Incoming Postdocs

Postdoc Spotlight

Meet Dr. Ishani Wickramage

Dr. Wickramage

Dr. Wickramage obtained her bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery as well as a master's degree in molecular life sciences from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, her home country. After practicing as a physician in Sri Lanka, she decided to pursue her passion for research by joining the University of South Florida as a Ph.D. student. Following the completion of her PhD in medical science from the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, Ishani joined the Department of Internal Medicine as a postdoctoral scholar in 2023.

Learn more about Dr. Wickramage

What is your discipline and what department are you in? 

Cardiac regenerative medicine

Department of Internal Medicine – Heart Institute

What drew you to this discipline?

Observing the lack of therapeutic options to treat some health conditions

What is your favorite part of being a postdoc at USF? 

Exciting research, nice people, and the weather!

What is your favorite place to hang out in the Tampa Bay area?

The many, many parks in this area, especially the ones with lakes and rivers

The Great Escape: When you're not unraveling the mysteries of your field, how do you love to spend your time? Any hobbies or passions that might surprise us?

Reading and watching fiction and non-fiction. Does watching funny cat videos count?

Snack Attack: What's your favorite 'fuel' for those long research sessions? Any specific snacks or drinks that keep you going?


Are you seeking any collaborations or opportunities currently? If so, how can people reach you?

Always happy to discuss exciting collaborations and opportunities!

Please reach me at

Meet Dr. Surendra K. Anand

Dr. Anand

Dr. Anand is originally from India. He completed his bachelor's degree in Zoology at the University of Delhi. Before joining the USF, he got his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He has been a postdoctoral scholar since 2022. 

Learn more about Dr. Anand

What is your discipline and what department are you in?

I am currently working in Dept. of Pathology and Cell Biology in the lab of Dr. Saulius Sumanas. We study cardiovascular development in vertebrates using zebrafish as a model organism.

What drew you to this discipline?

I was drawn to developmental biology during my Masters. It was a part of my coursework. Numerous questions intrigued me at that time, like how new life is formed, how a single cell forms an entire multicellular organism, what gives rise to the diversity of cells in our body, how do we acquire our characteristic morphology and so on. Today, I try to address these questions at the molecular level. 

What is your favorite part of being a postdoc at USF?

There are many, but if I had to pick one, I will say the vibrant diversity of people. You can meet and connect to students and researchers from different parts of the world, learn more about their culture, food and other fun stuff.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working on unraveling the mysteries of your field? 

In my free time I like spending time with my wife. We go on picnics or eating out in restaurants, I like to explore new cuisines. I love cooking, I enjoy experimenting with different ingredients. Sometimes they turn out good. I usually invite friends over to try what I experiment with in the kitchen.

What is your favourite place to hang out in the Tampa Bay area?

Tampa riverwalk is my favourite place to hang out with family and friends.

Morning Routine Magic: What's your secret ingredient for kick-starting your day? Coffee, a morning run, or something else entirely?

I start with a little bit of stretching, followed by some routine exercises such as pushups, crunches etc. 

Travel Dreams: If your research could take you anywhere in the world, where would you love to go, and why?

I would love to travel to Switzerland. I have seen reels on social media and heard a lot about how beautiful it is and would like to experience that in person.

Meet Dr. Ricardo Demoya

Dr. DeMoya

Dr. DeMoya got his bachelors degree from the University of Miami and his PhD in Integrated Systems Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, PA. he has been a postdoctoral scholar at the College of Medicine at USF since 2023. 

Learn more about Dr. DeMoya

What is your discipline and what department are you in?

Integrative Systems Biologist studying vascular development and regeneration in zebrafish at the Dept. Pathology and Cell Biology.

What drew you to this discipline?

I chose the ISB program at UPitt for my PhD because I wanted to know how to analyze my own data and keep working on bench work. I was drawn to in silico modeling and how it can inform animal models and experimental design. Now as a postdoc I am continuing in the same path.

What is your favorite part of being a postdoc at USF?

I am close to home and family. As they age, I wanted to be around in case they need me. 

The Great Escape: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working on unraveling the mysteries of your field? 

I like to go downhill longboard and hunt for hills to send it! Usually trips to the mountains are best.

What is your favourite place to hang out in the Tampa Bay area?

Flatwood Park, Splitsville

Fail Forward: "Can you share a funny or surprising 'fail' you've experienced in your research journey and what you learned from it?" 

Was really funny but I was trying to build an app that would search for primers within a given sequence for me and I forgot about directionality when making it, so my reverse primers never worked, and I figured this out after my first primer order. I was so shocked and since that I have never forgotten nucleic acids have directionality, forward and reverse strands.

Are you seeking any collaborations or opportunities currently? If so, how can people reach you?

I am not currently looking for any collaborations but can be contacted by email.


