The AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP)

The PPFP provides early-career researchers, who are within 15 years of receiving their terminal degree and who are committed to a career in biomedical research, with the opportunity to learn about and participate in the public policy and legislative activities of AAI. Up to 10 Fellows are selected to participate annually. Fellows serve from May 1st of their selection year to April 30th of the following year.
The primary goals of the program are to 1) help AAI members, early in their careers, better understand the role of the President and Administration, Congress, and the National Institutes of Health in determining the policies that affect biomedical research; and 2) teach participants how best to advocate for the funding and policies that impact their careers. The program will also help ensure that AAI has within its ranks a cadre of well-informed scientists who can help lead the organization's public policy efforts in the future.

Program Components

  1. Capitol Hill Day: Fellows come to Washington, DC, for a two-day Capitol Hill Day (likely in March). They attend a training session with AAI staff and visit their Congressional representatives to advocate for biomedical research and increased funding for NIH. AAI pays for Fellows' flights, hotel, and other reasonable expenses (per the AAI PPFP Reimbursement Policy).
  2. AAI Annual Meeting Program: Fellows attend the AAI annual meeting (during their Fellowship year), including any public policy or PPFP sessions requested by AAI. Attendance at the meeting is at the Fellows' expense. Fellows may apply for and use any AAI travel awards for which they are eligible.
  3. Communication with AAI: Members of the AAI Committee on Public Affairs and AAI public affairs staff communicate with the Fellows by email and video conference calls during their Fellowship year to keep them informed and to solicit their views on key topics. Fellows receive, and respond to as appropriate, emails and phone calls from AAI staff and/or other program participants during their participation year and complete a program evaluation at the end of their Fellowship.


All PPFP Fellows are selected by the AAI Committee on Public Affairs. Applicants are required to:

  • have received their Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent within the previous 15 years in immunology or a related field
  • be a member in good standing of AAI (must be a member at the time of application and throughout the Fellowship year)
  • be committed to a career in biomedical research
  • have excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • have an interest in public policy as it relates to biomedical research
  • live and work in the United States and
  • submit by the designated deadline, as a single combined PDF:
    1. the AAI PPFP application
    2. a CV and
    3. two references from AAI members (regular members in good standing who do not serve on the AAI Council or AAI Committee on Public Affairs) using the PPFP recommendation forms.


Mafalda de Arrábida Farelo

Mafalda de Arrábida Farelo, Ph.D.

City of Hope

I am thrilled to be selected as a 2023-2024 AAI Public Policy Fellow. I believe that scientific research plays a key role in the development of an innovative and informed society, making it necessary to promote the importance of scientific research to policymakers and the general public. This program will allow me to use my voice and scientific knowledge as a researcher to advocate for both scientific research funding and evidence-based policies that can benefit society. By participating in this program, I hope to also gain the skills necessary for effective communication with the general public in order to build trust between communities and scientists and to convey how society benefits from scientific research.
Heather Gustafson

Heather Gustafson, Ph.D.

Seattle Children's Research Institute

I am thrilled and honored to be a part of the AAI Public Policy Fellows Program. Exciting and life-changing scientific breakthroughs have accelerated over the past several years while funding for scientific research has become increasingly difficult to obtain. As a result, the path to a career as an academic scientist has become increasingly exclusive and restrictive. The future of scientific research and the scientific community’s continued ability to identify and solve important societal and health challenges relies on diverse ideas and viewpoints from a diverse scientific workforce. I am hopeful this program will provide the opportunity and skill set necessary to drive policy that can change the faces of tomorrow. As a girl challenged with dyslexia and growing up in a single-parent household, I never dreamed that I could be an Assistant Professor–I didn't know that was even a possibility. What could we do together if more people knew that science was a possibility?
Anne Hahn

Anne Hahn, Ph.D.

Yale School of Public Health

I am looking forward to my year as an AAI Public Policy Fellow, especially learning from and working with the experts within AAI. As an international postdoc currently based in the U.S., I am especially interested in intercultural exchange and the opportunity to hear different perspectives, strategies, and mindsets when it comes to translating scientific evidence into effective policy. I hope to focus on promoting the importance of immunology research for global health and improving working conditions for early-career scientists. During my time as a fellow, I am keen to gain insights into the political decision-making process and to develop a skillset that enables me to bridge the gap between scientific research and public policy. I am certain that participating in the AAI PPFP will be invaluable for developing my career at the research-policy nexus.
Emma Hornick

Emma Hornick, Ph.D.

University of Iowa

I am honored to be one of the 2023-24 AAI Public Policy Fellows. It is more important than ever for immunologists to advocate for increased federal funding for basic science research. My love for science has been encouraged by wonderful teachers at all levels of Iowa’s public education system, so I am passionate about increasing investment in public schools and science educators as a means of growing public trust, enthusiasm for science, and the next generation of scientists. I also hope to improve my ability to convey to non-scientists how basic immunology research has enabled and can continue to enable the development of life-changing therapies. I am proud that AAI offers such diverse resources for scientists working in public- and research-oriented capacities, and I look forward to using what I learn in the PPFP to make a positive difference for our shared community. Thank you for this opportunity!
Nicholas Maurice

Nicholas Maurice, Ph.D.

