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Announcing the second round winners of PLOS ECR Travel Awards

The second batch of PLOS Early Career Researcher Travel Awards have been awarded to ten PLOS authors. Though their specialties range from marine bioacoustics to health system economics, the broad adoption of preprint servers will impact the trajectory of their careers in different ways. In this round of applications, the ten scientists recognized with these awards shared their impressions of preprint servers and how their use may impact the scientific community.

For a broad view of the benefits of preprints and an update on what PLOS is doing in this area, read “The Best of Both Worlds: Preprints and Journals” on The Official PLOS Blog.

Meet the recipients and learn more about how they plan to use the award to advance their careers in science.

Adam Steinbrenner is a post-doc and plant botanist at the University of California San Diego, where he mpmi_portrait_steinbrennerV2is working to understand the molecular mechanisms of plant resistance to insect pests. “We know many plant immune receptors that recognize pathogen-derived ligands, but we still know very little about how plants perceive cues from chewing insects. I began my postdoc in January and I’m working toward identifying receptors for elicitors in caterpillar oral secretions,” said Steinbrenner. He will attend a Gordon Conference on Plant-Insect Interactions, where he hopes to meet and share data with entomologists after five years studying plant pathogens. Follow Adam on Twitter @ADSteinbrenner.

Danielle J. Harper is an early career researcher working in medical physics, specifically optical harper_headshot(1)coherence tomography, at the Medical University of Vienna. “I am working on the development of a visible light polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography system (vis-PS-OCT) to be able to image the retina of mouse models,” said Harper. “In addition to its high resolution reflectivity images, the system also provides visible light spectroscopic data and information regarding the polarization properties of the eye.” Harper will present her abstract to the SPIE BiOS Conference, part of Photonics West, in San Francisco. She says this the first opportunity to present her work at the international conference.

Follow Danielle on Twitter @harperdaniellej.

Fan Fan is an assistant professor at the Pharmacology and Toxicology Center at the University of Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 1.48.50 PMMississippi Medical Center. Fan’s research focuses on “the genetic basis of the cerebral and renal microvascular dysfunction, and role of its contributes to end organ damage including vascular cognitive impairments, Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias, stroke and renal disease, especially with aging, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.” Fan will travel to attend the 6th International Conference on Vascular Dementia, where she will be giving an oral presentation entitled “Autoregulation of cerebral blood flow and age-diabetes-related Alzheimer-like cognitive deficits”.

See Fan Fan’s profiles on Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

Karina Mondragon-Shem is a PhD student at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine where her GetFileAttachmentwork focuses on “identifying the sugar structures present in the saliva of disease vectors such as sandflies, mosquitoes, and ticks, and the role these sugars may play in vector-pathogen-host interactions.” Mondragon-Shem is attending the Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Protozoology in Caxambu, Brazil. “Attending this meeting will allow me to showcase my research in a disease-endemic country and meet current and potential collaborators —perhaps over a caipirinha or two,” she said.

Follow Karina on Twitter @_KarinaMS_ and see her research profile on LSTM.

Leanna Matthews is a PhD candidate at the Parks Lab at Syracuse University, where her research is in GetFileAttachment-2animal behavior and communication, specifically marine bioacoustics. “My dissertation is looking at the underwater breeding vocalizations of male harbor seals in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska and the effects that vessel noise has on their acoustic behavior,” said Matthews. Matthews will attend a joint meeting for the Acoustical Society of American and the Acoustical Society of Japan in Honolulu, HI, where she is presenting a poster based on her research.


Follow Leanna on Twitter @LeannaMatthews.

Natalie McCormick is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, where she is researching mccormick_headshothealthcare resource use and health economics of systemic autoimmune diseases. McCormick is traveling to Washington, DC to attend the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Collection of Rheumatology, where she is making an oral presentation on research conducted at University of California San Francisco based on data from the Lupus Outcomes Study.

Follow Natalie on Twitter @nataliem_ubc.

Ojas Deshpande is a PhD student at the Physical Principles of Nuclear Division lab at the Instituto Deshpande_headshotGulbenkian de Ciência in Oeiras, Portugal. Deshpande is “interested in studying the mechanisms underlying nuclear positioning in Drosophila syncytial embryos and how the inter-nuclear distance between them is regulated.” He will be traveling to the American Society of Cell Biology conference in San Francisco next month; see his poster #P2346 if you’re there.


Follow Ojas on Twitter @deshpande_ojas.


Rajeswaran Jagadeesan is a research scientist investigating Agricultural and Molecular Entomology Jagadeesan_Headhsot(insecticide resistance) at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Ecosciences Precinct in Queensland, Australia. Jagadeesan will be traveling to New Delhi, India to attend the 12th international conference on controlled atmosphere and fumigation (CAF) on stored product pests. “CAF is an unique quadrennial conference in entomology where significant global audience from both research and private sector will interact over thrust areas towards resolving complex issues in pest management,” said Jagadeesan. “Thus, attending CAF will provide me a perfect platform to highlight my research achievements to an international audience that will strengthen my personal and professional caliber.”

Follow Rajeswaran on Twitter @j_rajeswaran.

Robert Power is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at the African Health Research Institute at the University College London. Power will be traveling to Vancouver, Canada to attend the American Society of Human Genetics conference.

Sundeep Teki is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in the Auditory Neuroscience Group at the GetFileAttachment-3University of Oxford. Teki’s research is focused on “… understanding the neural bases of unsupervised learning and generalization of natural sound sequences using a combination of electrophysiological and computational methods.” Teki used the travel award to attend the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, held in San Diego November 1116.


Follow Sundeep on Twitter @sundeepteki and learn more about his research here.

Featured Image: Danielle Harper works in her lab at the Medical University of Vienna. Photo courtesy of Harper.


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