Postdoctoral Symposium

Gabriel Fries, M.S.c., Ph.D. 
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Chair, Postdoctoral Symposium

Gabriel R. Fries, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth and a translational researcher in the field of biological psychiatry. His research focuses on the epigenetic and biochemical bases of mood disorders, with a particular interest in bipolar disorder and suicide. Fries received his Master’s degree and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He also completed a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, in Germany, before joining the UTHealth Department of Psychiatry as a postdoctoral research fellow (2015-2018) and later as an Instructor (2018-2019). He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles and received awards for his research work from multiple scientific societies, including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Fries is currently funded as a Principal Investigator by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Milken Institute, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the McGovern Medical School, and the UTHealth Department of Psychiatry.

Elliot Murphy, Ph.D.
The Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery
“Meaning in the brain: Using intracranial recordings to map the neural basis of language”

Elliot Murphy, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery at UTHealth. His research combines theoretical psycholinguistics with intracranial electrode recordings of language in patients undergoing seizure monitoring for medically refractory epilepsy, in an effort to explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of semantic and grammatical processing. His work combines recordings of local field potentials with direct cortical stimulation mapping to attribute causal power to mapped network nodes. He received two Masters degrees (MA, MSc) and his Ph.D. from the Department of Linguistics, University College London, and has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles and three books.

Shantanu Guha, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
“Development of novel antifungals against Candida based on an antifungal peptide produced by E. faecalis

Shantanu Guha, Ph.D., MPH, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at UTHealth. His research focuses on developing novel anti-infective agents against drug-resistant pathogenic fungi, with specific attention to Candida albicans. His work uses principles of drug development biochemistry, synthetic combinatorial chemistry, and pathogen microbiology to create novel therapeutic agents against fungal pathogens which are rapidly becoming resistant to clinically relevant antimicrobial agents. He received a Master’s in Public Health, focusing on Epidemiology, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences, focusing on Biochemistry from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and has published 9 peer-reviewed scientific articles and reviews in prestigious scientific journals with more in preparation.

Eunju Kim, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
“Genetic and pharmacological dissection of the ROR receptors in circadian physiology

Eunju Kim, Ph. D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTHealth Houston. Her research interest is to investigate how circadian timing regulates (patho)physiological processes such as metabolic disease, cancer, and aging, and how manipulation of the clock timer may be exploited for metabolism. Dr. Kim obtained her MS/Ph.D. in Nutritional Science at Ewha Woman’s University in Korea. Her thesis work focused on dietary molecules, combining both hardcore molecular/biochemical investigations and cutting-edge nutrigenomic/nutraceutical approaches, which led to more than a dozen publications, many of which she serves as the first author. Dr. Kim joined the Yoo/Chen labs in late 2019. Over the past three years, Dr. Kim made a number of interesting findings related to circadian rhythms in physiology and disease. Her circadian research has already led to nine research articles, including three as first author, and one review paper. In her most recent research published in Cell Death & Disease, she conducted an in-depth analysis of the functional effects and molecular mechanism related to a clock-targeting small molecule called nobiletin (NOB) against triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Her current projects are focused on novel circadian mouse models. Due to her impactful work, she was recently awarded the 3rd place Prize in the 2022 UTHealth Houston President’s Excellence in Postdoctoral Research Award.