Magee-Womens Research Institute’s (MWRI) Postdoctoral Fellowship Program prepares individuals for independent and productive careers as research scientists by providing them with the environment necessary for an intensive experience in medical research education. Post-doctoral trainees participate in highly focused research projects that impact one of a number of problems related to reproductive biology, reproductive development, and the health of women and their infants. Postdoctoral education is an important element within the scholarly activity at MWRI and the University of Pittsburgh. To date, MWRI has successfully trained more than 45 postdoctoral fellows.

This fellowship is available to new recruitments, or to existing postdoctoral fellows at MWRI. Our postdoctoral fellows are employees of the University and are appointed to non-faculty positions through the University of Pittsburgh. The salary and fringe benefits are determined in accordance with university policy. Fellows are required to adhere to the University of Pittsburgh guidelines for Post-doctoral associates and scholars.

The training goals of the MWRI Postdoctoral Fellowship include:

  • Performing meaningful basic, translational or clinical research that leads to
    enhancement of scientific knowledge
  • Developing effective oral and written communication skills
  • Acquiring the skills needed for independent research
  • Learning skills needed for successful grant writing
  • Developing effective teaching skills
  • Understanding laboratory management and organization, and
  • Incorporating responsible conduct (including ethics, safety and regulatory compliance) into all research activities


Candidates must have an MD, PhD, or equivalent doctorate (eg, ScD, PharmD or DVM) in a field that is relevant to reproductive biology and women’s health, and cannot be more than four years into a post-doctoral position at the time of application. They must be committed to a research career in reproductive sciences. Strong candidates are intelligent, creative, focused, independent, show a keen interest in developing current as well as new skills through the fellowship training, able to effectively correspond and work with other team members, and have excellent written and oral communications skills in English. Preference will be given to applicants who are committed to an academic career. Individuals participating in the Program may come from the United States or international institutions.


Program Structure

Appointments are granted for one year, and funds are provided to cover the fellow’s salary and standard fringe benefits, and enrollment in one advanced University of Pittsburgh course relevant to their project. At the end of the first year, a written progress report and presentation to the Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee are required, at which time the Committee may choose to approve extension of support for a second year. The maximum term for which a trainee may be supported by the program is two years. The appointment involves full-time research, and cannot be a part of a clinical training program.

The fellowship provides the scholar with opportunities to continue development of his/her research skills, learn new research techniques, and work under the supervision of an experienced research faculty member. While developing their own professional skills, Fellows provide significant contributions to the research enterprise, including research direction to both undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, they may be called upon to serve in various committees within the MWRI and University communities.

MWRI Postdoctoral fellows are expected to:

  1. Work with her/his mentor to conduct an independent project within the mentor’s laboratory, including:
    1. Designing experiments and obtaining review committee approval (e.g., IRB,
      IACUC) for the conduct of those experiments
    2. Performing experiments and analyzing data
    3. Preparing data for publication, and presenting results in national or international meetings
    4. Writing grant proposals or assisting in grant writing
  2. Participate in seminars and workshops, including
    1. All WIP conferences, including one presentation of data per year
    2. Annual MWRI – OBGYN Research Day
    3. Annual U. of Pittsburgh Special Career Symposium for Post-doctoral Fellows
    4. MWRI scholars’ group meetings with WRHR, BIRCWH and other trainees (K Club)
  3. Complete relevant courses and classes, examples of which include:
    1. Statistical analysis and study design
    2. Survival skills, safety and ethics classes
    3. Scientific writing
    4. Specialty course work
  4. Maintain compliance in the responsible conduct of research by completing:
    1. University of Pittsburgh required online modules in Research Integrity, Chemical Hygiene Training, Bloodborne Pathogen Training, Human Subject Protection, Conflict of Interest and Responsible Literature Searching (see http://www.rcco.pitt.edu/ResearchTrainingRequirements.htm)
    2. Training relevant to the research project (University of Pittsburgh online modules on the Use of Laboratory Animals, Human Embryonic and Fetal Stem Cell Research, University of Pittsburgh Office of Radiation Safety Isotope Research Training workshop, etc)
    3. Submission of required paperwork to the appropriate University review committees (IRB, IACUC, CTRC, cDNA, etc.)

