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Pathway to Independence Programme - announcing our first PI Fellows


Visual to show transition from postdoc to PIIn December 2022, we announced a new programme aimed at supporting researchers as they transition from postdoc to Principal Investigator. We are delighted to announce that we have now selected our first cohort of PI fellows. This was a very competitive programme, and choosing only eight candidates to support was a very difficult decision, so we'd first like to thank all those who applied and to wish them luck in their future careers - we hope you will all go on to do great things! We'll be featuring some of these researchers in upcoming editions of our Development Presents webinar series, so do look out for these in the coming months. 

After much deliberation, we have selected the eight individuals listed below to become our first cohort of PI fellows and we're excited to be working with this group of researchers as they navigate the job market. Each PI fellow is being paired with one of our editors for some mentorship, and you'll be hearing more from each of them over the course of this programme. 

We aim to run this scheme again in 2024, so if you're likely to be searching for independent positions next year, please do keep your eye out for the next call towards the end of this year.


Meet our 2023 PI Fellows

To learn more about our PI Fellows' thoughts on the future of developmental biology, please read this Perspective article, where they discuss what excites them about their respective fields. 

Priti Agarwal

Priti AgarwalPriti is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ronen-Zaidel-Bar's lab in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Prior to this, she studied for her PhD with Kuppuswamy Subramaniam at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Priti's research focusses on the role physical forces play along with biochemical signalling during the development and homeostasis of a complex 3D organ, using C. elegans gonad as the model system. Find out more about Priti in this interview

You can follow Priti on Twitter at @Pritiag007


Clotilde Cadart

Clotilde CadartClotilde is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher working with Rebecca Heald in the Molecular and Cell Biology Department, University of California, Berkeley, USA. She moved to Berkeley having completed her PhD with Matthieu Piel at the Institut Curie, Paris, France. Clotilde uses the Xenopus system to investigate how variations in ploidy and cell size impact whole-embryo metabolism. Find out more about Clotilde in this interview

You can follow Clotilde on Twitter at @clotildecadart


Loic Fort

Loic FortLoic undertook his PhD with Laura Machesky at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Glasgow, UK. He then moved to the USA, where he is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ian Macara's lab in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University. Loic is interested in understanding cell lineage specification through the lens of mechanobiology, using 2D and 3D stem cell models. Find out more about Loic in this interview

You can follow Loic on Twitter at @LFort8


James Gahan

James GahanJames is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Rob Klose's lab in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK, as well as a Visiting Researcher at the Sars Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, Bergen, Norway. James completed his PhD at the National University of Ireland Galway, working with Uri Frank. James' research focusses on the evolution of animal development and gene regulation. Find out more about James in this interview.

You can follow James on Twitter at @JM_Gahan


Leah Greenspan

Leah GreenspanLeah is a Postdoctoral Training Fellow in the Division of Developmental Biology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, USA, working in Brant Weinstein's lab. Prior to this, Leah studied for her PhD with Erica Matunis at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. Leah studies cutaneous wound healing with an emphasis on vascular reperfusion after injury, using zebrafish as a model. Find our more about Leah in this interview.

You can follow Leah on Twitter at @LGreenspan


Thomas Juan

Thomas JuanThomas is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Didier Stainier's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany. He conducted his PhD research at the University of Nice, France, with Maximilian Fürthauer. Thomas investigates the development of the cardiovascular system using zebrafish as a model system, with a particular interest in mechanosensation. Find out more about Thomas in this interview.

You can follow Thomas on Twitter at @TJ_ThomasJuan


Polina Kameneva

Polina KamenevaPolina studied for her PhD with Andrei Imbs in the School of Natural Sciences, Far Eastern Federal University, Russia, before moving to Igor Adameyko's lab at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Neuroimmunology at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Polina is interested in tumour initiation in the context of human development, with a particular focus on the peripheral nervous system. Find out more about Polina in this interview.

You can follow Polina on Twitter at @PKameneva


Yuchuan Miao

Yuchuan MiaoYuchuan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Olivier Pourquié's lab at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA. Before this, he completed his PhD at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA - working with Peter Devreotes and Takanari Inoue. In his research, Yuchuan aims to illuminate the design principles of body plan development using stem cell-derived embryo models. Find out more about Yuchuan in this interview.

You can follow Yuchuan on Twitter at @YuchuanMiao or on Mastodon at @[email protected]

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