Postdoctoral Training Program

The Section of Developmental Biology operates an integrated Postdoctoral Training Program in Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine. This program provides a mechanism for postdoctoral trainees to mature into successful independent researchers in Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Trainees are provided salary support in accordance with the NIH pay scale and the University of Colorado offers a full benefits package. The program also provides each trainee with a mentoring committee, funds to attend conferences/courses and networking opportunities in the form of interactions with visiting scientists, national/international collaborations, journal clubs, research interest groups and annual retreats. Interested trainees will also be given opportunities to teach and mentor students as well as to improve writing skills.

Interested candidates should contact a the host lab they are interested in joining. Please submit: 1) a statement explaining interest in the host lab (two-page maximum), 2) a CV and 3) arrange to have three reference letters sent. Each year, a small number of applicants will be appointed as Gates Fellows and have their stipends paid with support from the Gates Frontiers Fund.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Charles Sagerström, Co-Director of the Postdoctoral Training Program, charles.sagerstrom@cuanschutz.edu
Dr. Alexa Burger, Co-Director of the Postdoctoral Training Program, alexa.burger@cuanschutz.edu

To communicate directly with the postdoctoral fellows currently in the Postdoctoral Training Program, please email cudevbiopostdocs@gmail.com.

Current Post-Doctoral fellows:

Julia Derk
Julia Derk, PhD

Hi there! My name is Julia Derk and I’m a postdoctoral fellow in the Siegenthaler lab. I grew up in Greeley, Colorado before going to Brandeis University to study Neuroscience and Psychology before conducting my graduate training at NYU School of Medicine in Manhattan. Now, I study the arachnoid barrier of the meninges, a critical component of the blood-cerebral spinal fluid barrier that is drastically understudied. I’m interested in using bioinformatics as well as cell and molecular biology techniques in order to elucidate the mechanisms that guide arachnoid barrier cellular specification and how the arachnoid barrier breaks down during bacterial meningitis. In addition to science, I run Clear Direction Mentoring, an organization that provides long-term mentorship to underrepresented minority high schoolers that are interested in careers in STEM and I’m also part of the Advocates for Mental Health group on campus. I’m a classic Colorado Native that loves go hiking, skiing, camping, biking, to live music, and basically do anything that keeps me outdoors! In addition, I love yoga, cooking, movie nights, board games, and my turtle!

Yong-Il Kim
Yong-Il Kim, PhD

When I was a undergraduate student, I was working with a master’s degree student who was trying to generate a mutant line of zebrafish using insertional mutagenesis. After joining the Master’s degree program, I worked on a project to characterize cells that form bone. I generated a bone-specific col10a1:GFP transgenic zebrafish. I joined Ph.D. program and started working on my project that focused on the role of peroxisome-related genes during zebrafish development. During this time, I generated several alleles of zebrafish mutants and transgenic zebrafish related to peroxisome biology. Now, I'm working in the Sagerstrom lab as a postdoctoral research fellow. Here, my research focuses on investigating the role of hindbrain related genes during zebrafish development.

Jelena Kresoja
Jelena Kresoja-Rakic, PhD

My long-term research interest is studying regulatory mechanisms involved in gene expression, which are responsible for the existence of different cell types.  After finishing diploma studies in molecular biology at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, I was excited to move to another country and continue my undergraduate training in molecular biology at the University of Zurich. As an undergraduate, I joined the oncology laboratory in Children’s hospital.  Impressed by the biology of cancer, I took the opportunity to do my graduate training in Cancer Biology Ph.D. in mesothelioma biology and study transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of gene expression.  My interest in cell-of-origin in cancer led me to continue my training in developmental biology. I joined the lab of Christian Mosimann and Charles Sagerstrom, where I employ zebrafish as a genetic model to study transcription factors and regulatory DNA elements. Using bioinformatics and genetic tools, I aim at discovering novel genetic elements important for cell faith decision on the developmental trajectory. I choose CU Anschutz because I found a postdoc position that has fulfilled all 3 P necessary for successful training; Project, People, and Place. Moreover, here I feel strong support from the whole community that made my move to Denver easy and more pleasant. 

