Postdoc to be honored at Friday's seminar

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Tara Nordgren, Ph.D.
Tara Nordgren, Ph.D., has been named the second winner of the Pathway to Independence Award, given annually to UNMC's most promising postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Nordgren will receive the honor at the 2013 Annual Postdoctoral Seminar.

One of the emphases of UNMC's office of postdoctoral education is to facilitate postdocs' timely transition to an independent career. Thus, the UNMC Postdoctoral Education Office last year replaced the former Postdoctoral Scholar of the Year Award to better recognize a scholar who demonstrates an exceptional preparation for the transition during their first three years at UNMC.

The program is set for Oct. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Durham Research Center, Room 1004.

We asked Dr. Nordgren about her research, experience as a postdoc at UNMC and her relationship with her mentor:

"My mentor is Dr. Debra Romberger. Her research platform focuses on investigating the deleterious effects of agriculture-related organic dust exposures, and we wondered if pro-resolving lipid mediators, derived from poly-unsaturated fatty acids, could help limit and resolve the negative inflammatory effects of these exposures. Thus, in the last two years I studied how maresin-1, a pro-resolving lipid mediator, modulates organic dust-induced airway inflammation. Our first manuscript was recently published in Respiratory Research, and we have two additional manuscripts being prepared and finalized.

"A real turning point in my postdoctoral position was when I realized I have so many opportunities available to me, and if I want to succeed in my career I need to start taking advantage of them. I have attended numerous grant writing seminars, a week-long workshop at Jackson Laboratories, and was even given the opportunity to teach the genetics course at UNO (University of Nebraska at Omaha) for the 2013 summer session. These experiences have been as valuable to me as any single experiment I have performed.

"I can't say enough good things about Dr. Romberger. Anyone who has worked for, or with, Deb knows that she goes far above and beyond the call of duty to be accessible on a personal level as well. When I got married, not only did I have Deb's blessing to enjoy a two-week honeymoon, but Deb even threw a bridal shower for me. As my husband (Casey Gries, a Ph.D. graduate student in Ken Bayle's lab) and I are both pursuing careers in the sciences, Deb and I discuss often what the best strategies are for securing positions we are both happy with when we take our next career step."


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2013 Annual Postdoctoral Seminar and Pathway to Independence Award

When: Friday, Oct. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: DRC 1004
Free lunch for the first 50 students.