Vanderbilt University Postdoctoral Association

We are proud to announce the launch of the new VPA website! This is just the beginning so expect to see a lot more content and information in the near future.

If you have any suggestions or changes you'd like to see to the website, please contact Mohit Chadha


The Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association (VPA) was formed in 1998 and has successfully united postdoctoral research fellows from the basic science as well as clinical departments.  All Vanderbilt postdoctoral appointees from all of Vanderbilt University's several schools are welcome to participate in the Postdoctoral Association.

We believe that there are many benefits to participating in the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association: ranging from the obvious networking, to learning organizational skills such as creating agendas, chairing meetings, and taking official minutes. Becoming involved in the VPA will further your communication and interpersonal skills. You will learn about committee dynamics as you participate in planning seminars and symposiums, choosing and inviting speakers and other core leadership skills. In addition, participation provides VPA leaders the opportunity to voice concerns of postdoctoral research fellows as they meet Vanderbilt University leaders responsible for forming and revising postdoctoral policy.

See VPA Events and News.  Also meeting announcements will be emailed by the postdoc fellow e-list.

**Please contact if you are not on the Postdoc Office e-list.

If you have agenda items for the monthly meeting or wish to serve as a VPA representative to your department or as a member of a VPA subcommittee, please contact a member of the Postdoctoral Association Executive Committee listed below in alphabetical order.

VPA Leadership

  • Loren Marie LaPointe, Ph.D., Senior Co-Chair

    Loren LaPointe, Ph.D. is a second year post doc at Vanderbilt and was recently selected by postdoctoral fellows in the Vanderbilt Medical Center to be the Co-Chair of the Vanderbilt Post Doctoral Association. She received her PhD. in 2014 in Professor Alessandro Senes' laboratory at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. Her Ph.D. thesis work was to characterize membrane proteins in the bacterial divisome using structural and biophysical techniques.  She currently works with Professor Chuck Sanders in the Department of Biochemistry studying membrane proteins involved in human diseases. In her free time Loren enjoys running, biking, teaching group fitness classes at Gold's gym, cooking, and comedy shows.

  • Mohit Chadra, Ph.D., Junior Co-Chair

    Mohit Chadha, Ph.D. is starting his second year as a Research Fellow in Neuroscience. A native of India, Mohit got interested in neuroscience research in medical school which led him to pursue a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, India,and a Doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland, College Park. After a brief stint at Johns Hopkins University as a postdoctoral fellow, he joined Vanderbilt to continue his research endeavors in understand how the brain processes multiple sensory inputs to form perceptual decisions. Besides his passion for understanding the workings of the brain, he enjoys cooking, running and reading in his spare time.

  • Chris Smith, Ph.D., Treasurer

    Chris Smith, Ph.D., was born and raised in Greenwood, SC, He became interested in neuroscience while completing his undergraduate degree at Furman University. He attended UNC Chapel Hill where he earned his PhD in Neurobiology in 2014. As a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt for over 2 years, he is passionate not only about research but mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, serving the University as a member of the Postdoctoral Association executive board, and volunteering time judging science fairs at the high school and college level.

    His research interests involve understanding individual differences in human reward, motivation, and choice behavior. Using behavioral genetic and neuroimaging (fMRI, PET) techniques, he hopes to better understand how value and choice are encoded in the brain and the role of neural modulators (particularly dopamine) in shaping these processes. Understanding choice behavior and how it can go awry has implications for why individuals make irrational choices in their daily lives and the poor choices seen in psychopathologies like drug addiction.

  • Laura Daniel, Ph.D., Secretary

    Laura Daniel, Ph.D. received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at East Tennessee University. Her dissertation work focused on cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction. She is now a second year fellow in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt. Her research interests focus on cardiac electrophysiology and the mechanisms that lead to a genetic predisposition to cardiac arrhythmias.