Robert Lalonde
Robert Lalonde, PhD

Hi there! My name is Rob, and I am a postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Christian Mosimann’s lab, within the Department of Pediatrics at CU Anschutz. Using zebrafish as a model, my research focuses on the development and evolution of the lateral plate mesoderm (LPM). Using primarily transgenic, and genome-editing based techniques, we seek to understand how the LPM is first patterned during development, and then trace how it contributes to various adult organs and tissues. I am currently a Canadian citizen working at CU Anschutz on a J-1 visa. I did all my previous years of schooling in Canada before deciding to pursue a postdoctoral appointment in the US. I sought a postdoctoral position at CU Anschutz due to the research focus and pedigree of Dr. Mosimann and his lab, however the opportunity of living in Denver is also something that was highly motivating. I am big believer in work-life balance, and I feel you need to situate yourself somewhere where you can be happy (ie. near mountains). This will ultimately translate into a healthier and more productive lab life. I am a cat dad to two furry lumps, an amateur gardener, and a vintage video game enthusiast. Oh, and a beyond stereotypical Canadian hockey fan🍁.

Frederike Riemslagh
Frederike Riemslagh, PhD

Hello! My name is Frederike Riemslagh, Fenne in short, and I am a postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Christian Mosimann’s lab. We are part of the Pediatrics department, section of Developmental Biology at CU Anschutz. I mainly study the formation of the cardiopharyngeal field, a heterogeneous group of mesoderm progenitor cells that gives rise to cardiac, endothelial, and myogenic lineages. Abnormal CPF patterning is associated with numerous heart defects and congenital disorders. I am from the Netherlands and did my masters and PhD the department of Clinical Genetics in the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. I moved to the United States in September 2019 on a J-1 visa to gain international working experience. I really fell in love with zebrafish during my PhD and wanted to pursue a career into developmental biology using zebrafish as a model. I was attracted to the interesting research and the beautiful imaging that Christian’s lab is doing, and I am happy that the lab is situated in Denver close to the Rocky Mountains. We try to go hiking or skiing almost every weekend! Next to that I am a new axolotl owner and like to hang out with friends and play board games.

Jessica Warns
Jessica Warns, PhD

I received my B.S. in molecular biology from Muskingum University in 2013. I then entered a PhD program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of North Dakota. I worked on a variety of projects from alternative splicing in breast cancer to my primary PhD work of understanding how cholesterol metabolites impact colon cancer cell proliferation in the lab of Dr. Othman Ghribi. I graduated with my PhD in summer of 2018. I then became a visiting instructor of Biochemistry at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado for one year, where I taught both lower and upper level classes. To broaden my scientific skills, I joined the lab of Dr. Charles Sagerstrӧm for a postdoc in summer of 2019, where my project involves understanding how a transcription factor NF-Y regulates cilia gene networks in zebrafish. I choose CU Anschutz because of the plethora of learning and research opportunities. When I am outside the lab, I enjoy being with friends, trying new restaurants, arts and crafts, and being with my two-year-old dog CRISPR.

Caitlin Winkler
Caitlin Winkler, PhD

Hello! My name is Caitlin, and I am Postdoctoral Research Fellow working in the Franco lab, and an RBI Informatics Fellow. As part of the Franco lab, I research how cell diversity is achieved in the developing brain. In particular, I am interested in the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that drive stem cells in the dorsal forebrain toward an oligodendrocyte fate. As an RBI Informatics Fellow, I am interested in bringing together recent developments in next generation sequencing and lineage tracing technologies to further investigate cell fate specification, determination, and lineage progression in a variety of biological systems. I received my B.A. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Neuroscience from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2012, and my Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development from the University of Colorado Anschutz in 2019. I love Denver and the Colorado mountains, and enjoy hiking, running, baking, board games, and gardening in my non-lab time.