Current Postdoctoral Scholars

Carmen (Yin Jien) Lee, PhD

PhD: Double PhD from the University of Bergen, Norway and University of Palermo, Italy

Mentor: David Stevenson, MD & Gary Darmstadt, MD

Research: My postdoc project is about using a new methodology in quality improvement to advance population health. We will adopt system dynamics modeling and simulation methodology to study how the interplay between system components, goals, decision rules, personal and contextual factors influences the decision of pregnant women at risk of pre-eclampsia to take up and adhere to prophylactic aspirin administration.

Additional Education and Experience: For a previous postdoc project, I studied how to equitably increase institutional care delivery to marginalized women in Bihar, India. I used system dynamics modeling to integrate, analyze, and synthesize population surveys and administrative data, and background literature to formulate a simulation model to inform future policy design.

Li Li, PhD

PhD: City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA

Mentor: Anca Pasca, MD

Research: During my postdoctoral training, I continue to pursue my interest in studying human brain development and relevant diseases that interfere brain development in the early stages of life due to genetic and environmental factors. I apply a cutting-edge modeling system — brain organoids developed in-house — to discern how premature birth causes neurodevelopmental defects at both cellular and molecular levels. I use diverse technologies such as transcriptome analysis, epigenomic analysis, and CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, with the ultimate goal of identifying targeted therapeutics for premature babies.

Awards: I am honored to be a 2021 recipient of Stanford Maternal & Child Health Research Institute's Postdoctoral Award. I am passionate about mentoring young scientists and was awarded the Stanford Bio-X Star Mentor Award. 

Marina Magalhães, PhD, RN

PhD: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Mentor: Suzan Carmichael, PhD

Research: My postdoctoral research is focused on maternal health outcomes, which continue to worsen in the United States. I am working with the Carmichael Lab to investigate the association between severe maternal morbidity and a variety of factors including health care, maternal nutrition, social disadvantage, and health equity.

Additional Education and Experience: I am also a nurse by training with a background in newborn intensive care. My pre-doctoral research focused on optimizing nutrition of preterm critically ill infants in the NICU and supporting families to reach their lactation goals.

MK Quinn, MPH, PhD

PhD: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Mentor: Henry Lee, MD

Research: I previously studied how the timing and interaction of nutrition and medical interventions affects maternal and neonatal health. My research goals are to use advanced epidemiological methods to answer perinatal health questions and reduce inequities in maternal and newborn health. I am working with Dr. Lee to develop and evaluate social and clinical interventions for the care of very preterm infants.

Additional Education and Experience: I have a Master of Science degree from Harvard and a Master of Public of Health degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Sayane Shome, PhD

PhD: Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Mentors: Lance Prince, MD, PhD and Nima Aghaeepour, PhD

Research: I am a computational biologist by training, and my research interests lie in the intersection of genomics, machine learning, and computational biophysics. My current research involves carrying out computational analysis of sequencing datasets and building computational models (particularly focused on machine learning), which help in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Additional Education and Experience: I love being part of initiatives that promote scientific awareness among the public, and I encourage kids to pursue scientific careers. For more details, please visit my personal website:

Curisa Tucker, PhD, RN

PhD: University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Mentor: Suzan Carmichael, PhD

Research: My research focuses on maternal health equity with an emphasis on social determinants of health and severe maternal morbidity.

Additional Education and Experience: I have over 10 years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse. I have a Master of Science degree in nursing and Bachelor of Arts degree in biology. I received my PhD in Nursing Science, where my dissertation used Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Data to examine the impact of patient-centered medical homes and personally mediated racism measures on severe maternal morbidity outcomes.