Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows

We encourage early career scholars to pursue a career in academia by supporting their postdoctoral work at Princeton.

This program recognizes and supports outstanding scholars primed to make important contributions in their fields. By bringing together scholars across science, engineering, social science, and the humanities, the program allows them to deepen their disciplinary expertise while testing out new ideas from other disciplines. These scholars contribute to the University’s excellence and its diversity, broadly defined. The program aims to appoint an average of twelve postdoctoral fellows per year, each holding a one-year appointment renewable for a second year.

Nomination Process

Candidates must be nominated by a member of the Faculty who will serve as their sponsor or PI. All assistant, associate, and full professors may nominate a candidate and serve as their sponsor/PI. A call for nominations, along with the guidelines of the program and instructions for submitting a nomination, is distributed annually.

Call for nominations, 2024-25 Cohort

Program Contacts

Frederick F. Wherry
Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
Director of the Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program
Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology

Frederick Wherry, The Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology and Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, serves as the Director of the Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program. The Director is a resource for the fellows, meeting with them monthly as a group to discuss their work, cultivating opportunities that nurture a sense of community among the fellows, and providing them with opportunities for professional development.

Regan Mumolie
Academic Affairs Administrator

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty provides administrative infrastructure for the program. Regan Mumolie, Academic Affairs Administrator in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty is the central point of contact for the program. She is responsible for administering the nomination, selection, and recruitment processes, and fields inquiries and requests for assistance from prospective nominees, from faculty interested in the nomination process, from PIs, from department managers and other department staff, and from the postdocs themselves.

Current Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows

2023-24 Cohort

Alexander Adames

Alexander Adames joins the Department of Sociology, studying social stratification and inequality, with a focus on educational inequality and racial inequality in the US. Adames holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, a M.A. in statistics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, a M.A. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A in sociology from the University of Virginia. He is co-advised by Yu Xie, Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Sociology and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Tod G. Hamilton, Professor of Sociology, and John N. Robinson III, Assistant Professor of Sociology.

Stevie Custode

Stevie Custode is appointed in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on how the contextual factors of everyday environments (home, classroom, and clinic) influence children’s early language and social interactions and ultimately their language development. Custode holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Miami, a M.A. in applied psychology from New York University, and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Tennessee. She is advised by Casey Lew-Williams, Professor of Psychology.

Estela Diaz

Estela Diaz joins the Department of Sociology. Her research examines the commodification of child rearing through a case study of private nursery, preschool, and kindergarten admissions in New York City. From Columbia University, Diaz holds a Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A in sociology, as well as an A.B. in Sociology from Princeton University. She is advised by Jennifer Jennings, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs.

J. Felix Gallion

J. Felix Gallion joins the Department of English, with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to the study of media, race, labor, and migration. Their current research explores U.S. agriculture as a carceral system through the lived experiences of Mexican American/Chicanx farmworkers. Gallion holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English and American Studies from Cornell University. He is advised by Monica Huerta, Assistant Professor of English and American Studies and Donald A. Stauffer Bicentennial Preceptor.

Archontoula Giannakopoulou

Archontoula Giannakopoulou joins the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, with a research goal to deepen understanding of the design principles of biotechnological tools for numerous applications in the areas of renewable energy, the environment and human health. She aims to develop novel multifunctional synthetic systems involving several aspects of nanobiotechnology and synthetic biology, to address challenges of renewable energy and the environment. Giannakopoulou holds a Ph.D. in biotechnology and a diploma of biology (Intergraded Master) from the University of Ioannina, Greece.  She is advised by José L. Avalos, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

Amna Liaqat

Amna Liaqat is appointed in the Center for Information Technology Policy. Her research seeks to build social technologies that help people connect, collaborate, and learn in new ways. Liaqat holds a Ph.D. in and a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto and a B.S. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Simon Fraser University. She is advised by Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

Marayna Martinez

Marayna Martinez joins the Department of Politics. Her work aims to understand how childhood experiences with K-12 public schools and policies influence adult political behavior, particularly among Americans of color. Martinez holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Policy from Duke University and a B.S. in Political Science and Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She is advised by Tali Mendelberg, John Work Garrett Professor of Politics.

