Six postdoctoral fellows have been selected as part of the inaugural class of Virginia Tech’s Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program. The highly competitive program selected postdoc researchers who are working with Virginia Tech faculty mentors on projects ranging from rapid detection for foodborne pathogens to 5G to human energetics and obesity investigations.  

“We are thrilled to attract high-caliber talent as the first cohort of Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows that will further enhance and diversify the Virginia Tech postdoc community,” said Dan Sui, senior vice president for research and innovation. “I look forward to following their progression as they develop their innovative research projects, immerse themselves in the university postdoc community, and learn from our faculty mentors how to prepare for successful careers in academia, industry, and service.”

Additional fellows will be announced in the coming months. The first members of the 2022-23 Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow class are:

Abdelkafar Alkishe

  • Research Frontiers track
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Faculty mentor: Luis Escobar, assistant professor of disease ecology
  • Learn more about Alkishe and his research.

Blake Caldwell

Harsimran Kaur

  • Research Frontiers track
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Faculty mentor: Amrinder Nain, associate professor of mechanical engineering
  • Learn more about Kaur and her research.

Olalla Prado-Nóvoa

  • Research Frontiers track
  • Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Faculty mentor: Kevin Davy, professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise
  • Learn more about Prado-Nóvoa and her research.

Daniel Smith

  • Research Frontiers track
  • School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Faculty mentor: Brian Badgley, associate professor of environmental microbiology
  • Learn more about Smith and his research.

Xue Zhao

  • Research Frontiers track
  • Department of Biological Systems Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Faculty mentor: Juhong Chen, assistant professor of biological systems engineering
  • Learn more about Zhao and her research.

Last spring, the Office of Research and Innovation announced the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program that seeks to strengthen the university’s ability to recruit outstanding, diverse postdoctoral associates to Virginia Tech. The program reflects Virginia Tech President Tim Sands’ commitment to advance opportunities for postdocs as part of the university’s strategic objective to be a top destination for talent. Postdoctoral associates are critical to Virginia Tech’s vibrant research ecosystem and represent the next generation of diverse leaders in research in academia, industry, and civil service by producing cutting-edge research and expanding knowledge and insights.

Competitively awarded, Virginia Tech’s Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program seeks to prepare postdocs from various fields and disciplines for the next step in their careers, providing a two-year appointment with nationally competitive salaries and benefits, $10,000 for training- and professional development-related expenses to be used over the two-year fellowship, in addition to mentoring and professional development support.  

Since the program's inception earlier this year, two additional tracks have been added, now with four tracks: Research Frontiers track, Cybersecurity track, Innovation track, and the Science Policy track.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program.

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