About the PDA

The mission of the Tufts Postdoctoral Association is to enrich and improve the Postdoctoral experience at Tufts. We host career development events to give opportunities for postdocs to grow both professionally and personally and advocate on a faculty and administrative levels for all postdocs. We are generously funded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research: Postdoctoral Office.

Meet the Board

Name: Tony Cijsouw
PDA Position: Co-President
Department: Neuroscience
How long you’ve been at Tufts: close to 3 years
Background:  My research in the Biederer lab focuses on answering how synaptic Cell Adhesion Molecules (CAMs)–proteins that form connections across the neuronal connections called synapses–dictate the protein composition of the synaptic cleft, regulate synapse remodeling in neuronal circuits, and ultimately control memory formation in the brain.
Within the Tufts PDA, I strive to enhance the overall postdoctoral experience at Tufts and to strengthen postdoc’s career prospects.
At home, I love kneading dough to make a mean pizza.


Name: Sarah Dykstra
PDA Position: Co-President
Department: Biology
Background: Sarah is a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Mitch McVey on the Medford Campus where she studies the factors involved in inaccurate DNA repair as well as the mechanisms of trinucleotide repeat expansions which drive neurodegenerative disease.  She joined the Tufts PDA two months into her postdoc and is passionate about improving career outcomes and training opportunities for postdocs across Boston.  In her spare time, she likes to hike, camp and do carpentry projects.


Name: Tim Calamaras
PDA Position: Treasurer and Liaison to Tufts Medical Center
Department: Molecular Cardiology Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center
How long you’ve been at Tufts: 3 years
Background: My research is focused on identifying molecular mechanisms that prevent pathological growth and dysfunction in the setting of heart failure.


Name:  Lauren Crowe
PDA Position: Communications Co-Chair
Department:  Neuroscience/TEACRS
How long you’ve been at Tufts:  1 year
Background:  Lauren studies the role of neuronal signaling peptides in Drosophila sleep regulation in Rob Jackson’s lab. She is also interested in pedagogy and promoting inclusivity in science. In her free time, she can be found cooking, playing softball, hanging out with her dogs and family, and drinking wine.


Name: Muhammad Qadri
PDA Position: Co-chair of Communication
Department: Psychology
How long at Tufts: 6 months
Background: I investigate how birds (and occasionally other animals) see the world, in order to better understand how vision works. I primarily study pigeons, starlings, and undergraduates using operant procedures and large, programmatically generated stimulus sets. When not in the lab, I enjoy tinkering with making technology and other around-the-house things work better.


Name:  Sarah Gunnery
PDA Position: Advocacy Committee Chair
Department:  Occupational Therapy
How long at Tufts:  4 years
Background:  I am a social psychologist broadly studying social self-management in people with Parkinson’s disease. My research interests include measuring facial expression in people with nonverbal communication deficits due to health conditions, social outcomes of facial masking in people with Parkinson’s disease, use of deliberate facial expression to compensate for a loss of spontaneous expression, and gender differences in the expression and perception of facial expressions. In my free time I like to spend time with my son who just turned one!


Name: Miles Duncan
PDA Position: Co-chair of Career Development
Department: Microbiology
How long at Tufts: 2 years
Background: I’m a microbiologist studying infectious disease in the Camilli lab. Specifically, I’m researching the genetics of a bacterial predator that hunts and kills other bacteria, and may be useful one day in the clinic to treat infections. Outside of lab I love to play basketball, guitar, go snowboarding and make gelato.


Name:  Erin Lewis
PDA Position: Career Development Co-Chair
Department:  Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Nutritional Immunology Lab)
How long you’ve been at Tufts: 8 months (since January 2017)
Background: My research focuses on the role of nutrition and diet on the development of the immune system in early life, and immunosenescence and immune-related diseases in later life. Here at Tufts, I am involved in a human clinical trial examining safe and effective delivery of different supplemental forms of iron to older adults and an animal study examining the effects of long-term fruit and vegetable consumption on immune-mediated functions. In my spare time I love to cook, especially with friends and family, and be active by golfing, hiking and skiing.


Name: Fay Shaw
PDA Position: Career Development committee
Department: Center for Engineering Education and Outreach
How long you’ve been at Tufts: 2 years
Background: Fay Shaw works with Kristen Wendell on infusing civic engagement in ME43 senior mechanical engineering design capstone and with Chris Rogers on Internet of Things.  Her research interests include wearable devices and soft circuits.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking, ultimate frisbee, and chasing after her young son.


Name:  Eleanor Shonkoff
PDA Position:  Career Development Committee Member
Department:  ChildObesity180, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
How long you’ve been at Tufts: 2 years
Background:   Eleanor is a postdoctoral scholar with the Restaurant Initiative at ChildObesity180.  Her research investigates the effects of stress on weight-related parenting practices, positive exemplars as champions in parent-based obesity interventions, dietary assessment using digital technology and social marketing health communication campaigns.  For fun, Eleanor loves spending time with her family, yoga, meditation and dance.  And reading too many books from the public library.


Name:  Sumit Murab
PDA Position: Member, Career Development Committee
Department:  Biomedical Engineering
How long you’ve been at Tufts:  4 months
Background: I finished my Grad-School from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. My research focusses on in vitro disease models and silk based tissue engineering applications. I love travelling and being with nature. I like exploring archeological sites and have a very keen interest in Indian history.