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The receipients of the 2015 MilliPub Postdoc Award and their mentors

Four Postdoc Receive Awards at the MilliPub Club Reception

The MilliPub Award is a club that honors and recognizes current Emory faculty who have published one or more individual papers throughout their careers that have each garnered more than 1000 citations. Every year, the MilliPub Awards Ceremony and reception includes the recognition of three to six Postdoctoral Fellows.

Mentors nominate their postdocs for the Millipub Postdoc Award for their outstanding publication record and presentations in the previous year.  The nominations also include descriptions of the Postdocs’ creativity, independence of ideas, and their leadership and mentoring. The nominated postdocs are then judged numerically based on their publications, grant(s) awarded and invitations to speak at national and international meetings as well as the attributes mentioned in the mentors’ letters.

This year, the awards were presented to the postdocs by the Dean of the Medical School, Dr. Chris Larsen, and Dr. Fadlo Khuri, Research Dean for the School of Medicine.  Dr. Mary DeLong, Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Education introduced each of the Postdocs receiving the award.   The postdocs’ mentors and members of their labs attended the reception.

Brian George Dias, PhD

Mentor: Prof. Kerry Ressler, Dept. of Psychiatry

Dr. Dias joined Emory in 2011 and been working on neuroepigenetic mechanisms underlying fear memory. In 2014, he had a first author paper in Neuron and a first author paper in Nature Neuroscience that was also on the cover. The paper was featured in different media outlets including the BBC. Dr. Dias co-authored three other papers in 2014 and was invited to present at three international conferences. As Dr. Ressler wrote: ”Without hyperbole, I can definitely say that Dr. Dias is one of the smartest, hardest working, and creative scientists I have ever worked with. I am extremely honored to have him in my lab.”

Dr. Dias was deeply appreciative of being recognized by the Office of Postdoctoral Education and the Emory Research Community with this award. He said it means a great deal to be part of the nurturing ecosystem that is Emory. The professional training opportunities provided by the Office of Postdoctoral Education are superlative and were instrumental in navigating his postdoctoral tenure.

Lucas H. Timmins, MD, PhD

Mentors: Professors Don Giddens, John Oshinski and Habib Samady; Dept. of Biomedical Engineering and Dept. of Medicine

Dr. Timmins came to Emory in mid-2010 and has been determining the relationships among wall shear stress, coronary artery disease localization and progress and more. In 2014, he published two first author papers, four co-authored papers and a book chapter. He was also invited to present his work in other universities and international meetings. Additionally, he received an NIH R03 grant and was invited to submit a prestigious career development award to the Royal Society and Welcome Trust in the UK. His mentors stated that “Dr. Timmins research is extremely important and could significantly shift current revascularization paradigm from only treating hemodynamically significant coronary lesions to one where very high risk coronary segments could be preemptively treated by local therapies in addition to systemic therapy”.

Dr. Timmins  said it was an honor to receive the MilliPub Postdoc Award given the high quality of research conducted by my peers at Emory University. He continued: “…Between my outstanding mentors, top-notch facilities, and highly collaborative research environment in the School of Medicine and at nearby Georgia Tech, I am very grateful for the opportunities that I have been provided during my postdoctoral training. My training at Emory University will have a tremendous impact on my future academic career."

Samantha Yeligar, PhD

Mentors: Professors Michael Hart and Lou Ann Brown; Dept. of Medicine and Dept. of Pediatrics

Dr. Yeligar came to Emory in 2009 in the Alcohol and Lung Biology Center Program to investigate the interactions between NADPH oxidases and TGFbeta1 in alcohol-mediated impaired alveolar macrophage phagocytic function. In 2014, she published two first author papers, one co-authored paper and two book chapters and presented at multiple conferences. She was awarded the prestigious NIH K99/R00 career development grant. As Dr. Hart said: “Samantha’s productivity stems from her keen intellect, unlimited capacity for critical thinking, and outstanding organizational skills…..I have personally benefitted from Samantha’s critical input on grant proposals.  She is capable of integrating complex processes and designing rigorous, hypothesis-based approaches to advance her experimental ideas.”

Dr. Yeligar was incredibly honored to be nominated by her mentors, Drs. Mike Hart and Lou Ann Brown, for such a prestigious award. When she heard that she would actually be receiving the award, she was so excited to be a part of the successes of such esteemed faculty, many of whom are her role models. Most importantly, it meant the world to her to know that her mentors think as highly of her as she does of them. 

Zhentao Zhang, MD, PhD

Mentor: Prof. Keqiang Ye, Dept. of Pathology

Dr. Zhang came to Emory in early 2012 to work on the pathology involved in Alzheimer’s disease. In 2014, he published three first author appears with one being in Nature Medicine. Additionally, he has one paper in review and one paper in revision for Nature Medicine. Those publications show the critical role of asparagine endoperptidase in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and its potential as a novel drug target. Dr. Keqiang says of Dr. Zhang: “Among the approximately 50 Postdoc Fellows that I have mentored, I rank him the top 1 or 2 in my past 12 years as a faculty at Emory.   He is extraordinarily creative in scientific design and independent thought.”

Dr. Zhang felt it was a great honor for him to receive the Postdoctoral Millipub Award for 2014. This meant a lot to him:  “I want to thank my mentor, Dr. Keqiang Ye, who guided me in our exciting science adventures. I also want to express my gratitude to all of those who have helped me during my stay at Emory University.”