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Introducing the winners of the first round of PLOS ECR Travel Awards

PLOS has awarded the first batch of travel awards to 11 PLOS published early career researchers for sharing their vision of the optimal peer review process. Applicants in this first cycle were asked to describe characteristics of the optimal peer review process and how they might build this in a way that makes science more transparent and research more rapidly available.

We’ve put the spotlight on some of the winners to learn more about their research and how they plan to use the travel award to advance their careers.

Introducing our 11 ECR Travel Award Winners


Rebecca Gelding is a PhD candidate in Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where she researches how music impacts cognition. She will be traveling to San Francisco to attend the 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. “My potential future reviewers, collaborators, colleagues, and mentors now know who I am, and I feel part of the international music science community – something that would have been difficult to achieve had it not been for the conference attendance,” said Rebecca. Follow Rebecca on Twitter at @rebeccagelding.





Xiao-Peng Song is a postdoc at the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Maryland, where he recently completed his PhD in Geological Sciences. His current research focuses on monitoring land cover and land use change by linking remote sensing, ecological and socioeconomic data. He will be traveling to Beijing to attend the 2016 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS).



Pratha Sah is a PhD candidate at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where she studies infectious disease using quantitative methods. Her current research studies how epidemic disease spreads in wildlife populations, and the implications of human disturbance on disease invasion using open-source computational tools. Pratha will be attending the Ecological Society of America Meeting (ESA) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Follow Pratha on Twitter at @pratha_sah.




Christine Lattin is a postdoctoral fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Life Sciences Research Foundation at the Positron Emission Tomography Center at Yale University. Christine completed her PhD in Biology at Tufts University, where her research focused on physiological ecology. She will be using the travel award to attend the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Annual Meeting in Montreal. Follow Christine on Twitter at @c_lattin.




Juan Rocha is a post-doc at Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University in Sweden, where he completed his PhD studying the cascading effects of regime shifts in the ecosystem. Juan will also be attending the ESA Meeting to discuss the results of his dissertation. Follow Juan on Twitter at @juanrocha.




Roberta Salmi is a postdoc at the Center for Geospatial Research at University of Georgia, where she also teaches anthropology. Salmi completed her PhD in Anthropological Science at Stony Brook University, where she researched vocal communication in wild western gorillas. Roberta will be attending the International Primatological Society Congress in Chicago.



Constantine Simintiras is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Sciences at Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom. His research revolves around establishing a bioartificial Fallopian tube to (a) investigate the detailed biochemical mechanisms underlying oviduct fluid formation in health and disease and (b) optimize in vitro fertilization and embryo culture. Simintiras will be traveling to San Diego, Calif. to attend the Society for the Study of Reproduction Meeting (SSR). Follow Constantine on Twitter at @simintiras.





Victoria Leong is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, where she also completed her PhD. Her current research investigates the neuro-social dynamics of early language learning in infants. She will be using funds from the travel award to travel to Vilnius, Lithuania to present her research at the 24th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD).




Gili Greenbaum is a PhD candidate studying theoretical population genetics at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. His research aims to advance understanding of evolutionary dynamics in populations and develop methods for analysis of genetic information at the population level using network theory. Gili will use the travel award to attend the Allied Genetics Conference in Orlando, Florida.


Stallings-Smith, Sericea


Sericea Stallings-Smith is an assistant professor of public health at the University of North Florida. She completed her DrPh in epidemiology at Brunel University in London. Sericea will be using the travel award to offset the costs of travel to Rome, Italy to present at the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Meeting.


IMG_2886Wei Wang is a PhD candidate at the Center for Earth System Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Wang researches the impact of human activities and climate change on floods using methods such as hydrological model and data analysis. He will also be using the funds from the travel award to attend the 2016 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS). Wei said the travel award will allow him to “to meet people in my science community, and share my research results and exchange ideas.”


Coming up next

Sign up for PLOS Updates for the latest news and information from PLOS, including the announcement for the next round of PLOS Early Career Travel Award Applications. Also, follow the PLOS ECR Community on Twitter @PLOSECR.

Featured Image courtesy of Matthew Hurst via Flickr, CCBY-SA 2.0.


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