses that make us sick. This work has highlighted surprising deviations from “textbook” models of these interactions, and it is revealing gene variants that could influence our susceptibility to infection.

Yuta Masuda, Ph.D.

Vulcan

Yuta Masuda, Ph.D.

Vulcan

Yuta Masuda is the Director of Science at Vulcan, where he advances strategy development, identification, and cultivation of science priorities in ocean health, climate change mitigation, and conservation for the Science and Technology portfolio. He provides leadership and support in these areas for Vulcan and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Prior to joining Vulcan, Yuta was a Senior Sustainable Development and Behavioral Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. His work at the Conservancy examined how policies advancing conservation and sustainable development goals impact human well-being and environmental outcomes. He has investigated topics around community-based conservation, human behavior, institutions, human health, diffusions of innovations, land tenure security, and other topics on the human dimensions of conservation and sustainable development. He has published over fifty articles on these and other topics in outlets such as Nature Sustainability, Nature Communications, Global Environmental Change, Lancet Planetary Health, Environmental Research Letters, Conservation Letters, Land Use Policy, One Earth, and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. He holds a PhD in Public Policy and Management from the University of Washington, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia.

Richard Miles, Ph.D.

Princeton University; Texas A&M University

Richard Miles, Ph.D.

Princeton University; Texas A&M University

Norma Morella, Ph.D.

Pivot Bio

Norma Morella, Ph.D.

Pivot Bio

Norma Morella earned her doctorate in Microbiology from UC Berkeley where she studied the plant microbiome. Her work explored which factors can shape host-associated microbial communities, from host genotype to bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria).

Norma received a WRF Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2020 and moved to Seattle to conduct her research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. While at Fred Hutch, Norma investigated the complex interplay between gut bacteria, carcinogenic compounds that they produce, and bacteriophages. This work contributes to our growing understanding of how phages might be used as therapeutic tools to modulate microbial communities for human health. Currently, Norma works as a research scientist for Pivot Bio, a Berkeley-based biotech company that is replacing synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture with a nitrogen-fixing bacterial product. Norma also serves on the Executive Board for SoundBio Lab, a nonprofit biology makerspace in Seattle, and she is an active member of Women in Bio’s Seattle Chapter.

Ingrid Swanson Pultz, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Ingrid Swanson Pultz, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Dr. Ingrid Swanson Pultz is a Translational Advisor at the Institute for Protein Design.  She was Chief Scientific Officer of PvP Biologics, an IPD spin out company acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2020, and served as the CEO for PvP in its early years.  Dr. Pultz was formerly a Translational Investigator and Senior Research Fellow at the IPD, where she focused on developing the enzyme technology upon which PvP was based.  For this work, Dr. Pultz has received several competitive grants and awards including Health Innovator of the Year from Health Innovation Northwest in 2016.  She performed her graduate work on bacterial second messenger systems with Dr. Sam Miller at the UW’s Department of Microbiology.  While in graduate school, Dr. Pultz was awarded the Neal Groman Award for Excellence in Teaching and founded the UW’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team (www.igem.org).  Her current role at the IPD is to provide guidance in translating nascent technologies beyond the academic laboratory.

Jessica Ray, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Jessica Ray, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Aakanksha Singhvi, Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Aakanksha Singhvi, Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Dr. Aakanksha Singhvi studies glial cells, which are critical to the correct functioning of our nervous system. Every time a neuron connects to another neuron, a glial cell is there to make sure that signals transmit properly between them. Glia themselves also communicate with neurons and influence their shape and activity. Disruptions in communication between neurons and glia underpin many neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s and autism. Dr. Singhvi seeks to understand the molecules involved in glia-neuron communication, and how glia influence neuron shape and function, and, ultimately, animal behavior.

Caleb Stoltzfus, Ph.D.

Alpenglow Biosciences

Caleb Stoltzfus, Ph.D.