2024 Postdoctoral Symposium Winners announced

Postdoctoral Symposium

First Place | Prize: $500
Ricardo DeMoya
A search for Second Vascular Field cell markers using scRNAseq
Pathology and Cell Biology

Second Place | Prize: $300
Mehak Sapra
Characterization of rabbit alkali injury model and treatment of scarred corneal tissue with Kuragenx

People’s Choice | Prize: $300
Melike Yuksel
The friend or foe: Ubiquitous BIN1 in Alzheimer’s disease pathology
Molecular Medicine

USF Postdoc named National Postdoc association IMPACT fellow - 1 of 6 chosen internationally

Kawak IMPACT Fellow

Pierre Kawak, Ph.D. has just been selected by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) as an NPA IMPACT Fellow (see Press Release). As a consequence, the NPA has designated USF as an NPA IMPACT Fellow Institution – one of only 18 IMPACT Fellow Institutions in the world.

He and USF were among only 6 selectees out of about 100 applicants from around the world. Just a few quotes on the program from their press release:

“IMPACT was launched in 2021 to empower postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented backgrounds to build skills, understand strengths and develop networks.”

“IMPACT Fellows also use the knowledge, tools and resources they gain from the program to implement innovative activities or initiatives at their institutions that amplify the impact of the fellowship as they contribute back to home communities.”

This is a highly select investment and vote of confidence in USF as an institution that supports postdoctoral scholars and others from diverse backgrounds. It provides support for Pierre to implement an IMPACT project that will benefit success of diverse postdoctoral researchers at USF. It is important to recognize the impact of our researchers on diverse workforce development at the college level and more broadly at USF. 
- via David S. Simmons, Ph.D Associate Professor

'Researcher Technology Transfer' (RTT) Initiative - (Kawak IMPACT Project)

RTT is envisioned as a knowledge exchange and skill enhancement program for early-career researchers at USF. The core structure involves two workshop-style events each month, targeting current interests in the wider research community. Topics could range from "leveraging AI in manuscript writing" to "pedagogical best practices."
One of the primary objectives of RTT is to bridge outcome disparities and bolster retention for researchers from marginalized backgrounds. By inviting speakers from our local community of early-career researchers, the initiative also aims to amplify their voices, providing a vital platform for connection, collaboration, and community-building.
- via Pierre Kawak, USF Postdoc

Lashodya Dissanayake received the Dimitrios G. Oreopoulos Research Fellowship Award, as part of the Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Program

Lashodya Dissanayake

This year, Lashodya Dissanayake received the Dimitrios G. Oreopoulos Research Fellowship Award, as part of the Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Program organized by the American Society of Nephrology under the KidneyCure Foundation. The award is for $50,000.00 annually for up to two years. In addition, she has also been selected by the ASN for the Kidney TREKS (Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Scholars) Program.

Developing new generation malaria vaccines at the University of South Florida


Ahmad Rushdi Shakri, Post-doctoral Research Fellow is a lead contributor to the new strategies being used to develop malaria vaccines in Dr Dipak Raj lab in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, University of South Florida. Dr Shakri highlighted the cutting-edge research on development of new generation of malaria vaccines at the 2023 March Malaria Madness Meeting (M4). The meeting was organized by the University of Florida. He displayed work on a novel malaria vaccine candidate, PfGARP, a parasite protein expressed on the surface of infected human red blood cells.

Ahmad Shakri presented the current progress on the vaccine development project and also displayed a poster at the conference.

Halime Gulle receives $10,000 sports Med Research Grant


This year, Halime will receive a research grant from The American College of Sports Medicine Foundation Research Grant Program. They have awarded her with $10,000 for her side project titled "Can minimal footwear use reduce the inflammatory process in individuals with plantar fasciitis?"

Felix Rodriguez Cardozo, Ph.D. at InSight Mission/NASA JPL conference


Felix recently attended a conference for the InSight Mission led by NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Through his experience in late March, he was able to participate and interact with the InSight science team. During their annual meeting, they discussed their results and findings related to geophysical experiments on Mars.

2023 Annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium awardees

On March 22, 2023, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs partnered with the Office of Graduate Studies to bring together researchers from all over campus to present their work at a poster competition. Postdoctoral scholars had the opportunity to present the scope and significance of their research in a concise and engaging manner without technical jargon. 

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 Annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium:

Best Posters:

Pierre Kawak

Pierre Kawak

Exploring Mechanisms of Enhanced Dissipation in Nanoparticle-filled Rubber Using Molecular Dynamics

College of Engineering
Department of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

Claire Smith

Claire Smith

Sleep Well by Design: Designing Modern Jobs to Support and Sustain Sleep Health 

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
School of Aging Studies



Everette Coffman

The Attachment Adaptation Process Model: Developing Attachment Security After Experiencing Addiction in the Family

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
Child and Family Studies

Halime Gulle 

Detecting Changes in Varus Thrust Gait Using an IMU – A Pilot Study

USF Health
School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation