Join us for the 2nd MIDWEST POSTDOCTORAL SYMPOSIUM at Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)

The 2015 MIDWEST POSTDOCTORAL SYMPOSIUM will be held on Friday, May 15, 2015, at Iowa State University (ISU) Molecular Biology Building (see directions below) in the heart of the Midwest USA. This annual event will provide opportunities to learn about careers in academia, industry and entrepreneurship after a postdoc in the Midwest.

The Postdoctoral Symposium serves to:

  • Provide opportunity to network with representatives from academia, industry, and entrepreneurs
  • Showcase the research of Postdoctoral Researchers of different disciplines in the Midwest

This year’s event features:

  • Keynote address

  • Panels on transition from postdoc to academia, industry, and entrepreneurship

  • Oral and poster presentations from Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Awards for best oral presentation and poster

  • Optional social evening program


Download Full Symposium Program PDF


This event is free and open to all postdocs, graduate students, faculty and staff, however food and beverages are provided only for those who registered before the deadline.



Program Schedule

(All sessions held in Molecular Biology Building)

8-10 AM

Registration, breakfast, networking — Atrium

10-11 AM

Opening and Keynote speaker by Dr. Howard E. Gendelman (University of Nebraska) — Auditorium (Room 1414)

11-12 PM

Oral presentations — Rooms 1414, 1420, 1424

12-1 PM

Lunch — Atrium and Room 1102

1-2 PM

Keynote speaker by Dr. Adam Schwartz (The Ames Laboratory, US DoE) — Auditorium (Room 1414)

2-3 PM

Panel Sessions:

PANEL 1: From postdoc to academiaRoom 1420

PANEL 2: From postdoc to industryRoom 1424

PANEL 3: From postdoc to entrepreneurshipRoom 1428

3-4:30 PM

Posters + coffee break — Atrium

4:30-6 PM

Oral presentations — Rooms 1414, 1420

6-6:30 PM

Closing remarks, awards, prizes — Auditorium (Room 1414)

Full Program Available in PDF Format

Who are our keynote speakers?

Howard E. Gendelman

Margaret R. Larson Professor
Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases

Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience
University of Nebraska

Adam Schwartz

Ames Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Iowa State University


Who are our panelists?

PANEL 1: From postdoc to academia

Dr. Melissa Bates

Assistant Professor
Department of Health and Human Physiology

University of Iowa

Dr. Brian Gelder

Associate Scientist
STRIPS Data Management Lead

Iowa State University

Dr. Sal Meyers

Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Simpson College - Indianola

Dr. Gretchen Mosher

Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering

Iowa State University

Dr. Bret Ulery

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering

University of Missouri


PANEL 2: From postdoc to industry

Dr. Katryn Allen

Study Director


Dr. David Austin

Research Director - Field Research Information Management

Pioneer Hi-Bred International

Dr. Brenda Carrillo-Conde

Senior Research Engineer


Dr. Michael McCarville

Technical Service Rep

Bayer CropScience


PANEL 3: From postdoc to entrepreneurship

Dr. Ankit Agarwal


Imbed Biosciences

Dr. Shivani Garg


OmegaChea Biorenewables

Dr. Lisa L. Lorenzen

Executive Director

ISU Research Foundation


Where is the Symposium?

The Symposium will be held in the Molecular Biology Building on Pammel Dr. on the ISU campus.

Coming from Interstate 35 turn on Highway 30 West. Take exit 146 and drive north towards the Iowa State University Campus. Continue on University Blvd for approximately 2.6 miles then continue straight onto Pammel Dr. After approximately 1 mile turn right on Morrill road to reach Parking Lot #29 on the left. The Molecular Biology Building is located at Pammel Dr on the right.

For more information, go to ISU Campus Map


Inside the Molecular Biology Building…




Dr. Howard E. Gendelman

Dr. Howard E. Gendelman is the Margaret R. Larson Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Gendelman is credited in unraveling how functional alterations in brain immunity induce metabolic changes and ultimately lead to neural cell damage for a broad range of infectious, metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders. These discoveries have had broad implications in developmental therapeutics aimed at preventing, slowing or reversing neural maladies. He is also credited for the demonstration that AIDS dementia is a reversible metabolic encephalopathy; a finding realized at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. His work has led to novel immunotherapy and nanomedicine strategies for Parkinson’s and viral diseases being tested in early clinical trials as a result of intense translational investigations.

