To The Top

The header image is the default header image for the site.

Postdoctoral Strategic Initiative


The MU Research Excellence Program (REP) enhances the university’s research mission by providing support to faculty with active grant funding to hire postdoctoral scholars to further research productivity and advance postdoctoral scholar careers.

The Research Excellence Program (REP) is coordinated by the Office of Postdoctoral Education housed within the Graduate School.

The REP program helps support the research mission by:

  • Increasing research support, capacity, and productivity from existing high-performing faculty
  • Providing specialized training and support to postdoctoral scholars to advance their careers and preparedness to apply for grants and early career awards

MU Faculty are competitively selected to be REP Faculty Scholars and participate in a call to hire REP Postdocs. The REP Faculty Scholar serves as the REP Postdoc’s research sponsor and mentor. REP Postdocs are provided with a competitive salary and professional development funds.

Professional development for REP postdocs includes grant writing training, personalized guidance in finding funding, and support in the process of submitting for NIH K99 and other early career awards. REP provides postdoctoral scholars with unique opportunities to prepare for a faculty career. The Office of Postdoctoral Education manages the hiring process for REP and helps coordinate ongoing professional development.

Now Accepting Applications!

Many REP Faculty Scholars are accepting applications for REP Postdoctoral Fellow positions. Please check their profiles below.

Meet our REP Faculty Scholars!

Carolyn Anderson, PhD


The Anderson lab performs the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel radiometal-based radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and targeted radiotherapy of cancer and other diseases. A current focus of her research lab is the development of imaging agents for up-regulated receptors on immune cells that are involved in inflammation related primary tumor growth and cancer metastasis, and sickle cell disease.


Molecular Imaging and Theranostics Center


Twitter: @andersoncj44; @Mizzou_MITC

Prasad Calyam, PhD


Prasad Calyam is the Greg L. Gilliom Professor of Cyber Security in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Director of the Cyber Education, Research and Infrastructure Center (Mizzou CERI). His research group investigates methods to model, manage and secure cloud computing applications that have real-time resource allocation needs and require high-speed networks. His latest projects involve use of recommender systems equipped with intelligent agents to help decision makers of applications (e.g., in cyber defense, healthcare, bioinformatics and advanced manufacturing) to improve productivity and collaboration through automation, and ultimately by autonomous operation.

Shiyou Chen, DVM, PhD


Dr. Chen has a broad research interest in vascular biology. He has been studying molecular mechanisms underlying the development of a number of vascular diseases including abdominal aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, hypertension, restenosis and vascular remodeling following vascular injury such as angioplasty, etc. His efforts have been largely directed to investigate vascular smooth muscle phenotypic modulation during artery wall remodeling in pathological conditions. Dr. Chen also studies vascular inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and metabolic disorders including obesity and fatty liver diseases. His laboratory uses a variety of molecular and cellular technology as well as animal models and human biopsies to address fundamental questions in disease development.

Baolin Deng,PhD

Now accepting applications!

Baolin Deng is a William Andrew Davidson Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Co-director of the Missouri Water Center. He has been PI/co-PI for over three dozen research projects including the CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation and published over 130 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Deng is Associate Editor/Asian regional editor for the AEESP journal – Environmental Engineering Science. Previously he served on the EPA Science Advisory Board Drinking Water Committee and chaired the MU Department of Chemical Engineering from 2009-2015. Deng also conducted research in the US Air Force Research Laboratory as a National Research Council (NRC) Research Associate and at the New Mexico Tech as a faculty member. During the 2006/2007 academic year he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Environmental Engineering program and Research Scientist at Army Engineer Research & Development Center, on a Development Leave to develop expertise on Environmental Sustainability. During his sabbatical/research leave from 2017-2018, he taught and conducted research as Chair Professor at the Southern University of Science & Technology, China.

Timothy Domeier, PhD

Now accepting applications!


Dr. Domeier is the Principal Investigator of the Cardiac Cell Physiology laboratory, which investigates pathological alterations in cardiac muscle cell calcium handling in diseases including heart failure, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, genetic cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmia. With each heartbeat, calcium in the cardiac muscle cell cycles dramatically, changing from very low levels during diastole to high levels during systole. In the normal heart these calcium signals exhibit precise timing, which orchestrates the coordinated contraction of all muscle cells and ensures proper pumping of blood. During heart disease muscle cells are unable to properly regulate calcium which leads to cellular contractile dysfunction, muscle cell damage, and electrophysiological abnormalities. In patients, these cellular findings manifest as cardiac failure, cardiac arrhythmia, and sudden death. The laboratory uses innovative approaches to examine when and where calcium changes within the muscle cell, with the overall goal of designing targeted therapeutic approaches to treat patients with cardiovascular disease.

