Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars make significant contributions to the dynamic research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies aims to help graduate students and postdocs maximize this pivotal state in their professional development. This office is dedicated to enhancing their experience.

    We invite you to explore the materials and information that pertain to you in the pages of this site. Please contact the office with any questions, comments, or ideas that you may have about graduate and postdoctoral studies at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

    Trainee Spotlight

    My name is Ernesto Pena Calderin, I’m a 4th year PhD candidate in the Department of Physiology. I grew up in a small rural town tucked in the rolling plains of Central Cuba, the largest of the Greater Antilles islands languidly bathed by the Caribbean Sea, with its northern-most point a little over 90 miles from the shores of Key West, Florida. Right before turning 15, leaving my whole family behind during politically tumultuous times, my parents and I were given asylum in the U.S. as political refugees. We have made Louisville our home ever since, and it was in this wonderfully welcoming city where I started High School, and later completed my B.Sc. in Biology (Physiology) from the University of Louisville in 2017.

    I had the great fortune to work as an undergraduate research assistant under the tutelage of two excellent mentors, Drs. Michael Perlin and Cynthia Corbitt at the Biology Department. Thanks to their mentorship and passion for science, I was captivated by the world of scientific research in the biological sciences and decided to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Research. After having the privilege of participating in the 2016 Undergraduate Summer Program in Cardiovascular Research for Underrepresented Minorities sponsored by the Physiology department, I became interested in the field of exercise, cardiovascular physiology and immunology. During this summer internship, I worked on Dr. Bradford Hill’s lab at the Diabetes and Obesity Center exploring the effects of aerobic exercise training and high-fat diet consumption in cardiac hypertrophy using a mouse model.

    Shortly after, I became an IPIBS PhD student in the Department of Physiology (class of 2018), and I currently work in Dr. Jason Hellmann’s laboratory at the Diabetes and Obesity Center. My research project involves unearthing the dynamic effects of polyunsaturated fatty acid-derived bioactive lipid mediators of inflammation resolution (SPM) in the context of obesity and exercise (or sedentarism). With my dissertation project, I would like to better understand how exercise can induce SPM biosynthesis, and how SPMs can in turn alter macrophage intermediary metabolism and related pro-inflammatory vs. inflammation-resolving phenotypes. After graduating (hopefully soon!) and completing my academic post-doctoral training, I would like to become a principal investigator and hopefully one day run my own laboratory.

    When I’m not at the lab bench, I enjoy hiking and doing wildlife and landscape photography with my side kick, Sir Charles Darwin, my fearless and adventurous Cocker Spaniel. Otherwise, you can find me scouting the newest breweries and cafes around town!   


    Josiah Hardesty, post-doctoral fellow of the School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, has been awarded an NIH NIAAA MOSIAC K99/R00, “Restoration and preservation of hepatic cardiolipin levels promotes liver regeneration in alcohol-associated hepatitis” for intensive, mentored research/career development under the guidance/support of Irina Kirpich and Craig McClain and scientists from MUSC/Duke. This is the first Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers Award at UofL and the fourth active K-award in the GI division. Congratulations!

    Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics PhD Candidate, Colin Wells received a F31 fellowship award in August 2022, for his project entitled "Role of Pck2 in cardiac fibrosis" His sponsor and thesis advisor is Dr. Bradford Hill. This grant is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

    Pharmacology & Toxicology PhD Candidate, Andrew Orwick received a F31 fellowship award in April, 2022,, for his project entitled "The role of PGC-1alpha in repeated low-dose cisplatin-induced kidney injury and the progression to chronic kidney disease.

    Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics PhD Candidate, Danielle Little received an F31 fellowship award in January, 2022 for her project entitled, “Dynamic Role of Hyaluronan in Ventricular Remodeling”. Her sponsor and thesis advisor is Dr. Steven Jones. This grant is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

    Physiology PhD Candidate, Ernesto Pena Calderin received an F31 fellowship award for his project entitled, “High fat diet-induced adrenergic dysfunction and resolution of adipose inflammation”. His sponsor and thesis advisor is Dr. Jason Hellman. This grant is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.