MCW Cardiovascular Center Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cardiovascular Sciences

Supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), we are accepting applications for postdoctoral and clinical fellows.

The goal of the Cardiovascular Center’s T32 Training Program is to provide a highly versatile, integrated, and effective approach for training the next generation of cardiovascular scientists and physicians by incorporating a broad-based, personalized, supportive, diversity-conscious, and rigorous training program that prepares individuals for a career in academics with options for a focus in industry/biotechnology/health policy or to pursue a career as a scientific liaison.

I have been a part of two other T32 programs and I have been trained in four different institutions. That being said, I must say the [MCW] CVC training program was by far the most intensive and complete I have ever seen. Overall, this fantastic experience will be instrumental to achieving my final goals.

Pablo Nakagawa, PhD, Past Fellow

Program & Application Information

Now accepting applications

This up to three-year training commitment emphasizes critical components designed to launch/sustain research careers:

1) individualized development plans (IDPs),
2) personalized multidisciplinary mentoring teams,
3) training in core competencies, and
4) industry/biotechnology or scientific liaison career options for trainees not pursuing a traditional career in academia.

Additional support for trainees is provided by a grant from the A. O. Smith Foundation for the CVC’s A. O. Smith Fellowship Scholars Program. This unique program is designed to support talented cardiovascular researchers and physicians in an innovative educational program that aims to provide mentoring, training, research support, and the necessary resources to overcome the barriers that exist to launching and sustaining a successful research career. Our trainees have numerous professional opportunities available to them including optional 1-2 week sabbaticals to acquire new skills, to support preliminary studies, the opportunity to meet with visiting speakers, service opportunities on scientific meeting planning committees, and more.

Application Process

Applicants should be highly-motivated, ambitious, productive, and have (or anticipate having) a PhD, PharmD, MD, or DO in a relevant research area such as biology, molecular biology, genetics, immunology, biochemistry, pharmacology, or physiology with a strong track record of, and a keen interest in at least one of the four research areas – Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology; Hypertension; Cardio-Oncology; Cardiac Biology & Heart Failure.

Candidates interested in this T32 training program must satisfy the following criteria to be considered for the position:

  • U.S. citizenship, or U.S. permanent residency status at the time of appointment
  • Appropriate doctoral degree (MD, DO, MD/PhD, PhD, PharmD or equivalent)
  • Commitment to at least 1 year of appointment and up to 3 years of intensive training during appointment
  • Physicians without prior research experience must be motivated to pursue a basic academic research career
  • Applicants must identify a faculty mentor from one of the Signature Programs prior to applying

Scholar and the Primary Faculty Mentor must be committed to research and scholarly program activities throughout the training period and must aim to reach the metrics listed below:

Intermediate Benchmarks for PhD, PharmD if Enter at PGY0 or PGY1

Benchmarks  Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
1st Author Publications encouraged ≥1 ≥2
 Nat’l/Regional Presentations ≥1
 Local Presentations ≥4
Grant Applications F32 or AHA postdoc fellowship application F32 or AHA revised application ≥1 (usually K award)

To apply, applicants must submit a completed application linked below (Apply Now) and submit to to along with copies of the following:

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Two letters of reference from former mentors/supervisors
  3. A letter of reference from your identified faculty mentor, to include a mentoring plan and summary of planned project
  4. Cover letter including a statement of research interests and name of your preferred primary faculty mentor

After the application deadline, complete applications will be reviewed by the Executive Committee. Competitive candidates the committee selects for interviews will be contacted within two weeks of the application deadline.

The interview will consist of a 15-minute presentation of a proposed reach project with your identified faculty mentor, as well as a review of your research and mentoring plan, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.

Apply Now (DOCX)

Program Leadership


Ivor Benjamin, MD, FAHA, FACC

Director, Cardiovascular Center; Professor, Medicine, Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, and Surgery; Program Director, CVC T32 Training Program


Mary G. Sorci-Thomas, PhD

Professor; Associate Director, Cardiovascular Center; Program Director, CVC T32 Training Program

Access to world class mentors and targeted support, which for me is continuing beyond the timeline of the fellowship (both Dr. Benjamin and Dr. Sorci-Thomas agreed to join my K99 advisory committee). It is helpful to have such a large group of successful researchers giving different perspectives on how to grow my career and turn to for advice.

