Kimberly Wiersielis, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Animal Sciences, is the recipient of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award that supports outstanding postdoctoral researchers in completing needed mentored training and transition in a timely manner to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions.
Also known as the K99/R00, the award is considered a career transition award for promising postdoctoral scientists by providing funding for one to two years of postdoctoral training and three years of independent research as a principal investigator.
“I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of my mentors for their support in obtaining this award. I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Wiersielis, who came to Rutgers in 2018 as a post-doc with Troy Roepke, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences.
“Kim’s research is on the cutting edge of neurotoxicology by combining classic and innovative neuroscience techniques with exposure to environmentally and emerging endocrine disrupting compounds,” said Roepke, who also serves as the associate dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers.
Wiersielis recognizes the value of the K99/R00 award on their career as they pursue research on the interactions of chemical exposure and stress and their impact on cognitive development.
“This award will place me in a competitive position to fulfill my long-term goal of securing a faculty position at an academic institution with an independent research program. I am excited to begin the next stage of my career,” they added.
Roepke has served as faculty mentor to Wiersielis for almost five years.
“This award confirms that their expertise is needed for our field and that they have potential to make a significant impact. I am exceedingly proud of them,” noted Roepke.
Wiersielis earned a doctoral degree in neuroscience and psychology from Temple University in 2018. They graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers in 2006 and obtained a master’s degree from CUNY-Hunter College.
The NIH Pathway to Independence Award, which began in 2006, is one of the most prestigious funding opportunities available for both domestic and international post-doc fellows.