Alumni Profiles

Dr. Philip Albiniak

Dr. Philip Albiniak

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
Ball State University

Dr. Albiniak's current position is as a faculty member at Ball State University. He is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopic Identification. He also runs a research group which currently has 3 graduate students and 3 undergraduate students working on independent research projects related to the design and synthesis of new compounds and synthetic methods.

His postdoc was spent working in the lab of Dr. Greg Dudley in the Chemistry Department. Working for Greg was a very valuable experience for him. Dr. Albiniak knew his career goals centered around teaching at a medium-sized university where teaching and research were balanced responsibilities. Greg was very supportive of Philip's goals and allowed him time to oversee and train a number of undergraduate students during his time in the lab. Dr. Dudley also allowed Dr. Albiniak to take extra responsibilities in terms of overseeing certain organizational aspects of the research lab. While this probably limited Philip's productivity as a researcher, these experiences prepared him better for his life as a young college professor than the standard graduate school or postdoctoral experience. At the same time, Philip believes that the new Chemistry building and resources at FSU allow the students and postdocs in the department the opportunity for success at world-class, fundamental research projects. 

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Dr. Kurt Anderson

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of California, Riverside

Dr. Kurt Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of California, Riverside. While a postdoc at Florida State University, he worked with Nora Underwood and Brian Inouye in Biology. For more information about Dr. Anderson, please visit:

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Dr. Sylvain Bertaina

Associate Researcher
French National Center of Research

Dr. Bertaina was a Postdoctoral Fellow at FSU/NHMFL in 2007 and 2008 working with Dr. Irinel Chiorescu in the topic of quantum spin dynamic.  Following his time here at FSU, he received a permanent position as Associate Researcher at the CNRS (French National Center of Research). He is working on the topic of quantum coherence in electron spin qu-bits. He is on the administration council of the French Electron Magnetic Resonance Society. He is also responsible for an international scientific partnership between CNRS/Aix-Marseille University and NHMFL/FSU named CoDyLow (Coherent Dynamics at Low Temperature), which has been promoted by the CNRS Department of the French Embassy in Washington.

Dr. Bertaina feels that being a postdoc at FSU was an incredible opportunity.  NHMFL is a world famous laboratory which allowed him access to the state-of-the-art magnet system.  Working there also allowed him opportunities to meet researchers from all over the world and subsequently collaborate with these researchers.  He feels that working at the Maglab was very efficient, because he had access to among the best experimental setup in the world along with the technical staff that was able to fix any issues within a day.

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Dr. Steven Chan

Research Associate
School of Civil Engineering and Geoscience
Newcastle University

Dr. Steven Chan currently works as a research associate at the School of Civil Engineering and Geoscience Newcastle University at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is a visiting scientist at the Met Office Hadley Centre at Exeter. His work focuses in high resolution (kilometre-scale) models of the Earth climate and short-duration rainfall. For additional information, please visit:

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Dr. Yifan Cheng

Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Yifan Cheng is an Associate Professor with tenure at the University of California, San Francisco. For more information, please visit his website at

Dr. Melissa Cavallin Johnson

Dr. Melissa Cavallin Johnson

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of West Georgia

The University of West Georgia is primarily a teaching institution, but it is branching out more into developing research programs. Dr. Cavallin Johnson teaches classes to undergraduate and graduate students. Her classes include, Human Physiology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Vertebrate Histology, and Neuroscience. She advises approximately 60 undergraduate biology majors and typically serves on 1-5 graduate student advisory committees. Dr. Cavallin Johnson also has a NIH-funded research laboratory studying phosphatase regulation of the olfactory system, which allows her to give research experience to undergraduate and master’s level graduate students.  She also maintains a research collaboration with her Postdoctoral advisor Dr. Debra Fadool at FSU.

Insights from being Postdoc at FSU, from Dr. Melissa Cavallin Johnson:

  • My undergraduate and graduate work was conducted at smaller institutions. I really enjoyed being at the larger campus of FSU. It gave me an opportunity to get involved in campus activities and even community activities. It’s important to have a balanced life while pursing your postdoctoral experience.
  • Interact with professors and labs outside of your primary appointment. Being a postdoc is about gaining experience and broadening your education.
  • Make sure that you communicate well with your advisor. They should know your career goals so that they can help you to achieve them.

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Dr. Kirill Kovnir

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of California Davis

Dr. Kovnir is currently an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at UC Davis.  For more information, please visit

Dr. Kovnir describes his posdoctoral experience here at Florida State University as "excellent". He complemented the department, collaborative environment as well as the cooperation with NHFML for contributing positive factors during his time as a postdoc.

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Dr. Nese Güler

Assistant Professor
Department of Measurement and Evaluation
Sakarya University, Turkey

Dr. Güler is currently an Assistant Professor in the Measurement and Evaluation Department of the Education Faculty of Sakarya University, Turkey.  She earned two master's degrees; Math Education from Balikesir University, Turkey and Measurement and Evaluation in Education from the University of Florida. She received her PhD in Measurement Evaluation in Education from Hacettepe University in Turkey.

Her research interests focus on Generalizability Theory.  She has written several articles, conference papers and one book about Generalizability Theory.  She has also taught many courses related to measurement and evaluation, statistics and research methods at the undergraduate, graduate and PhD level.