Christine Klemens, PhD, Past Fellow

Current Postdoctoral Fellows


Amirala Bakhshian Nik, PhD, MS

Postdoctoral Fellow

Faculty Mentor: Caitlin O'Meara, PhD


Stephen Hammond, PhD, MS

Postdoctoral Fellow

Faculty Mentor: Andreas Beyer, PhD


Michelle Roberts, PhD, MS

Postdoctoral Fellow

Faculty Mentor: Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH


Alicen Whitaker-Hilbig, DPT, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Faculty Mentor: Matthew Durand, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellowship Information

This program provides up to three years of training for postdoctoral fellows with an MD, PhD, PharmD, or DO degree (two new slots/year) and brings together over 40 basic scientists to serve as mentors in a program that is supported by specific research areas of scientific excellence (“Signature Programs”), a highly-integrated collaborative research environment, and access to an extensive research infrastructure.
About the Program

An up to three-year fellowship is available in the Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiovascular Center, in one of four major areas of research:

  • Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology
  • Hypertension
  • Cardio-Oncology
  • Cardiac Biology & Heart Failure

The Cardiovascular Center postdoctoral fellow will receive personalized training within their selected research area led by a team of exceptional faculty members.

Fellows will:

  • Have premier support toward fellowship funding
  • Create and follow an individualized development plan (IDP)
  • Conduct research studies
  • Write grants and publish manuscripts
  • Present oral presentations locally and nationally
  • Have structured guidance toward becoming an independent investigator
  • Clinical scholars will have protected time for research

Per NIH guidelines, the postdoctoral fellow must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Download the Program Flyer (PDF)

Additional Fellowship Benefits
  • $1,200 travel allowance for scientific conferences per appointment year in addition to $1,400 travel allowance provided by NHLBI (made possible by the A.O. Smith Fellowship Scholars Program”.
  • $2,000 one-time sabbatical allowance to support postdoctoral fellows in acquiring new laboratory or professional skills during their appointment.
Program Advisory Committees

Executive Committee

Joseph Barbieri, PhD
Professor of Microbiology & Immunology

Nashaat Gerges, PhD, BPharm
Professor and Chair of Biopharmaceutical Sciences

David D. Gutterman, MD
Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
Senior Associate Director Emeritus, Cardiovascular Center

Matthew Hodges, PhD
Professor, Department of Physiology

Jamila Kwarteng, PhD
Assistant Professor, Institute for Health and Equity, Division of Community Health

Aoy Tomita Mitchell, PhD
Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

External Advisory Committee

Michelle Albert, MD, MPH
UCSF School of Medicine
Professor of Medicine
Director of NURTURE Center

Joey Barnett, PhD
Vanderbilt University
Vice Chair of Pharmacology
Professor of Pharmacology
Director of Office of Medical Student Research
Assistant Dean or Physician-Researcher Training
Director of T32 GM007628

Martha Daviglus, MD, PhD
University of Illinois at Chicago
Professor of Medicine
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Director, Institute for Minority Health Research

R. Clinton Webb, PhD
University of South Carolina
Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy
Director, Cardiovascular Translational Research Center

Candidate Evaluation

Candidates for the CVC Postdoctoral Fellowship position will be evaluated by the T32 Program Directors, as well as the Executive Committee based on the criteria listed in the form.

Download the Candidate Evaluation Form (PDF)

Past Postdoctoral Fellows

Ryan Adam, PhD
Appointment Years: 2020-2023
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tyler Buddell, PhD
Appointment Years: 2020-2023

Michael Flinn, PhD
Appointment Years: 2019-2020
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Medical College of Wisconsin

Christine Klemens, PhD
Appointment Years: 2017-2020
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of South Florida

Jing Liu, MBBS, PhD
Appointment Years: 2019-2021
Current Position: Research Scientist, University of Rochester

Pablo Nakagawa, PhD
Appointment Years: 2019-2020
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Joshua Nord, PhD
Appointment Years: 2020-2023
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Medical College of Wisconsin

Jennifer Stancill, PhD
Appointment Years: 2017-2020
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina

Sakthi Sundararan, MD, MS
Appointment Years: 2020-2022
Current Position: Cardiology Fellow, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin

Daniel Sprague, MD, PhD
Appointment Years: 2020-2023
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina

Janée Terwoord, PhD
Appointment Years: 2020-2022
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Rocky Vista University

Moua Yang, PhD
Appointment Years: 2018-2019
Current Position: Instructor, Harvard Medical School

Program Staff


Erin Theriault, MS

Program Manager I

(414) 955-7584


Allison DeVan

PhD, MA, Scientific Administrator

(414) 955-5617

I think establishing a mentoring team and receiving input from professors other than my primary mentor has been beneficial to my research progress and is not something I would have formed without my appointment on the T32 fellowship. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as the trainee representative on the T32 Executive Committee. It helped me understand how the applications are evaluated and how I can potentially improve my portfolio.

Jennifer Stancill, PhD, Past Fellow

Contact Us

For questions about the training program

Erin Theriault, MS
Program Manager I
(414) 955-7584
Medical College of Wisconsin Google map location