• Any CU Boulder and National lab postdoc
  • To attend a conference between May and October 2018


Next application will be in SEPTEMBER 2018

To apply, you need to answer two questions:

  • What are you presenting at the conference?
    Provide a maximum 200 words layman’s abstract that is accessible to a general audience and explains the impact of the science you are presenting, either to your scientific field and/or the broader community.
  • How will attending this conference benefit your career?
    Provide a maximum 200 word explanation of how attending this conference will benefit your career.

As well as some demographic questions.

You will also need to upload a pdf file showing proof of abstract submission (email, web confirmation, etc.)


What are you presenting at the conference?

Example 1 Example 2
Before the arrival of clinical symptoms, there are many molecular-level changes in the body that can indicate the presence of a disease. When doctors make a diagnosis, they often look for changes in the concentration of specific molecules, called biomarkers. These changes can be detected using a biosensor that recognizes the target biomarker in a patient’s blood, urine, or other bodily fluid and produces a detectable signal. However, these tests can be expensive and require special storage conditions, preventing their widespread use. I will be presenting my work on the development of portable, inexpensive diagnostic tools which use synthetic receptors, called molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), instead of natural receptors, such as antibodies, which are currently used in most diagnostic tests. MIPs have several advantages over antibodies, including lower cost of production and better environmental stability. In this work, I synthesized MIPs on the surface of nanomaterials with unique properties that enable signal production upon binding to protein biomarkers. I am currently working with lysozyme, a biomarker for several diseases including leukemia, multiple sclerosis, and Sjögren’s syndrome. The technology developed in this work could be adapted and applied for diagnosis of a variety of other diseases. Production of small particles from the emissions of human activities in large urban areas are detrimental to human health, leading to approximately 3.3 million premature deaths per year. An important component of these particles are organic particles, which are primarily produced through rapid gas-phase chemistry; however, it has been historically difficult to predict both the production and amount of organic particles in large urban areas. This impacts the ability to reduce the emissions that lead to organic aerosols and the premature deaths. Here, I use data collected from numerous cities around the world to further explore the chemistry that controls organic particle production. I find that I can explain the production of organic particles through differences in the emissions from these urban areas with just four compounds. With this, I have started looking into the impact of reducing emissions associated with these four compounds in a chemistry model to investigate the reduction in premature deaths per year. These results will improve the atmospheric chemistry community’s understanding of organic particle sources and health impacts, and will inform policy maker’s what emissions should be reduced to improve air quality around the world.


May 2018


Natalie Mendoza-Gutierrez - History

Many historians continue to rely upon traditional teaching practices in which the classroom remains a teacher-centered, rather than student-centered, learning environment. Lecturing may deliver historical narrative, but it fails to engage students in the “doing” of history: carefully analyzing documents from the past, piecing together a story about what happened with a historical record that is often incomplete, and making meaning out of that story for both the past and the present. As the project lead for the History Teaching & Learning Project in the History Department at CU-Boulder, I used the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History (SoTL in History) to research and develop teaching practices that re-orient the history classroom as a student-centered learning environment. At the 2018 World History Association conference, I will co-facilitate a workshop that briefly introduces participants to the SoTL in History, with the central goal of encouraging historians to use this evidence-based body of literature to inform their teaching practices, rather than rely upon traditional teaching practices. The workshop then offers examples of SoTL-informed activities that promote student-centered, active learning. To debrief, the workshop invites participants to evaluate the activities and think about how to adapt them to their own classroom.


Ashley Rowland - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Undergraduate students must acquire numerous critical disciplinary experiences, such as research or volunteering, to be competitive for advanced STEM degrees or careers. Based on multiple social cognitive theories of motivation, we predict that students’ access to these experiences is influenced by the strength of their interest in a discipline and retention of specific career goals. However, students may enter college lacking disciplinary interest or career goals as a result of differential access to opportunities to develop interests and goals before college. This is problematic, as it may lead to inequities in the pursuit of and access to the critical disciplinary experiences that enable progression to an advanced degree. To characterize how the timing of interest and career goal development influences students' access to critical disciplinary experiences and retention in STEM careers, we are conducting in-depth retrospective interviews with late-stage or recently graduated undergraduate biology students of varied backgrounds that have sought admission to either medical or graduate school. We will be presenting a thematic analyses, including implications for interest interventions, from ten interviews conducted to date. This work brings interest development theory and, for the first time, vocational development theory to bear on numerous issues related to persistence in STEM.


Teisha Rowland - Chemistry and Biochemistry

Our DNA exists in threadlike structures, called chromosomes, that contain protective caps, called telomeres. The telomeres prevent underlying important chromosomal DNA from being eroded, much like shoelaces’ caps prevent the delicate underlying fabric from becoming unraveled. When most cells grow and split into two new “daughter” cells, their telomeres get shorter. Over time, as cells repeatedly divide, the telomeres progressively shorten until a critical length triggers cell death. This is a natural process that removes “old” cells from the body. However, in 80-90% of human cancers, an enzyme is pathologically active that lengthens the telomeres, effectively making cancer cells “immortal.” It is unclear how telomerase becomes reactivated in cancer. Of particular interest is regulation of the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (TERT), which is the active subunit of the telomerase enzyme, and is required for telomerase activity. Cancers with only one active copy of TERT have been found in the majority of cancerous tissue types. In some of these, the active copy contains no DNA mutations responsible for reactivation. We discovered molecular (i.e., epigenetic) patterns associated with the active TERT copy that may help with better understanding its reactivation. This could eventually help guide future drug discovery and cancer therapeutic efforts.


Leonie Koban - Psychology and Neurosciences

Pain is the most important obstacle to well-being across many medical conditions. Pain is partially driven by nociceptive signals transmitted from the periphery of the body (e.g., skin) to the brain, but it is also influenced by many cognitive factors, such as expectations and context. Yet, the brain mechanisms underlying these cognitive influences on pain remain poorly understood. I will present a series of experiments that demonstrate how learning about pain and generalization influence brain and behavioral responses to pain. More specifically, my results show that the exact same objective heat pain stimulus can feel subjectively much more painful and lead to higher physiological responses if it is preceded by a cue (such as a drawing of an animal) that people have previously learned to associate with higher pain. Interestingly, this effect even generalizes to unseen and completely novel cues that are perceptually similar or conceptually related (e.g., generalization from a cow to other animals). These effects are paralleled by changes in brain areas associated with memory, value, and internal thought. Together, my results show that what people learn about pain and how they generalize these expectations to novel situations shapes their experience of pain in powerful ways.


Leah Hitchcock - Insitute of Cognitive Science

As of 2018, Canada has legalized cannabis nationally, while 63% and 21% of the U.S. population lives in a state with legal access to medical and recreational cannabis, respectively. In this legal context, sales of highly concentrated cannabis (with tetrahydrocannabinol potencies up to 90%), have increased dramatically, sparking concerns on the public health and safety impacts. Acute effects from concentrates (often inhaled by “dabbing” or vaping) on motor function have not been described. To assess acute impairment under the influence of concentrates, we developed a motor battery measuring general and driving-related neuromotor function (e.g., standing balance, arm reaction time, finger tapping rate) with a novel smartphone application. Experienced concentrate users were assessed on the motor battery in a mobile laboratory: before, immediately after, and 1-hour after self-administering concentrated cannabis. Performance in standing balance, finger tapping, and reaction time changed before, immediately after, or one hour after smoking and with eyes open, closed, or with the head tilted back. This suggests that recovery time from intoxication and proprioception influence concentrated cannabis motor effects. Results encourage further research on the impact of concentrated cannabis on driving ability and for public health applications in roadside testing.