John Driver, PhD


John Driver is an Associate Professor in the Division of Animal Sciences. His research is directed at using genetically edited pig models to study the development and maintenance of pulmonary immunity. He is particularly focused on understanding the role played by unconventional T cell types in establishing immune homeostasis in the respiratory tract as well as their contribution to host resistance against pathogens that are important for swine and human health.

Dongsheng Duan, PhD


Dongsheng Duan, Ph.D. is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor and Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research at the University of Missouri, School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Duan is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has made many seminal contributions in the field of gene therapy, in particular, in the development of the adeno-associated virus vector and Duchenne muscular dystrophy gene therapy. He is the recipient of American Society of Gene Therapy Outstanding New Investigator Award in 2006. He also received Spurgeon Distinguished Medical Research Award in 2004, Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity at the University of Missouri in 2009, Honorary Medical Alumni Award in 2017, and Excellence in Research Mentoring of Trainees Award in 2017. Mizzou 18 Honored Mentor in 2021. Dr. Duan has consistently been ranked in top 3 in the worldwide expert database in the field of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He has published more than 185 research articles and edited/co-edited three muscle gene therapy books. His papers have been cited more than 12,529 times (H index: 59; i10 index: 150). He serves as an associate editor for Human Gene Therapy, Molecular Therapy, Frontiers in Physiology, and Frontiers in Genome Editing. He is also on the editorial board of Gene Therapy, and Current Biotechnology. Further, Dr. Duan has severed as a panel member in more than 76 NIH study sections and numerous study sections for other federal agencies and private foundations. He has also reviewed manuscripts for more than 102 scientific journals. For more detail, please check out the web links below.

David Geary, PhD

Now accepting applications!


Dr. Geary is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program and Director of the MU Math Study ( We focus on the cognitive factors that contribute to mathematical learning from preschool through high school algebra. The current focus is on the cognitive mechanisms, such as spatial abilities, that support algebraic cognition and learning, and we are beginning a multi-systemic longitudinal study of preschoolers’ early quantitative development. The focus here is on knowledge and skills that support readiness for math learning at school entry and on the child-, home-, and classroom-centered factors that contribute to the acquisition of this knowledge.

REP Postdoc Opportunity

We are seeking a post-doctoral fellow to work on a longitudinal multi-systemic study of the child-, home-, and classroom-centered factors that contribute to preschoolers’ early quantitative development. The focus is on quantitative competencies that predict readiness for school entry. The participants will be students enrolled in Title I preschool for academically at-risk children and their parents. The fellow will work with a multi-disciplinary team and contribute to all aspects of the project. The LD Hub will be part of an NICHD-funded consortium of Hubs and LD Research Centers and the post-doc will have the opportunity to participate in annual joint meetings.

For more information on the position and to apply, contact David Geary,

Keri Jacobs, PhD


Dr. Keri L. Jacobs is associate professor of agriculture and applied economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. She holds the MFA Chair in Agribusiness and is Fellow of the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership. Keri’s passion is to elevate cooperatives’ success and prominence by addressing the unique needs of agricultural cooperatives nationally. Her outreach focuses on governance and financial development of directors, employees, and cooperative members, and her research considers producers’ supply chain opportunities and the causes and consequences of ag consolidation.

Gavin King, PhD


Gavin’s research interests lay at the intersection of condensed matter physics, molecular biology, and nanotechnology. During his graduate research, he developed some of the first nanopore sequencing devices as well as ice lithography, a novel nanofabrication method. He carried out postdoctoral research at JILA/National Institute of Standards and Technology where he spearheaded a project to develop high precision atomic force microscopy apparatus. His laboratory at MU focuses on central problems in membrane biophysics, developing and applying state-of-the-art single molecule biophysics technology.

David Kline, PhD

Now accepting applications!


Our laboratory focuses on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. These vital systems operate to keep our bodies within “normal” physiological limits to preserve homeostasis. When challenged with low environmental oxygen (hypoxia) levels respiration, blood pressure and heart rate compensate to maintain arterial blood gas levels. This can happen during high altitude assent or disease states such as sleep apnea. Long term hypoxic challenges result not only in physiological changes but also gene changes. Determining these mechanisms during health and disease is the focus of the laboratory.

De-Pei Li, MD, MSc

Now accepting applications!