Alpenglow Biosciences

Lisa Stubbs, Ph.D.

Pacific Northwest Research Institute

Lisa Stubbs, Ph.D.

Pacific Northwest Research Institute

Kathleen Sullivan

Microsoft

Kathleen Sullivan

Microsoft

Jonathan Ting, Ph.D.

Allen Institute

Jonathan Ting, Ph.D.

Allen Institute

Jonathan T. Ting joined the Allen Institute in 2013 to provide electrophysiology expertise for the Human Cell Types program and to develop functional assays on human ex vivo brain slices. Ting has 15 years of experience in patch clamp electrophysiology encompassing both primary neuron cultures and acute brain slices. In his postdoctoral fellowships at Duke University and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, he studied the neural circuitry basis of psychiatric disorders and developed and characterized several transgenic mouse lines now widely employed for optogenetic control of nervous system function. Ting previously earned a Ph.D. in Neurobiology & Behavior and conducted his thesis research in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from the University of California at Davis.

Research focus: A comprehensive analysis of the architecture and function of the human brain requires a multifaceted strategy for revealing the true complexity and diversity of cell types that reside within. It is the exquisite and complex assembly of these unique cell types into distinct functional circuits that enables us to perform essential tasks such as sensory perception, coordinated movement, cognition, and more. Although much effort has been devoted to anatomical mapping of the human brain using post-mortem tissue in both health and disease, the detailed analysis of functions subserved by individual cells within the living human brain has been more challenging to explore. To achieve this goal, we have established extensive research collaborations with local neurosurgeons in the greater-Seattle area to routinely obtain neurosurgical samples of human cortex for research purposes. The vital human brain tissue is transported to the Allen Institute and sectioned into brain slices for detailed analysis using diverse methodologies including patch clamp electrophysiology, optical imaging, single cell transcriptomic profiling, morphological reconstructions, and array tomography. We hope this effort will culminate in a comprehensive classification of cell types of the human neocortex.

Rachel Umoren, MD

University of Washington; Seattle Children's Hospital

Rachel Umoren, MD

University of Washington; Seattle Children's Hospital

Dr. Rachel Umoren is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Division Head for Research in the Division of Neonatology, University of Washington and Inpatient Medical Director for Telehealth at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on improving neonatal outcomes globally through simulation-based education and telemedicine. Dr. Umoren’s research has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She has published and presented internationally on virtual simulations for health professional education

David Van Valen, MD, Ph.D.

California Institute of Technology

David Van Valen, MD, Ph.D.

California Institute of Technology

David Van Valen is an Assistant Professor in Biology and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology. He received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics from MIT in 2003. In 2011, he earned a doctorate in applied physics from Caltech, where he applied single-molecule techniques to study the life cycle of bacterial viruses. He earned a medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2013. From 2014 to 2018, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, where he worked on using machine learning and genomics to empower a new generation of live-cell imaging experiments.

Dr. Van Valen joined Caltech as a visiting associate in 2017 and became an assistant professor of biology and biological engineering in 2018. His group at Caltech studies how living systems and their respective viruses encode and decode information about their internal state and their environment by combining ideas from cell biology and physics with recent advances in imaging, machine learning, and genomics to make novel measurements.

Sarah Warren, Ph.D.

NanoString

Sarah Warren, Ph.D.

NanoString

In Memoriam

David Galas, Ph.D. (1944-2023)

Selection Committee Alumni

Sue Biggins, Ph.D.
Carol Burns, Ph.D.
Jonathan Carlson, Ph.D.
Courtney Crane, Ph.D.
Allan Jones, Ph.D.
Peter Lee, Ph.D.
Jasper Rine, Ph.D.
Julie Theriot, Ph.D.

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Eligible Institutions

Eligible Washington state research institutions for the WRF Postdoctoral Fellowship include those listed below. Please contact us at postdoc@wrfseattle.org to confirm the eligibility of other institutions in the state.