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee will ensure progress toward the fellowship goals and verify that the environment for accomplishing these goals is adequate through the conduct of an informal six-month review meeting. Helen Gamrod will provide an activity survey and a list of information that must be submitted for distribution to the Committee prior to the review meeting, which is attended by the fellow and mentor. If a second year of funding is requested, the committee will make a decision following the review at the end of the first year. Upon completion of the Fellowship, scholars must provide Helen Gamrod with contact information, for purposes of annual follow-up for program tracking and evaluation. Once their training is completed, many fellows pursue their professional careers outside the US, while others stay in the US to continue their careers in academic, government, industry, or corporate settings.


Application Process

A faculty member must initiate the application process; therefore, applicants must identify and contact a faculty member who will serve as a mentor for their medical research education experience. Applicants should review our faculty directory and find a suitable contact in your area of research interest.

Once a faculty member has been identified, and before the application process is initiated, the potential faculty mentor should discuss the application with the Director of the MWRI Fellowship Program. This step is essential for planning purposes, and to ensure that a position may be available in the desired timeframe. Applications submitted without this approval will not be processed.

Required application materials

  • Completed application form
  • Cover letter that includes a statement of your research interest, short-term goals for
    fellowship, long-term career goals, and time frame for training
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Short-formatted NIH style application of up to two pages (Arial 11 pt font) that includes the following sections: abstract (250 word limit), significance, innovation and approach, and references (limit of 10, which must be included within the two page limit)
  • Letter from the planned mentor, which includes a brief summary of the proposed
    research project and its fit within the mentor’s ongoing research program, a mentorship plan, and a proposed funding plan in case the fellowship is not granted. Specialized coursework, training or other activities should be specified within the mentorship plan.
  • Two letters of recommendation, in addition to the mentor’s letter, sent directly from the referee to Helen Gamrodhgamrod@mwri.magee.edu.

All application materials should be submitted electronically (as word or PDF documents) to Helen Gamrod. Selected candidates may be interviewed by the MWRI postdoctoral committee. The deadline for receiving Postdoctoral Fellowship applications is December 31 and June 30 each year. Recipients will be notified within 3-4 month after the application deadline, with the general intent of starting the training on January 1 or July 1. The number of training slots will depend on availability and funds.


Scholars and Alumni

Current Scholars


Payal Matel, PhD (2015- )

  • Project: Comparing gonadotoxicity of two platinum based anti-neoplastic agents and preventing chemotherapy-induced premature ovarian insufficiency in a mouse model
  • Mentor(s): Kyle Orwig, PhD


Yu Ren, PhD (2015- )

  • Project: Lhx8 regulated genetic pathways that repress primordial and primary follicle activation
  • Mentor(s): Aleksandar Rajkovic, MD, PhD



  • Shannon A. Bainbridge, PhD
  • Deborah Benyo, PhD
  • Margaret Beucher, PhD
  • Charles Allen Black, Jr., PhD
  • Lisa Bodnar, PhD, MPH, RD
  • Raluca Budiu, PhD
  • Utpala Das, MD
  • Sandra Davidge, PhD
  • Ketaki Desai PhD
  • Rogier B. Donker, MD, PhD
  • Geraldo Duarte, MD
  • Charles Easley, PhD
  • Xin Feng, MD
  • Robin Gandley, PhD
  • Kathrin Gassei, PhD
  • Xiaoyan Gong, MD
  • Anthony S. Ham, PhD
  • Jing He, MD,PhD
  • Brian P. Hermann, PhD
  • Ulrike Friebe Hoffmann, MD
  • Jie Hu, MD, PhD
  • Carl Hubel, PhD
  • Tracy Keith, PhD
  • Hannele Laivuori MD, PhD
  • Mingguang Li, PhD
  • Rui Liang, MD
  • Antonio Arroyo Luque, PhD
  • Rama Mallipeddi, PhD
  • Gina Mantia-Smaldone, MD
  • John McCarthy, MD, PhD
  • Jacqueline Novak, PhD
  • Stuart Olmsted PhD
  • Srinivas R. Pallerla, PhD
  • Robert W. Powers, PhD
  • Pawan Puri, PhD
  • Mainpal Rana, PhD
  • Rolando Ramirez (JJ), PhD
  • Craig Richard PhD
  • Alexandra Britto, Sassi PharmD
  • Deeksha Saxena, PhD
  • Eiji Shibata, MD, PhD
  • Varsha Shridhar, PhD
  • Rosaria Rita Siervo-Sassi, PhD
  • Frauke von Versen Hoeynck, MD
  • Carole Wegner PhD
  • Cathy B. Wilcox, PhD
  • Michelle Wood, PhD
  • Jian Xu, PhD
  • Young-Mi Yu, PhD
  • Xinglu Zhang, PhD
  • Wenjun Zong, MD