Dr. Adam Schwartz

Professor Adam Schwartz received his B.S in 1985 and M.S in 1989 from the department of metallurgical engineering at the University of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D in materials science and engineering in 1991 from the University of Pittsburg. Afterwards, he moved on to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where he started as a postdoctoral research associate and eventually became the division leader of the condensed matter and materials division in 2010. In 2013, he joined the leadership team of the critical materials institute of the Ames Laboratory in Iowa. He became the director of the Ames Laboratory and a tenured professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University in 2014. Professor Schwartz is an accomplished researcher whose work has focused on plutonium aging and alloys, advanced characterization, and the dynamic properties of materials. Professor Schwartz received many prestigious awards including the Neill Griffiths Memorial Award in 1998, the DOE andNNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence in 2007 as well as the LLNL Science, Technology, Engineering, and Operations Award in 2008.

Dr. Melissa Bates

Melissa Bates is Assistant Professor of Health and Human Physiology at the University of Iowa. She completed her PhD in Physiology at The Pennsylvania State University and a postdoctoral fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine in the Rankin Laboratory of Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.  Her lab’s mission is to understand how events that happen immediately after birth impact long-term heart and lung development, especially in terms of the ability to respond to subsequent stresses including altitude, sleep disordered breathing and anesthesia.

Dr. Brian Gelder

Brian Gelder grew up on, and still helps with, a corn, soybean, and hog farm about 30 miles north of Ames near Jewell, Iowa. He attended Iowa Central Community College and Iowa State University, receiving a double B.S. in Agronomy and Ag Engineering in 2000. He then received a MS from Colorado State in Bioresource Engineering in 2002 and a PhD from Iowa State in Soil Science and Ag Engineering in 2007 for developing methods to determine crop rotation, residue cover, and surface roughness via remote sensing. He then began a postdoc with Rob Anex (now of UW-Madison) until 2010 where he worked on estimating impacts of regional biofuel production scenarios before he transitioned into an Associate Scientist position. He now researches methods to remotely sense residue cover, enforce digital elevation models automatically, and estimate erosion on hillslopes across multiple states.

Dr. Sal Meyers

Sal Meyers has taught at Simpson College for 20 years and is currently Professor of Psychology and Director of Faculty Development. She has served on numerous faculty search committees and can answer questions about what small liberal arts colleges are looking for when they hire. Sal earned her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Gretchen Mosher

Dr. Gretchen A. Mosher is an assistant professor in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.  She holds a research and teaching appointment. Research interests include food system safety, interactions between quality management and other operational goals, and factors influencing how students learn and utilize complex information. Dr. Mosher teaches Total Quality Management and the Technology Capstone and serves her department, college, and profession in a variety of capacities.

Dr. Bret Ulery

Bret Ulery is an assistant professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Missouri having started in August 2014.  After earning a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering and B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa in 2006, he conducted graduate research with Balaji Narasimhan at Iowa State University and received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a Graduate Minor in Immunobiology in 2010.  Following completion of his doctoral studies, he spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Cato Laurencin's research group in the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut Health Center followed by a year and half as a Postdoctoral Scholar under the advisement of Matt Tirell in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Katryn Allen

I graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas in 2005 with degrees in biology and chemistry.  I then started graduate school at the University of Kansas Medical center in Kansas City, where I worked under the direction of Dr. Bryan Copple.  My research was focused on mechanism of liver injury during cholestasis.  I received my Ph.D. in 2011 and started my Post-doctoral fellowship at Michigan State University, in the laboratory of Dr. Jack Harkema.  While at MSU I was involved with the postdoc association, and was a co-chair from 2013 to 2014.   I started in my current role as a Study Director with Xenometrics LLC in February of 2014.