The research interests of my laboratory focus on neural mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases and chronic stress.  Identifying cellular and synaptic mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases and chronic stress-related neurological disorders are critical for developing novel therapeutics to treat these diseases.  The ongoing projects in the lab are to explore the role of neuroendocrine dysfunction in hypertension and other brain disorders. We use multiple experimental approaches including electrophysiology, molecular biology, and transgenics in the research projects.

REP Postdoc Opportunity

This is a postdoctoral fellow position in the lab of Dr. De-Pei Li in the Department of Medicine, Center for Precision Medicine. Dr. Li’s research focus is neural mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases and chronic stress. Identifying cellular and synaptic mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases and chronic stress-related neurological disorders are critical for developing novel therapeutics to treat these diseases. The ongoing projects in the lab are to explore the role of neuroendocrine dysfunction in hypertension and other brain disorders. Dr. Li and his team use multiple experimental approaches including electrophysiology, molecular biology, and transgenics in the research projects. The postdoctoral fellow on Dr. Li’s team will actively contribute to the ongoing research activities in the lab involving neural mechanisms underlying chronic stress-induced hypertension. Examples of research responsibilities include electrophysiological recording in brain slices, performing stress procedures, immunostaining, and behavioral testing. The postdoctoral fellow in this position will gain hands on experience in lab safety, research procedures, and the administrative aspects of research.

Apply here.

Sarah Lovell, PhD

Initial Mentor


Here is a brief bio: Sarah’s research focuses on the analysis and design of sustainable, multifunctional landscapes that have the potential to improve ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services. As the director of the Center for Agroforestry, she leads a multidisciplinary team in studying the benefits of integrating trees into agricultural landscapes. A recent focus of research is on the human health benefits of nutrient-dense berries and heart-healthy nuts that can be produced from agroforestry systems.

Camila Manrique, MD


Dr. Camila Manrique Acevedo is an Associate Professor with tenure in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Missouri. She is the Faculty Director for Research Operations in the Medicine Department and the Chief of Endocrinology at the Harry S Truman VA Hospital.

Dr. Manrique Acevedo research program focuses on addressing sex-related inequities in cardiovascular disease and on the mechanisms responsible for the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in insulin resistance subjects. Her laboratory performs state-of-the-art vascular and metabolic studies in both type 2 diabetic subjects and in relevant translational animal models of obesity and insulin resistance.

Dr. Manrique Acevedo has experience leading human subjects research projects. She is a principal investigator and co-investigator in federally funded trials (NIH and Veterans’ Administration) enrolling populations that range from healthy adults to patients with obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Manrique Acevedo completed medical school at the National University in Bogota -Colombia, Internal Medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at University of Missouri-Columbia.

Ron Mittler, PhD


Ron Mittler is a Professor in the Division of Plant Sciences and Technology and in the Department of Surgery, and a Bond Life Sciences Center Investigator, at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Rutgers University. His research is focused on reactive oxygen species metabolism and signaling in plant and animal cells, systemic responses of plants to stress, cancer biology, and stress combination.

Jaume Padilla, PhD


Dr. Padilla is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and resident investigator at the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building. His research program focuses on understanding the mechanisms of vascular endothelial dysfunction in obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as the impact of physical (in)activity. His federally funded research studies incorporate biochemical and molecular techniques, in vitro cell and tissue culture models, in vivo studies in genetic mouse models and large animals, and clinical studies in human participants.

Wendy Reinke, PhD


Wendy M. Reinke, Ph.D. is a Curators Distinguished Professor in School Psychology and co-director of the Missouri Prevention Science Institute. Her primary area of research is in the prevention of disruptive behavior problems in children, teacher consultation, and school mental health. She is the director of the National Center for Rural School Mental Health funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Arthur Suits, PhD


Arthur G. Suits obtained his PhD in 1991 with Nobel laureate Yuan T. Lee at Berkeley. He has held positions at Lawrence Berkeley and Brookhaven National Laboratories and faculty positions at Stony Brook and Wayne State. He is now Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Missouri. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has devoted his career to studying the detailed dynamics of elementary chemical reactions.

Delinda van Garderen, PhD

Now accepting applications!


Delinda van Garderen, PhD, is a Professor of special education. She is currently the chair in the Department of Special Education at the University of Missouri. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Miami. Her research interests focus on students with learning disabilities, struggling learners, and teacher practice and development in the content areas of mathematics and science.

REP Postdoc Opportunity

The Department of Special Education invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellowship position. The Postdoctoral Fellow will work with Dr. Delinda van Garderen and others as a part of a research group (see and other research opportunities as they arise. This position is a part of the MU Research Excellence Program.

Click here to see the job posting.

For more information on the position, contact Delinda van Garderen,

Meet our REP Postdocs!

