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Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award

The Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award recognizes postdoctoral fellows at the University of Michigan who have demonstrated a breadth of excellence in all areas of research, teaching, mentoring, service, and leadership. Each year, 10 postdoctoral fellows are named Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellows and awarded $500 (pre-tax), to be spent as the awardees see fit.

The awards are administered by the U-M Postdoctoral Association (UMPDA) with support from Rackham Graduate School and the University of Michigan Medical School Postdoc Office. Funding for the award is provided by the University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR), Rackham Graduate School and the University of Michigan Medical School Postdoc Office.

The application for the 2017 Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award has closed.


  • Applicants must have completed at least 6 months of service at U-M as a postdoctoral fellow by the award deadline to be eligible for the award.
  • Applicants must be currently affiliated with U-M as a postdoctoral fellow at the time of the award.
  • While applicants may be involved with patients, their primary pursuit must be additional training, not service such as a clinical fellowship.
  • The award is open to domestic and international postdoctoral fellows.
  • Postdoctoral fellows who have previously been awarded the Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award are not eligible for a second award.

Selection Criteria

Nominees are expected to demonstrate excellence in the following areas (as applicable):

  • Research
  • Mentoring and Teaching
  • Leadership and Service

Nominees will be evaluated on the significance of their contributions. Examples include:

  • Peer review publication, such as in a top tier journal
  • Grant submission
  • Securing funding
  • Fellowships and other awards
  • Editorial and peer review experience
  • Service associated with professional organizations
  • Teaching experience at the college level
  • Exemplary mentoring of graduate and/or undergraduate students

Reviewers will be encouraged to recognize outstanding achievements in a variety of disciplinary areas.

Application Process and Requirements

Application Form

Basic Personal Information

  • Name
  • Unit or Department
  • Degree Type and Year
  • Brief Description of Research

Statement of Purpose

Applicants must describe their achievements from the applicable categories. The statement of purpose does not need to address all categories, just those applicable to this outstanding nominee. Describe your achievements in a way that a fellow postdoctoral fellow unfamiliar with your area of expertise can understand them with respect to your field. Please explain how your work meets or exceed field benchmarks, and any restrictions imposed upon you in this area. Please provide an explanation if you are a postdoc, but your formal title is different.

Curriculum Vitae

The application materials must include the nominee's most complete and current CV.

Letter of Recommendation

  • A letter of recommendation must be submitted by a postdoctoral fellow’s University of Michigan advisor, mentor, or PI. The letter of recommendation must outline how the postdoctoral fellow meets the various criteria for selection and should specify the applicant’s achievements in each area.
  • The letter of nomination cannot exceed 3 pages or 1500 words.
  • No biosketch or CV is needed from the recommender.

Endorsements (Up to two): Optional, but strongly encouraged

  • Applicants may ask up to two individuals to provide an endorsement for their application for the Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award. The endorsement(s) should provide additional support about how the applicant excels in one or more of the criteria areas for selection
  • Endorsements can come from other postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, undergraduate students and colleagues that the applicant has mentored, as well as U-M campus, professional and/or volunteer organizations with which the applicant currently serves.
  • Each endorsement is limited to 500 words.


The application for the 2017 Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award has closed.

Review Process

  • A review committee of postdoctoral fellow peers and previous awardees will make the award selection based on established criteria.
  • Awardees will be notified during the summer months and will be recognized at a lunch during Postdoc Appreciation Week in September.

Previous Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Awardees


  • Dr. Sardar Ansari(Emergency Medicine)
  • Dr. Mohammad Malakooti (Aerospace Engineering)
  • Dr. Laura Mike (Microbiology and Immunology)
  • Dr. Reza Soroushmehr (Emergency Medicine)
  • Dr. Stephanie Christau (Chemical Engineering)
  • Dr. Imran Mirza (LSA, Physics)
  • Dr. Abderahmen Zoghbi (LSA, Astronomy)
  • Dr. Kavaljit Chhabra (Molecular and Integrative Physiology)
  • Dr. Ryan Insolera (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology)
  • Dr. Nicholas Vlamis (LSA, Mathematics)


  • Dr. Tammy Barnes (Medical School)
  • Dr. Meghan Breen (Life Sciences Institute)
  • Dr. Julia Dshemuchadse (Engineering)
  • Dr. Andria Eisman (Public Health)
  • Dr. Catherine Froman (Engineering)
  • Dr. Ramadane Harouaka (Medical School)
  • Dr. Amanda Leggett (Medical School)
  • Dr. Sierra Peterson (LS&A)
  • Dr. Christo Sevov (LS&A)
  • Ms. Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D. (Medical School)


  • Dr. Gregory Muller (Mathematics)
  • Dr. Rebecca Waller (Psychology)
  • Dr. Stephanie Cook (Psychology)
  • Dr. Stephen Schlecht (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Dr. Rahul Keswani (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
  • Dr. Sarah Loebman (Astronomy)
  • Dr. Andrew Lowell (Life Sciences Institute)
  • Dr. Liang Zhao (Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering)
  • Dr. Ilana Cheftez Menaker (Internal Medicine)
  • Dr. Hannah Tuson (Chemistry)

If you have any questions about the award process, please contact

Last updated: January 11, 2018 - 12:32pm