Postdoctoral Symposium

Jessica Cardenas, Ph.D. 
Department of Surgery
Chair, Postdoctoral Symposium

Hilda Ahnstedt, Ph.D.
1st Place Winner, Dean’s Excellence Award for Postdoctoral Fellows
Department of Neurology
“Sex differences in T cell immune responses, gut integrity and outcome after ischemic stroke in aged mice”

Hilda received her Ph.D. from Lund University, Sweden, where she studied sex differences in the cerebrovascular response to ischemic stroke.  Hilda joined the BRAINS research laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Louise McCullough in October 2015.  She currently studies male-female differences in T cell immune responses and functional outcome after ischemic stroke.


Aleix Ribas Latre, Ph.D.
Honorable Mention,  Dean’s Excellence Award for Postdoctoral Fellows
Institute of Molecular Medicine, Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases
“Insulin sensitization reverses high fat diet-induced changes in BMAL1 function in metabolically active tissues”

Aleix received his Ph.D. from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Catalonia, Spain where he specialized in Nutrigenomics. There, he studied the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of polyphenols, and how they influence the core clock machinery in several tissues. He joined the Eckel-Mahan lab in October of 2015. Aleix is currently studying the mechanisms by which nutrients influence the clock and its alignment across highly metabolic tissues.


Gabriel Fries, Ph.D.
3rd Place Winner, Dean’s Excellence Award for Postdoctoral Fellows
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
“The role of epigenetic mechanisms in bipolar disorder”

Gabriel received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where he investigated the role of DNA methylation in stress response in patients with mood disorders and their first-degree relatives. He joined the Translational Psychiatry Program as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in April 2015 under the mentorship of Dr. Joao de Quevedo and Dr. Consuelo Walss-Bass. His current studies focus on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in high-risk offspring of bipolar disorder parents and in DNA methylation-related mechanisms of premature aging in adult patients with bipolar disorder.