Laetitia Mwilambwe-Tshilobo

Laetitia Mwilambwe-Tshilobo joins the Department of Psychology. Her work focuses on loneliness and social connection, aiming to identify the mechanisms driving the feedback loop between how loneliness shapes brain function and how brain function determines people's ability to connect. Mwilambwe-Tshilobo holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from McGill University, a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, a M.Sc. in Biology/Neuroscience from the University of Hartford, and a B.A. in Neuroscience from The College of Wooster. She is advised by Diana Tamir, Professor of Psychology.

Sultan Abdul Wadood

Sultan Abdul Wadood is appointed in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research uses quantum-inspired techniques to improve classical imaging and communications. Wadood holds a Ph.D. in optics from The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester and a B.E. in electrical engineering from the National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan.  He is advised by Jason Fleischer, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Maha Yusuf

Maha Yusuf joins the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, where she will combine her expertise in advanced neutron and X-ray-based characterization with physics-based modeling and 3D manufacturing to engineer anodes for long-life lithium-metal-free solid-state batteries. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University with support from Schlumberger Faculty for the Future Fellowship, Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence Fellowship, and Edward G. Weston Fellowship from Electrochemical Society. She holds a B.E. in Chemical Engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan, following which she worked on oil rigs as a drilling engineer in Colombia. She is advised by Kelsey Hatzell, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. 

Erik Župa

Erik Župa is appointed in the Department of Molecular Biology. His research focuses on revealing the molecular details by which malaria and related parasites remodel their membranes. Župa holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Heidelberg University, Germany, and from Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic, a M.S. in biomolecular chemistry and a B.S. in biochemistry.   He is advised by John Jimah, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and James A. Elkins, Jr. '41 Preceptor in Molecular Biology.

2022-23 Cohort

Francisco Apen

Francisco Apen is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Geosciences. His research asks how Earth’s first continents came to exist during the Archean eon (> 2.5 billion years ago) and subsequently evolved into the state we see them today. Apen holds a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.Sc. in Geology from the University of California, Davis. He is advised by Blair Schoene, Professor of Geosciences.

Diane-Jo Bart-Plange

Diane-Jo Bart-Plange is appointed in the Department of Psychology, where she plans to examine how interpersonal and institutional racism interact and impact racial and ethnic minority students’ well-being and sense of belonging. Broadly, Diane-Jo’s research focuses on how primarily white-controlled institutions, policies, cultural standards, and people maintain white supremacy. Diane-Jo holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in African and African American Studies and Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. She is advised by J. Nicole Shelton, Stuart Professor of Psychology.

Rodolfo Brandão

Rodolfo Brandão is appointed in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with a research focus on the theoretical modeling of physical phenomena, especially those involving fluid dynamics and wave phenomena. Brandão holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Imperial College London and a M.Sc. and B.Sc. in physics from Federal University of Pernambuco. He is advised by Howard A. Stone, Donald R. Dixon '69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Chair, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Diag Davenport

Diag Davenport is a postdoctoral research associate the School of Public and International Affairs. His current research uses tools from economics, psychology, and machine learning to tackle social and economic problems that contribute to undue inequality. This work includes a wide range of topics including criminal justice, startup investing, motivation, discrimination, and social capital. Davenport holds a PhD in Behavioral Science from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an MS in Mathematics and Statistics from Georgetown University, a BS in Economics from Pennsylvania State University, and a BS in Management from Pennsylvania State University. He is advised by Betsy Levy Paluck, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs.

Camilo Hernández

Camilo Hernández is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, where his research focuses on financial engineering, primarily in the field of stochastic control and its applications, including behavioral economics, contract theory, and financial mathematics. Hernández was a Chapman Fellow in Mathematics at Imperial College London, and holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Columbia University and, from Universidad de los Andes, a M.Sc. in Mathematics, a B.Sc. in Economics, and a B.Sc. in Mathematics. He is advised by Ludovic Tangpi, Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering.

Jodi Kraus

Jodi Kraus is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular Biology, advised by Sabine Petry, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology. Kraus’ research interests include biophysics and cell biology, particularly related to understanding structure, function, and regulation of the cytoskeleton during dynamic cellular processes like cell division. Kraus holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Delaware and a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Drexel University.