Dr. Güler was a Postdoctoral Scholar at FSU during the 2011 Summer term.  While she is glad to have had the opportunity, she feels that three months was too short of a time to experience everything that FSU has to offer.  One day, she hopes to return to FSU for a longer period of time.

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Dr. Steven Hill

Professor of Physics and Director of the NHMFL EMR Program
Department of Physics
Florida State University

Dr. Stephen Hill received his Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Oxford.  In 1995 he was offered the opportunity to work as a Postdoctoral Scholar here at FSU with Jim Brooks. 
While he had no plans to move to the United States, he took the opportunity to be one of the first Postdocs at the Maglab.  As one of the first scholars, Dr. Hill was able to take advantage of the Maglab resources and publish many of the findings from the data he collected.

After two and a half years as a Postdoc at Florida State University, Dr. Hill took a professorship at Montana State University. Then in 2001 he moved back to his wife’s home state of Florida to teach at the University of Florida.  In 2008 Dr. Hill moved back to Tallahassee to serve as the Director of the Electron Magnetic Resonance (EMR) program in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMF). He is also a Professor in the Department of Physics at Florida State University.

For additional information on Dr. Stephen Hill, please visit the following sites.

Personal website:

Scientist Spotlight from the Magnet Lab Media Center:

For more information about Electron Magnetic Resonance (EMR), please visit:

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Dr. Jun Liu

Assistant Professor
Health Science Center
University of Texas at Houston

Dr. Liu is currently an Assistant Professor at UT Health Science Center in Houston. He feels fortunate to have worked with Professor Ken Taylor for many years. While he was at Florida State University as a Postdoc, he was able to gain expertise in using a cutting-edge technique: cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). His lab is currently using cryo-ET as a main tool to study molecular machines in cells.  For additional information, please visit the Liu lab website at

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Dr. Loren McClenachan

Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Studies
Colby College

Dr. Loren McClenachan is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby College.  Please see  for additional information.

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Dr. Yoichiro Tamori

Assistant Professor
Gene Network Laboratory
National Institute of Genetics Japan

Dr. Tamori is currently an Assistant Professor in the Gene Network Laboratory, at the National Institute of Genetics in Japan.  Click here for more information

While at Florida State University, he worked as a postdoc with Dr. Wu-Min Deng in the Biology Department for seven and a half years. During the postdoc in Dr. Deng's lab, he studied fly genetics to investigate fundamental problems in Cell Biology, Developmental Genetics and Cancer Biology. Dr. Tamori feels that his experiences as a postdoc in Dr. Deng's lab were invaluable for him to establish himself as an independent researcher.

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Dr. Bernd Weiss

Postdoctoral researcher and Habilitand
University of Cologne
Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology

Dr. Bernd Weiss is currently a postdoctoral researcher and Habilitand at the University of Cologne  in theInstitute of Sociology and Social Psychology .
Funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD ) and Florida State University, he was a postdoctoral scholar in FSU's Measurement and Statistics Program from September 2010 to February 2012. While staying at FSU, he worked with Prof. Dr. Betsy J. Becker and started conducting an individual person data (IPD) meta-analysis. Using longitudinal data, he investigated how critical life-events (e.g., becoming unemployed) affect partnership stability.
Dr. Weiss is very grateful to Dr. Becker for giving him the opportunity to work with her in the field of research synthesis and to join her Synthesis Research Group (SynRG). He continues to attend SynRG meetings via Skype. After Dr. Weiss’ return to Germany, he had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Becker and a former student (Dr. Ariel M. Aloe, University of Northern Iowa) in Cologne, where they spoke at meetings on synthesizing complex statistical models that were organized by Dr. Weiss.
For more information about Bernd Weiss, please visit his website: .

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Dr. Jeffrey Whalen

Research Faculty
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Florida State University

Dr. Jeffrey Whalen is a Research Faculty I member at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory here at Florida State University. He is focused on the discovery and growth of new single crystals using a variety of synthesis techniques. His work is funded by the National Science Foundation and The U.S. Department of Energy. He is also involved in research commercialization efforts with FSU in the form of a spin-out company called Specialized Crystal Processing, Inc.

Jeffrey describes his experiences as a postdoctoral associate as enjoyable and feels that they provided an excellent learning opportunity. He was able to expand on his research interests and gain valuable knowledge about publication and grant seeking, while at the same time developing collaborative relations with other faculty at the maglab, FSU, other universities and corporations with R&D efforts. He feels that the postdoctoral experience he had at the mag lab was well prepared and executed by his advisors and other faculty involved.

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Dr. Branka Zorc

Full Professor
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
University of Zagreb

Dr. Zorc is currently a faculty member at University of Zagreb, Croatia (Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Department of Medicinal Chemistry). She is a Full professor of Medicinal Chemistry. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in medicinal chemistry. She also runs a small research group. Her scientific interest is design and synthesis of new compounds with potential biological activity (anticancer, antioxidative, antimalarial). Her postdoc was spent working in the lab of Dr. M.E. Krafft in the Chemistry Department. Her stay was short, but resulted with two published papers. She remembers her days at Florida State University with pleasure.