Tayyab Adeel, PhD

Department of Surgery

REP 2023-2025

Queen Mary University of London, UK

Mentored By: Shiyou Chen, DVM, PhD

Larissa Ferreira Dos Santos, PhD

Department of Medicine

REP 2022-2024

PhD, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Mentored By: Jaume Padilla, PhD

Larissa´s research interests include understanding the mechanisms of vascular endothelial dysfunction and determining the functional characteristics of cells within blood vessels affected by conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and aging. She works at the Roy Blut NextGen Precision Health Building with biochemical and molecular techniques, in vitro cell and tissue culture models, animal models, and clinical studies in human participants. She is also interested in physical exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to treat and prevent cardiovascular risk factors and subsequently cardiovascular diseases.

Sayed M Saghaian Nejad Esfahani

Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

REP 2022-2024

PhD, Penn State University

Mentored By: Prasad Calyam, PhD

Sayed M Saghaian Nejad Esfahani is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, as a part of the Research Excellence Program (REP) at the University of Missouri. He is a member of the Center for Cyber Education, Research and Infrastructure (Mizzou CERI). He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He is broadly interested in the areas of Privacy, Security and Machine Learning. His paper has received the 14th EAI International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks (SecureComm) (2018) best paper award.

Casey Foley, PhD


REP 2022-2024

PhD, University of Missouri

Mentored By: Arthur G. Suits, PhD

Casey is a physical chemist returning to the University of Missouri to research fundamentals of molecular scattering dynamics. He works in the Department of Chemistry with multiple instruments that utilize molecular beams, time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and lasers to perform spectroscopy and untangle dissociation and collision dynamics of chemical reactions. His research interests include understanding plasma formation in hypersonic systems using novel electron-ion coincidence imaging methods. He is also interested in studying hydrogen atom reactions with alkanes to experimentally probe reaction dynamics which may be primary chain reaction drivers under oxygen-deficient or pyrolytic conditions.

Henri-Baptiste Marjault, PhD

Plant Sciences and Technology

REP 2022-2024

PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Mentored By: Ron Mittler, PhD

Isa Kupke, PhD

School of Natural Resources

REP 2022-2024

University of Pretoria, South Africa

Mentored By: Sarah Lovell, PhD

Isa Kupke (Née Lambrechts) completed her PhD in Medicinal Plant Science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Her research focused on indigenous South African plants for their medicinal value regarding antibiotic resistance of bacteria associated with acne vulgaris, wounds, and prosthetic implant-associated infections. She has a passion for traditional medicine and transforming traditional knowledge into products that could support the traditional knowledge holders of these invaluable resources.

Longbo Li, PhD

Molecular Imaging Theranostic Center

REP 2022-2024

University of California, Santa Cruz

Mentored By: Carolyn Anderson, PhD

Longbo Li was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania from Jan 2021 to Jun 2022 working with Prof. Gary A. Molander developing visible light-mediated synthetic methods for DNA-encoded libraries and difunctionalization of [1,1,1]propellane. She earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry at University of California, Santa Cruz in 2020 under the supervision of Prof Rebecca Braslau working on internal plasticization of poly(vinyl chloride) to minimize leaching of toxic plasticizers. She is interested in combining her background in organic synthesis, DNA-encoded library technology, and polymer chemistry for developing new radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis and treatment of human cancers.

Nikita Mc Cree, PhD

Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

REP 2022-2024

PhD, University of Missouri

Mentored By: Wendy Reinke, PhD

Nikita Mc Cree is an international scholar and educator from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently attending the University of Missouri, Columbia where she is in the final semester of her Ph.D. program in Special Education with an emphasis in Behavior Disorders. Her research interests center on improving the academic and behavioral outcomes for students with emotional behavior disorders, Teacher preparation and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.

Francisco Ramirez-Perez, PhD

Department of Medicine

REP 2022-2024

PhD, University of Missouri

Mentored By: Camila Manrique, MD

Katherine Schaefer, PhD

Physics and Astronomy

REP 2022-2024

PhD, University of Missouri

Mentored By: Gavin King, PhD

Katherine completed her PhD in physics at the University of Missouri. Her research interests are in single-molecule biophysics and precision measurement. Via a variety of methods, principally atomic force microscopy, she seeks to elucidate the cell-damaging mechanisms of pore-forming peptide toxins. In particular she is interested in the newly discovered fungal toxin candidalysin and potential routes of pharmaceutical intervention for fungal infections. Katherine is also interested in material science and using ice lithographic techniques to pattern nanostructures and biomaterials.