Francisco Lara-Garcia

Francisco Lara-Garcia is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Sociology, where his research focuses on Latinx immigrants in the US, specifically on the Mexican immigrant populations in Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico—a critical case comparison—to elucidate how differences in institutions shape integration trajectories. Lara-Garcia holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University, a M.U.P. in Urban Planning from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, and a B.A. in Sociology, Latin American Studies, and Political Science from the University of Arizona. He is advised by Filiz Garip, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs.

Uyen Mai

Uyen Mai is appointed in the Department of Computer Science, where she plans to leverage her expertise in species evolution to develop more realistic models of cancer evolution. Mai holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, San Diego and a B.S. in Computer Science from Portland State University. She is advised by Ben Raphael, Professor of Computer Science.

Victoria Muir

Victoria Muir is appointed in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, where she will expand on her expertise in soft granular materials to explore a new application – using granular hydrogels to investigate bacterial and phage community interactions in real-time. Muir holds a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and B.S.E. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Delaware. She is advised by Sujit S. Datta, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols is a postdoctoral research associate and LSST-DA Catalyst Fellow in the Departments of History and Astrophysical Sciences. She focuses on the intersection of the history of physics, astrophysics, and astronomy, environmental history, and legal history.  Nichols's research focuses on how physicists and astronomers understand noise and disturbances originating from the natural and built environment and its effects on highly precise and sensitive instruments and research endeavors, such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). She holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and J.D. from the University of Virginia and an A.M. and Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University. Nichols also has extensive experience in intellectual property litigation and related areas of law prior to her Ph.D. studies. She is advised by Laura Edwards, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty and Professor of History in the Department of History and Michael Strauss, Chair of the Department of Astrophysical Sciences and Professor of Astrophysical Sciences.


Julia Wilcots

Julia Wilcots is appointed in the Department of Geosciences where she plans to focus on a quantitative approach to interpreting Earth history from carbonate rocks. Wilcots holds a Ph.D. in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology from MIT and B.S.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University. She is advised by Adam C. Maloof, Professor of Geology.

2021-22 Cohort

Ashley Fidler

Ashley Fidler is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry, advised by Marissa Weichman, assistant professor of chemistry. Fidler holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, a MPhil in chemical engineering and biotechnology from the University of Cambridge, and a BS in chemistry and biology from The College of William and Mary. Fidler is interested in applying tailored spectroscopic techniques to answer fundamental scientific questions with far-reaching implications. In the Weichman lab, she utilizes her previous experience developing novel spectroscopic techniques for the study of ultrafast electronic dynamics in the Leone and Neumark Groups at UC Berkeley/LBNL to design and execute experiments controlling benchmark, condensed-phase chemical reactions via strong light-matter coupling in optical microcavities.

Elise A. Mitchell

Elise A. Mitchell is appointed in the Department of History. She holds a Ph.D. in history from New York University and a B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work examines the social and cultural histories of enslaved Africans and their descendants, focusing on the history of the body, gender, public health, and medicine in the early modern Caribbean and Atlantic World before 1800. Mitchell is working on a book manuscript about enslaved Africans' social, political, and therapeutic responses to smallpox epidemics and how they endured and contested European public health and medical interventions in the Caribbean region. She is also developing a digital history project based on her research database of over 300 smallpox outbreaks, which occurred among enslaved people in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British ships and Caribbean islands and coastal territories between roughly 1518 and 1806. Mitchell is advised by Keith Wailoo, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs.

Lucia Stein-Montalvo

Lucia Stein-Montalvo is appointed in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where she applies her mechanics expertise to adaptive architectural design, aimed at reducing energy needs and improving ventilation in urban landscapes. Stein-Montalvo holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Boston University and B.S. in mathematics from Davidson College. She is advised by Sigrid Adriaenssens, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Elie Bou-Zeid, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Mathurin Wamba

Mathurin Wamba is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Geosciences. With a focus on the volcanic plumes underlying the French Polynesian Islands, Wamba seeks to understand their geodynamical role and relationships with oceanic plates and continents. Wamba holds a Ph.D. in seismology from the University of Paris, a M.S. in geophysics from the University of Paris Cité Sorbonne, and from the University of Dschang a M.S. and B.S. in physics. He is advised by Frederik Simons, professor of geosciences.