ECU Postdoctoral Scholars Present at State Symposium

ECU’s Postdoctoral Association president, Katherine Dale, along with the association’s vice president, Syed Anees Ahmed, and Berwin Singh Swami Vetha presented their research during the NC Postdoc Research Symposium on June 14.  

This was the first year the North Carolina Postdoc Research Symposium was held. The event was hosted by UNC Chapel Hill’s research office at the NC Biotechnology Center in Durham. It provided postdoc attendees with opportunities to discuss research, receive career advice, and network with other scholars in the postdoc career stage.  

Research was presented by dozens of postdoctoral scholars across the state, including UNC Charlotte, NC State University, NC A&T State University, and UNC Wilmington. 

ECU’s three presenting postdocs won two of the six available awards. 

  • Dr. Ahmed, with the department of pharmacology & toxicology, was awarded first place in posters. The award includes a $500 cash prize. Ahmed’s research focuses on discerning how estrogen replacement therapy can restore cardiac Per2-regulated microRNAs and redox homeostasis, potentially offering new therapeutic targets for cardiovascular protection in postmenopausal women. 
  • Dr. Dale, with the department of biology, was awarded third place in the flash talks. The award includes a $300 cash prize. Dale’s research focuses on the dispersal and movement of fishes, particularly in their early life history period. At ECU, she is working with Dr. Rebecca Asch to assess how fish in the Eastern Pacific shift their spawning timing and/or spawning location in response to environmental changes. 

Dr. Syed Anees Ahmed presents his research poster to Dr. Mary Farwell.

Ahmed said, “I am honored to have received the first-place award. Presenting my research at this symposium was a transformative experience. My mentor Dr. Abdel A. Abdel-Rahman and I have worked extremely hard on this project and its recognition is extremely rewarding!” 

Dr. Vetha, with the department of foundational sciences, presented a flash talk on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and its role in blood pressure regulation. His research revealed that AT1 receptors were active in hypertensive rats, while the AT2 and MAS receptors, which are supposed to lower blood pressure, were found in reduced numbers. Vetha said he was able to share the molecular mechanisms at play, which could lead to innovative treatment modalities. 

He also found the event to be a great networking experience. 

“Engaging with researchers from diverse disciplines broadened my perspective and enriched my understanding of various fields. It was an awesome event that significantly contributed to my professional growth,” said Vetha.  

Dr. Mary Farwell, assistant vice chancellor of research development at ECU and co-organizer of the event, said, “I was thrilled with the number of presenters, which included 67 posters and 14 flash talks. And, I am so pleased that some of ECU’s talented postdoctoral scholars presented at the first – we hope to be annual – NC Postdoc Research Symposium.” 

The 2024 North Carolina Postdoc Research Symposium showcases research from postdoctoral scholars across the state. Photos by Megan Mendenhall