Postdoctoral Association

Mission Statement

The mission of the MPDA is to foster the academic, professional, and social lives of junior scientists at Moffitt Cancer Center.

The five fundamental goals of the MPDA are:

  1. To provide support for postdoctoral career development through partnership with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) for academic and non-academic scientific career seminars and networking opportunities.
  2. To collect and disseminate practical information to all fellows.
  3. To embrace and celebrate the multicultural diversity of the members of the MPDA.
  4. To promote social interaction and create an environment in which peer support is openly sought and available.
  5. To offer guidance to postdocs to assist them in the transition from student to postdoctoral fellow then beyond.

Please meet the 2022-2023 MDPA Executive Committee Members:

Miguel Gomez
I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Immunology Department. My research focuses on the engineering of CAR-T cells and their enhancement through CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools. I received my Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where I focused on using the CRISPR/Cas system to study the role of the Conserved Non-Coding Region 2 (CNS2) in CD69 transcriptional regulation. My main hobby is aviation, and I recently earned my Private Pilot License (PPL). In my free time I like to study to achieve additional aviation trainings. I love music and like to relax playing the guitar.

Social Chair
Yaakov Stern
I completed my PhD at McGill University in 2020 and joined Dr. Eric Haura's lab at the Moffitt in September 2021. My research focuses on cellular plasticity underlying adaptation to KRAS inhibitors, with an emphasis on epigenetic reprogramming as part of the process. I've been fascinated by exploring Florida's amazing flora and fauna since moving here, and have been dabbling in gardening in our unique environment. When I'm not in lab or outdoors, I like trying out new cooking projects and discovering music I haven't heard before.

Equity Chair
Tracess Smalley
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Moffitt Molecular Oncology department where my research focuses on investigating and inhibiting viral oncoprotein pathways in HPV driven cancers. I received my Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, where I focused on the dysregulation of the atypical protein kinase C family in breast and ovarian cancers. As the diversity chair, I plan to utilize opportunities unique to Moffitt’s postdocs to further bolster the diversity, equity and inclusion culture found at Moffitt. In my free time I am a mommy of two, I love trail running and reading graphic novels.

Welcome Wagon Chair
Min-Jeong Yang
I am an applied postdoctoral fellow at Tobacco Research & Intervention Program in Health Outcomes and Behavior. I received my doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and have been at Moffitt since September 2020. My research focus is in developing and evaluating novel behavioral interventions to promote health behavior. I have been Chair of Welcome Wagon since 2022. 

Distinguished Lecture Series Chair
Renata Rossetti
I obtained my Ph.D. in Immunology in 2016 from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). Since then, I worked for a while with clinical research and cellular therapy. Currently I am a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Daniel Abate-Daga’s lab in the Department of Immunology. My research focuses on developing therapeutic strategies to improve TIL therapy for melanoma. When I’m not doing research, I spent my time visiting Florida’s national parks and beautiful beaches.

Science Advocacy
Mahalakshmi Naidu
I obtained my Ph.D. in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry in 2016 from BITS-Pilani University, India. I Started my Career in Pharmaceutical industries such as Ind-Swift Laboratories Ltd (2016) in India as a Scientist-II, Albany Molecular Research Inc. (2016-17) in India as a Senior Research Scientist and TCG Lifesciences Ltd (2017-2022) in India as a Senior Research Scientist. Presently, I am working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Dr. Andrii Monastyrskyi lab in the Department of drug discovery, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. My present work majorly focused on the developing of Cancer therapeutics for targets as ULK1 & CDK12/CDK13, It’s includes design, synthesis and characterization of novel heterocyclic (Cancer/oncology drug discovery) organic compounds.

Junior Scientist Retreat Chair
Tabitha Boeringer
I obtained my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2020 from the University of South Florida. Since then, I joined Moffitt in April 2021 and am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Patricia McDonalds lab in the Department of Cancer Physiology. My research focuses on identifying therapeutic targets for colorectal and pancreatic cancers. I am also researching the cellular signaling pathways of cancer cachexia.

Service Chair
Shahnewaj Mannan

Olga Vera
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Karreth lab. I obtained my Ph.D. at the University Hospital la Paz, in Spain where I studied the epigenetic regulation of non-coding RNAs in chemoresistance of lung and ovarian cancers. My work in the Karreth lab is focused on the identification of novel drivers of melanoma by using innovative RNA biology approaches and the ESC-GEMM platform developed by the Karreth lab. When I'm not doing research, I spend my free time cooking, playing guitar, reading, and walking outdoors.

Cherell Cottrell-Daniels
Over seven years of experience in public health in the areas of health disparities, program development, program implementation, and program management. Professional experience includes serving in staff and research roles on NIMHD and NCI funded projects. Research interests include African American health, tobacco-related health disparities, and culturally relevant intervention development. Passion for teaching and mentorship. An active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated and plays tennis in spare time. 

To contact the current Executive Council, email

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