The Yen Fellowship
The Institute invites applications for the Institute’s endowed Yen Fellowship. This fellowship is for recent and upcoming Ph.D. graduates and seeks to support outstanding individuals to pursue cutting edge research at the interfaces of the Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Molecular Engineering. The Yen Fellows are a community of driven postdoctoral researchers who have defined unique research directions in collaboration with one or more faculty members. The Fellowship provides partial salary support for two years in addition to providing an independent research budget.
Yen fellows can be mentored by any member of the IBD faculty. The faculty members who are actively seeking postdocs this year are:
Demet Arac-Ozkan, Axel Concepcion, Aaron Dinner, Allan Drummond, Jingyi Fei, Margaret Gardel, Michael Glotzer, Andrew Koh, Chuan He, Elizabeth Jerison, David Kovar, Stephen Kron, Seppe Kuehn, Ka Yee Lee, Jason MacLean, Peter Maurer, Edwin Munro, Arvind Murugan, David Pincus, Eduardo Perozo, Phoebe Rice, Michael Rust, Allison Squires, Andrei Tokmakoff, Suri Vaikuntanathan, Greg Voth, Minglei Zhao.
A complete list of the Institute faculty and their research interests can be found here. We encourage applicants to contact Institute faculty directly about potential projects.
The endowed Yen Fellows Program has been established to attract postdoctoral level researchers who will be associated with one or more IBD faculty but have the freedom to conduct research independently. This program is supported by the endowment of a gift from U of C Chemistry Department alumnus Yung-Tsai Yen, PhD ’75, and his wife Ho-Tzu.
2024 Yen Fellow
Kalki Kukreja is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Chuan He’s and Dr. Yun Fang’s labs at the University of Chicago. She is interested in the role of small non-coding RNAs in cardiovascular physiology and disease. Prior to this, Kalki pursued her PhD in Dr. Allon Klein’s lab at Harvard University. During her PhD, she studied the role of cell signaling and cell cycle in tissue and embryonic development by combining perturbation experiments with single-cell RNA-sequencing.
2023 Yen Fellow
Ondrej is a postdoc working in Ed Munro’s lab, where he uses computational tools to model symmetry breaking in cells. His interest in particular is interfacing with experiments to understand how the biochemical and mechanical processes in cells work together to form robustly polar states. Prior to this, he did his PhD in mathematics at NYU, where he worked on modeling the hydrodynamic interactions of filaments and cross linkers immersed in a fluid, which is a model system for the actin cytoskeleton.
2021 Yen Fellow
Shailaja Seetharaman is a postdoctoral researcher in the Gardel Lab at the University of Chicago. She received her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Institut Pasteur, Paris, and her Master’s in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences from King’s College London. Her research interests lie in the field of cell and tissue mechanics, where she aims to understand how subcellular dynamics control tissue organization and functioning, in physiological and pathological conditions. In particular, her research focuses on identifying novel cytoskeletal crosstalk mechanisms that contribute to cell adhesion, migration and mechanotransduction in normal tissues, and how alterations in these cellular processes can drive disease progression.
2021 Yen Fellow
Kabir is a postdoc in Arvind Murugan’s group. Trained as a physicist, he is interested in how the physical architecture of biology constrains evolution. Prior to this, he did his PhD in cellular signalling and active matter with Madan Rao and Jitu Mayor at the NCBS in Bangalore, India. His work involves tools from statistical physics, information theory, and more recently experimental approaches in molecular biology and laboratory evolution.
2024 Yen Fellow
Debasmita Mondal will be joining UChicago as a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Margaret Gardel’s lab starting in early 2024. Before this, she was a postdoc at ENS de Lyon, France for about a year after graduating from IISc, Bangalore, India. She has worked on cell motility, flow field, active ciliary mechanics, and synthetic colloids. In the Gardel lab, she will be exploring mechanical information processing in actin cytoskeleton.
2022 Yen Fellow
Sneha Paul is a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Jingyi Fei. Her research aims at using super-resolution microscopy to understand the organization of RNA molecules in phase-separated entities called nuclear speckles. A fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy enthusiast, Sneha graduated from University of Hyderabad, India where she investigated dynamic processes in canonical and non-canonical nucleic acids primarily using photophysical techniques. Her research interests lie in using fluorescence based imaging and spectroscopic tools to investigate biological problems.
2022 Yen Fellow
Xinqi Fan is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Jingyi Fei’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. He is interested in understanding the biological functions of nuclear speckles. Prior to this, he graduated from Peking University where he developed chemical tools to decipher glyco-code in mammalian cells. After that, he finished his postdoctoral research in Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry where he worked on imaging of gut microbiota in living animals. Now he is focused on the study of eukaryotic RNA localization and processing, particularly the function of nuclear speckles in RNA processing and metabolism.
2021 Yen Fellow
Bei Liu is a postdoctoral researcher working in Dr. Chuan He’s lab in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on understanding the biological functions of epitranscriptomic modifications. He graduated from Duke University where he worked on investigating the impact of chemical modifications on RNA structure and dynamics. He is interested in developing methods to manipulate RNA structure and activity in cells.
2020 Yen Fellow
Riccardo is a postdoc in Arvind Murugan and Rama Ranganathan’s groups since July 2021. He is interested in the connection between structure, function and evolution in biology both at the microbial and protein level. Prior to this, Riccardo pursued his PhD at EPFL in Lausanne under the supervision of Matthieu Wyart. He worked on understanding the physical principles behind the emergence of long-range functional response in elastic material as a proxy to understand allostery in proteins. He also worked with inference models to predict allosteric function from sequence data.