Postdoc of the Month

Postdoc of the Month – January 2022

Pamela Graney

Pamela Graney (left) is a postdoc in the lab of Prof. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, where she is using a multi-tissue platform to model and delineate the contributions of tissue resident immune cells to pre-metastatic niche formation and tumor metastasis. She was nominated for Postdoc of the Month by her colleague Naveed Tavakol. Below, Naveed explains why he nominated Pamela.

Who are you?
I am a fourth year PhD student in the Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic lab, and I work very closely with Pam on different projects in our “organs-on-a-chip” team.

How do you know Pamela?
Pam is in my lab, and has been working closely with me since she joined the lab right before the pandemic began in Spring 2020.

How would you describe Pamela in three words?
Meticulous, motivated, helpful.

What do you like most about Pamela?
Pam is always willing to help others in the lab and in the University community, no matter how small or large the task. She is compassionate and truly cares for the wellbeing of everyone in her life – and takes the extra step to make sure those who are struggling know that she is there to support them. During the early days of the pandemic, and just being in NYC for a few months, she joined the forces of postdocs eager to help in COVID-19 hospital efforts. Since then, she has been so adamant about supporting graduate students in our lab and department over her last two years at Columbia.

Why did you nominate Pamela for Postdoc of the Month?
I think Pam is a great member of our Columbia community, and it is often hard to recognize those who are working so hard during the pandemic since everything is virtual. Pam has taken the initiative to make her mark on our lab, department, and broader Columbia community, and I think she is extremely deserving of the Postdoc of the Month title!

Pamela (middle) with her coworkers.


Postdoc of the Month – November 2021

Kirstin Anderson

Kirsten Anderson (left) is a postdoc in the DOOR (Developmental Origins of Resilience) lab of Dr. Dumitriu, where she studies individual differences in response to stress. She was nominated for Postdoc of the Month by her colleague Tatyana Behring. Below, Tatyana explains why she nominated Kirstin.

Who are you?
My name is Tatyana and I am a postdoc in the Dumitriu lab at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) of CUIMC.

How do you know Kirstin?
Kirstin is my coworker in the lab.

How would you describe Kirstin in three words?
Passionate, helpful and inspiring.

Why did you nominate Kirstin for Postdoc of the Month?
She is a passionate advocate and amazing coworker.


Postdoc of the Month – October 2021

Sonya Troller-Renfree

Columbia postdoc Sonya Troller-Renfree (left) was nominated for Postdoc of the Month by her colleague and CUPS executive member Molly Scott. Below, Molly explains why she nominated Sonya.

Who are you?
My name is Molly and I’m a postdoc in the NEED Lab at Teachers College.

How do you know Sonya?
We are postdocs in the same lab.

How would you describe Sonya in three words?
Determined, passionate, brilliant.

Why did you nominate Sonya for Postdoc of the Month?
She’s an incredibly hard worker and a great role model for everyone in our lab. Her ongoing work on EEG (see picture below) and young children’s development is a huge contribution to the field of psychological science.

Sonya (middle) practicing EEG capping with grad students from the NEED lab. 

Postdoc of the Month – September 2021

Jozsef Meszaros

Jozsef Meszaros (left) is a postdoc at Columbia University’s Psychiatry Department in the lab of Dr. Jonathan Javitch. Here, he studies the movement of single molecules within cells.

Jozsef was anonymously nominated for Postdoc of the Month, because of his attempts to improve the work experience of fellow postdocs. Allegedly, Jozsef has helped colleagues to free themselves from a toxic work environment. He is an active member of the Union for Columbia Postdoctoral Workers (CPW-UAW) and an editor for the Science of the People Magazine. Considering Jozsef’s efforts to improve the working conditions of postdocs, and his dedication to scientific outreach and community building, we are very happy to award him with the title of Postdoc of the Month!


Postdoc of the Month – August 2021

Craig Connolly

Columbia postdoc Craig Connolly (left) from the Mailman School of Public Health and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory was nominated for Postdoc of the Month by no less than seven of his colleagues: Luca TelescaRachel Lupien, Matthew Jerram, Jennifer Middleton, Erin Black, and Mike Jollands. Below, Mike explains why they nominated Craig.

We are a merry band of postdoctoral researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who know Craig in different contexts. He was my officemate before the pandemic, and before he took his new position in the Mailman School of Public Health. For others he has been a colleague and/or a friend. I would describe him as dedicated, loyal and fun. I most like his friendly nature and calming influence. We nominated him to recognise his outstanding work, especially regarding groundwater contamination – he is one of the rare geoscientists who answers real-world problems. He bridges gaps between geoscience, data science and public health. He is also a fixture in the institute, organising seminars, trips outside of work, and generally bringing people together.


Postdoc of the Month – July 2021

Chloé Berland

Columbia postdoc and CUPS member Chloé Berland (left) was nominated for Postdoc of the Month by her colleague Francesca Copperi. Below, Francesca explains why she nominated Chloé.


Who are you?
My name is Francesca and I’m a postdoc working at CUIMC.

How do you know Chloé?
We work in the same building. Even though we are not properly in the same lab, we share some common research topics, and especially the joys and sorrows of our work!

How would you describe Chloé in three words?
Smart, resourceful and kind.

What do you like most about Chloé?
That even when s**t happens, she can keep calm and move on! Plus, she’s a great and cool scientist!

Why did you nominate Chloé for Postdoc of the Month?
Because thanks to Chloé’s colorful and highly trendy scrub caps (see picture below), now also the rest of the lab is a bit cooler and more fashionable!

Chloé’s labmates, Srikanth, Francesca, and Nachi, wearing the amazing scrub caps that Chloé bought them for doing surgeries.