Featured Postdoc: Eva Lancaster

Eva Lancaster is a post-doctoral fellow at VIPBG and an alumnus of the Quantitative Human Genetics PhD program at the VCU School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Mary Washington. During her time in graduate school, Eva worked in the labs of Drs. Roxann Roberson-Nay and Timothy York. Her dissertation concentrated on bolstering the interpretability and underlying methodology of DNA methylation studies, and she leveraged this work to research psychiatric disorders and women’s health topics. Eva’s latest publications alongside Dr. Roseann Peterson, her post-doc mentor, highlight her continued interest in these fields. Recent manuscripts that she has contributed to have focused on peripartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the integration of methylation and expression data.

Eva is also one of VCU’s Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) scholars. The IRACDA fellowship is an NIH program that pairs research institutions with universities that train researchers historically underrepresented in STEM fields. As an IRACDA scholar, Eva gets to combine a research-intensive post-doctoral position with an undergraduate teaching component. “It’s a dual research and teaching post-doc. The point is to forge relationships between teaching-oriented undergraduate institutions and research-focused institutions. If students have research interests, we set up these connections so that they can get lab experience and mentorship.” She noted the unique structure of the IRACDA fellowship, and underscored the various opportunities that have made her post-doc rewarding. “It was great to stay at VIPBG for my post-doc, as there’s not many institutes in the US focused on the work we do here. Part of my training was also being mentored and taking formal coursework, the Preparing Future Faculty Program. I even got to design and teach my own course at the undergraduate VCU campus.”

When asked about the next steps for her career, Eva expressed an interest in shaping government policy concerning biomedical research and data science. She recently applied for – and received – one of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Technology Policy Fellowships. This competitive program affords scientists and engineers the chance to work with the federal government in Washington, D.C. to both learn about policymaking and contribute their expertise in advisory roles.

When she’s not in the lab, Eva enjoys spending time with her dog Cary and her cats, Stella and Clover. She loves the outdoors, and she is an avid hiker, kayaker, and gardener. Thanks very much to Eva for taking some time out for this interview, and we all wish her the best in Washington!


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