Dr. David Austin

Dave Austin is the Director of the Crop Genetics Informatics group at DuPont Pioneer, located in Johnston, Iowa. His responsibilities include leading software development, software support, and data management for Pioneer product development scientists located in 25 countries worldwide.
Dave began his career at Pioneer in 1997 in the Research Information Management department serving as a support manager for corn product development and breeding technologies. He played a key role in the development of systems to link field and laboratory data to develop superior products for Pioneer customers. Dave is originally from Wisconsin, where he grew up on a dairy farm near the town of Darlington. He received his B.S. degree in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin. He holds Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Iowa State University. Dave and his wife, Mindy, reside in Ankeny with their three teenage children. Their daughter is wrapping up her first year of studies at Iowa State University. Dave currently serves on the Board of Directors at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa. He enjoys the opportunity to help connect the current generation to our rich agricultural history. He also has a passion for photography and volunteers his time taking photos for Living History Farms, Lutheran Church of Hope, and Ankeny High School athletic events.

Dr. Brenda Carrillo-Conde

Dr. Brenda Carrillo-Conde is a Senior Research Scientist in Bioprocess R&D at Pfizer Inc. She received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Environmental Systems in 2006 from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) in Mexico. In 2011, she got her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University. Previous to joining Pfizer, Dr. Carrillo-Conde spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow affiliated to both the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Departments at The University of Texas at Austin. Both her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research focused on the design, engineering, and evaluation of biomaterial-based platforms for targeted drug and vaccine delivery. Her research in this area led to more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Scientific Reports, Science Translational Medicine, Molecular Pharmaceutics, and Acta Biomaterialia. As a Senior Scientist in the Conjugation and Polytides Process Development group at Pfizer, she is responsible for the design of scalable, robust, efficient, and innovative chemical and biochemical conjugation processes to support the vaccine and antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) portfolio. She leads technology transfer of conjugate vaccines processes to pilot and commercial facilities for the production of clinical and commercial materials.

Dr. Michael McCarville

Dr. Michael McCarville joined Bayer CropScience in 2014 as a SeedGrowth Technical Service. This role provides Dr. McCarville to work with seed companies, agricultural distribution companies, and cooperatives to research and design solutions for farmers. Before joining Bayer, Dr. McCarville was a postdoctoral research associate and graduate research assistant in the Entomology Department at Iowa State University.  His research focused on the ecology and management of insects and nematodes in agricultural crops.

Dr. Ankit Agarwal

Ankit Agarwal, PhD is CEO and founder of Imbed Biosciences Inc, a development stage company commercializing advanced materials for wound healing and surgical applications. Imbed’s technology platform on polymeric nanofilms was invented by Agarwal during his post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Starting in 2012, Imbed has raised $2.5M in private and federal funding. Company is working on receiving FDA regulatory clearance to market their first advanced wound-dressing product containing silver nanoparticles. Agarwal received one year training in entrepreneurship as a fellow of the Kauffman Foundation.  He did his BS from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University.

Dr. Shivani Garg

Shivani Garg is a biochemist and an entrepreneur, who founded her biotech start-up, OmegaChea Biorenewables LLC, while pursuing her doctorate degree in Biochemistry at Iowa State University. Originally from India, Shivani has a background in biotechnology, enzyme and microbial engineering, and is passionate about developing sustainable technologies for producing bio-renewables. Her start-up, which is a spin-off from NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), focuses on production of bio-based chemicals using engineered bacterial hosts. These chemicals can serve as sustainable alternatives to petroleum based feedstocks in the current chemical industry, specifically in detergents and lubricants markets. Shivani was awarded NSF Innovation Corps award in 2012 for business model development for the start-up, and later OmegaChea was awarded NSF Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award in 2013 along with several state funding awards.

Dr. Lisa L. Lorenzen

Lisa Lorenzen is the Executive Director of the ISU Research Foundation and Director of the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer OIPTT), focused on technology transfer and economic development.  The ISU Research Foundation owns and manages intellectual property on behalf of Iowa State University. The Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer markets and licenses intellectual property and negotiates contracts related to sponsored research with industry and manages grant programs related to economic development. Before joining ISU in March 1999, Lisa worked for five years as a computational biologist in the bioinformatics group at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Lisa graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. degree in 1989 and Ph.D. in 1994, both in Genetics.