Twelve scholars named Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows with aim to source talent from all sectors of society

Twelve scholars from the fields of engineering, science and social sciences have been named Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows at Princeton.

These scientists are poised to become leaders in their fields, said Faculty Dean Gene Jarrett, who launched the grant program “an excellent demonstration of Princeton’s ability to attract the most promising researchers from all walks of life and all parts of the world.”

The Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows program is designed to recognize and support outstanding scholars who have historically and currently been underrepresented in the Academy or in certain disciplines. Financial support is provided for up to two years with full salary.

Led by Frederick Wherry, who was recently appointed to lead this program while serving as Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Faculty Dean’s Office, I am confident that the grantees will make a significant impact on our university in the higher education in the short and long term,” Jarrett said. Former and current members of the Faculty Diversity Advisory Board reviewed the nominations on behalf of the Faculty Dean.

“I really enjoyed meeting this new cohort at our fall orientation at Prospect House,” said Wherry, the Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology. “We know that excellence grows when diversity does. Research work is more effective and improved approaches to teaching are conceivable. We are excited about the long-term possibilities of the academy.”

The 2022 Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows are listed below.


Francisco Apen, Diane-Jo Bart-Plange, Rodolfo Brandao, and Diag Davenport

Francisco Apen joins the Department of Geosciences. His research asks how Earth’s first continents formed during the Archean Age more than 2.5 billion years ago and subsequently evolved into the state we see today. Apen holds a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the University of California-Santa Barbara and a B.Sc. in geology from the University of California-Davis. He is advised by Blair Schoene, Professor of Geosciences.

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Diane Jo Bart Plange transfers to the Department of Psychology, where she plans to study how interpersonal and institutional racism interact and impact the well-being and sense of belonging of racially and ethnically minority students. Bart-Plange has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Virginia and a BA in African and African American Studies and Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. She is advised by J. Nicole Shelton, the Stuart Professor of Psychology.

Rodolfo Brandao joins the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a research focus for the theoretical modeling of physical phenomena, especially fluid dynamics and wave phenomena. Brandao holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Imperial College London and an M.Sc. and B.Sc. in physics Federal University of Pernambuco. He is advised by Howard Stone, the Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Department Chair.

Diag Davenport joins the School of Public and International Affairs. His current research uses tools from economics, psychology, and machine learning to address injustices across a range of fields, including criminal justice and startup investing. Davenport holds a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an MS in Mathematics and Statistics from Georgetown University, and a BS in Economics and BS in Management, both from Pennsylvania State University. He is advised by Betsy Levy Paluck, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs.


Camilo Hernández, Jodi Kraus, Francisco Lara-García, and Uyen Mai

Camilo Hernandez joins the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, where his research focuses on financial engineering, mainly in the field of stochastic control and its applications. Hernández was a Chapman Fellow in Mathematics at Imperial College London and has a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Columbia University and an M.Sc. in mathematics, a B.Sc. in Economics and a B.Sc. in mathematics, all from the Universidad de los Andes. He is advised by Ludovic Tangpi, Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering.

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Jodie Kraus joins the Institute of Molecular Biology, advised by Sabine Petry, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology. Kraus’ research interests include biophysics and cell biology, particularly related to understanding the structure, function and regulation of the cytoskeleton during dynamic cellular processes such as cell division. Kraus has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Delaware and a B.Sc. in chemistry from Drexel University.

Francisco Lara-García joins the Department of Sociology, where his research focuses on Latinx immigrants in the US to elucidate how differences in institutions shape integration trajectories. Lara-García holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University, a Masters in Urban Planning from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a BA in Sociology, Latin American Studies and Political Science from the University of Arizona. He is advised by Filiz Garip, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs.

Uyen Mai joins the Department of Computer Science, where she plans to use her expertise in species evolution to develop more realistic models of cancer development. Mai has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California-San Diego and a BS in Computer Science from Portland State University. She is advised by Ben Raphael, Professor of Computer Science.


Victoria Muir, Tiffany Nichols, Julia Wilcots, Muni Zhou

Victoria Muir joins the Department of Chemical and Bioengineering, where she will expand her expertise in soft granular materials to explore a new application – the use of granular hydrogels to study the interactions of bacterial and phage communities in real time. Muir has a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Delaware. She is advised by Sujit Datta, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Bioengineering.

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Tiffany Nichols transfers to the History Department, where she plans to focus on the history of the deployment of high-precision, large-scale scientific instruments. She will also examine the evolving significance and scope of the “cleansing” at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Hanford, Washington. Nichols has a Ph.D. in history of science from Harvard University, a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia. She is advised by Angela Creager, Thomas M. Siebel Professor for the History of Science, history professor and head of the institute.

Julia Wilcots joins the Department of Geosciences, where she plans to focus on a quantitative approach to interpreting Earth’s history from carbonate rocks. Wilcots holds a Ph.D. in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology from MIT and a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton, Class of 2016. She is advised by Adam Maloof, Professor of Geology.

Muni Zhou joins the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, where she plans to conduct the first-principle study of the origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism and explore new research areas at the intersection of plasma physics and astrophysical applications. Zhou has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT and a B.Sc. in Physics from Zhejiang University. She is advised by Matthew Kunz, Associate Professor of Astrophysical Sciences.

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