Additional details from 2018 symposium


Abstract Booklet

2018 Symposium information

The Society of Postdoctoral Scholars at the University of Kentucky is hosting a symposium to feature the work of postdoctoral scholars and graduate students in Kentucky and surrounding areas. The symposium will allow for the exchange of ideas across a broad range of fields, and abstract submissions are welcome from any discipline. Postdocs from Kentucky and Ohio are especially encouraged to submit abstracts. Graduate students are also welcome to participate. The objective of this symposium is to share research across many different fields. 

Event details:

When: Friday, June 1st, 2018

Where: Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Keynote speaker: Dr. Desirée Salazar, program director of Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity at the NIH.


Desirée Salazar, Ph.D., is a program director in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity. She administers Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) and Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) grants and Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) awards. Dr. Salazar also manages Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research and Research Supplements to Promote Re-entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers program and oversees predoctoral T32 cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences grants. She also manages research grants in the area of stem cell biology and regeneration in the Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

Salazar was most recently a scientific program manager at the American Society for Cell Biology. Formerly, she was a program education coordinator for the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) program at the University of California, San Diego. She earned a B.S. in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Salazar conducted postdoctoral research and was an IRACDA fellow at the University of California, San Diego.

Other planned speakers and panels: TBD

Abstract submission:


  • Friday, May 11th for Oral Presentations 
  • Friday, May 18th for Poster Presentations


Abstracts should provide a concise summary of the research to be presented. The title may not exceed 150 characters in length, while the body of the abstract may not exceed 1000 characters in length. 

Posters and talks should be general and accessible to an audience outside of the speaker's area of specialization. Talks are allotted 15 minutes, including time for questions. Posters should be no more than 36"x48" in size and speakers should be prepared to present a brief and concise summary of the poster. Contact us if you would like to present a digital poster or short film about your research. 

Submit your abstract now


Compete with other postdocs to earn cash prizes for the top oral and poster presentations!


  • Oral presentation, first place
  • Poster presentation, first place
  • Poster presentation, second place
  • Poster presentation, third place

Thanks to sponsorship by the International Center we will award one prize from each category from among the submissions by international students. A second prize from each category will be awarded to the overall winners. 

Schedule of Events

8:30 a.m.Registration opens & Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – Welcome, Emily Hankosky, Ph.D., Chair of the SOPS Research Symposium Committee

9:05 a.m. Opening Remarks, Patricia Bond, Ph.D., Senior Assistant Dean, Office of Graduate Admissions & Recruitment

9:10 a.m.Keynote Address, Desirée Salazar, Ph.D., Program Director, Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, NIGMS/NIH. “Leveraging postdoctoral training to achieve career success: My journey to science administration.

10:00 a.m.Postdoctoral Oral Presentations, moderated by Catalina Velez, Ph.D.

10:00 a.m. – Lindsey Hammerslag, Ph.D., UK Psychology

Fentanyl demand decreases after activation or blockade of mu opioid receptors in male rats”

10:15 a.m. – Vishnu Modur, Ph.D., Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Defective transcription elongation in a subset of cancers confers immunotherapy resistance”

10:30 a.m.Break

11:00 a.m.Panel Discussion, moderated by Stephanie Davis, PhD: “Speaking My Language: Effectively Communicating Your Research”.  

Featured panelists include:

Desirée Salazar, Ph.D., NIGMS/NIH

Carmen Agouridis, Ph.D., UK Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Cagney Coomer, Founder, NERD SQUAD

Mike Pennell, Ph.D., UK Department of Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies

12:00 p.m.Networking Lunch (JSB Atrium)

12:30 p.m.Poster Session & Judging (JSB Atrium)

1:30 p.m.Panel Discussion, moderated by Emily Hankosky, Ph.D.: “The New Scholarly Communications Landscape: What to Look for (and Avoid) in Book and Journal Publishing”. 

Featured panelists include:

C. Sean Burns, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UK School of Information Science

Melissa Hammer, Senior Editor, University Press of Kentucky

David C. Randall, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology, UK College of Medicine

Patrick O’Dowd, Editor, University Press of Kentucky

2:00 p.m. Postdoctoral Oral Presentations, moderated by Emily Hankosky, Ph.D.  

2:00 pm – Mark J. Garcia, PhD, UK Entomology

“Neuromuscular Performance as Measures of Thermal Tolerance”

            2:15 pm – Mike Petriello, Ph.D., UK Cardiovascular Research Center

“Serum levels of dioxin-like pollutants are positively associated with the cardiometabolic disease risk biomarker TMAO in leaner individuals”

            2:30 pm – Kenton Sena, Ph.D., UK Forestry and Natural Resources

Phytophthora cinnamomi Colonized Reclaimed Surface Mined Sites in Eastern Kentucky: Implications for the Restoration of Susceptible Species”

            2:45 pm – Shogo Mori, Ph.D., UK Pharmaceutical Sciences

How are nonribosomal peptides methylated? A tale of interrupted adenylation domains”

3:00 pmBreak

3:15 pmPostdoctoral Oral Presentations, moderated by Lindsey Hammerslag, Ph.D.

            3:15 pm – Naser Pourakbar Sharifi, Ph.D., UK Civil Engineering

Application of a PCM-Rich Concrete Overlay to Control Thermal Induced Curling Stresses in Concrete Pavements”

3:30 pm – Keisha Nicole Hardeman, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Proliferation and Bioenergetics Are Uncoupled in BRAF-mutated Melanomas”

3:45 pm – Melise C. Lecheta, Ph.D., UK Entomology

Insects help to solve crimes: a real use case from Brazil”

4:00 pm – Yasir Alsiraj, Ph.D., UK Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences

Inhibition of neprilysin attenuates AngII-induced abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) and atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic male mice”

4:15 pm – Megan Johnstone, Ph.D., Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

DEK Over-Expression in Breast Epithelial Tissue Creates a Pro-Oncogenic Environment”

4:30 pm Closing Remarks and Awards

5:00 pm Research Symposium Party @ Pazzo’s Pizza Pub

Please join us for a social after the event at Pazzo’s Pizza Pub! (Located at the corner of South Limestone and Avenue of Champions)


Funding for the 4th Annual SOPS Research Symposium was kindly provided by:

UK Office of the Vice President of Research, UK Student Government Association, UK Graduate School, UK International Center, UK College of Medicine

Post-Symposium Dinner

When: Friday, June 1, 2018 5:00 pm Where: Pazzo's Pizza Pub (385 S Limestone, Lexington, Kentucky 40508) Description: After the Fourth Annual Research Symposium, network and socialize with the presenters and attendees over dinner at Pazzo's! We'll meet at the Jacob's Science Building at 4:45 pm to walk over, or meet us there. Look for the SOPS sign!