University of Minnesota

I am truly delighted to be selected as a 2023–2024 AAI Public Policy Fellow. This fellowship offers a welcome opportunity to apply my decades-long grassroots experience in addressing vaccine hesitancy, building trust in biomedical research, and cultivating equity/accessibility in STEM to advancing scientific policy and legislation on a national level. Over this next year, I look forward to working with the AAI and my peers in the Public Policy Fellows Program to advance public health and biomedical research for the benefit of all Americans.
Srinivasu Mudalagiriyappa

Srinivasu Mudalagiriyappa, D.V.M., Ph.D.


I am absolutely thrilled and deeply honored to have been selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow. This is an incredible opportunity that I am tremendously grateful for, and I am eager to make a significant contribution to the important work that AAI does in advancing public policy. I am steadfastly committed to using this opportunity to make a meaningful and positive impact on the communities I serve, and to furthering the mission and vision of AAI. I am delighted to meet and collaborate with the other fellows and the AAI team, and to learn from their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. I am confident that this immersive program will challenge me to expand my horizons and provide me with the tools and skills I need to tackle complex public policy issues and effect real change. Once again, I express my deepest gratitude to AAI for this amazing opportunity, and I eagerly anticipate the journey ahead.
Amali Samarasinghe

Amali Samarasinghe, Ph.D.

University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

I am honored and grateful to have been selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for 2023-2024. I strongly believe that impactful scientific discoveries require buy-in from policymakers to make an intentional shift in public health outcomes. My research program is focused on immunologic pathways in lung disease with a goal of establishing therapeutics particularly targeting communities with health disparities. Participation in the AAI PPFP will help me learn how to advocate effectively for federal science funding and resources and provide me with tools I need to advocate for equity in healthcare and diversity in the biomedical research workforce. I look forward to this fellowship experience to actively engage with my PPFP colleagues and propel scientific findings to positively impact community health. Thank you, AAI, for this opportunity of a lifetime!
Derek Theisen

Derek Theisen, Ph.D.

Washington University in St. Louis

I am thrilled to be part of the AAI Public Policy Fellows Program for 2023-2024. Advocating for improved resources for research is important not just to further medical and scientific progress, but to also improve the quality of life of scientists and ensure continued recruitment of talented researchers. The financial and quality of life sacrifices required to pursue scientific careers has put us at risk of losing talented and creative minds of the future and perpetuates disparities in who can access these roles. As an AAI Public Policy Fellow, I hope to learn how to advocate for ways to make scientific careers more accessible and attractive to future trainees on a larger scale so that we can ensure continued growth towards a more diverse field of scientists equipped with everything they need to tackle the evolving public health and research landscapes.
Sarah Webster

Sarah Webster, Ph.D.

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

I am honored to be selected as a 2023-2024 AAI Public Policy Fellow. Now more than ever, clear and effective scientific communication is imperative to both the general public and to legislators and policymakers. I am excited at the opportunity to advocate for the critical need for funding in the scientific realm, specifically within immunology. I'm very passionate about the dearth of work focused on women's health and well-being and am very much looking forward to being proactive in making investments into research focused on this important area. I'm thankful for the opportunities of this unique program to advocate for funding focused on immunology and to share exciting research advances with our legislators.
Samantha Yeligar

Samantha Yeligar, Ph.D.

Emory University

I am so excited to be selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for 2023-24! Over the last few years, I have used my platform as a scientist to advocate for increased congressional funding for biomedical sciences and to teach scientists-in-training to communicate effectively with non-scientists. Thus far, my advocacy efforts have been focused on local opportunities and outreach, but now I will be able to do more! The PPFP will give me the opportunity to better understand the process by which laws and policies are drafted and implemented and train me to become more effective in advocating for increased funding for immunology and other biomedical research initiatives. Further, the professional training and networking opportunities offered in the PPFP will help me to hone my skills as a science advocate and become a better role model for implementing meaningful change in the advancement of future career scientists. I am honored to be part of this incredible program!
Adeleye Adeshakin
Adeleye Adeshakin, Ph.D.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Adriana Benavides
Adriana Benavides, Ph.D.
American Association for Cancer Research
Jeremy Crawford
Jeremy Crawford, Ph.D.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Caroline Jones
Caroline Jones, Ph.D.
University of Texas at Dallas
Jamie McCall
Jamie McCall, Ph.D.
West Virginia University
Chandra Menendez
Chandra Menendez, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Victoria Mutua
Victoria Mutua, D.V.M., Ph.D.
University of California, Davis
Ninecia Scott
Ninecia Scott, Ph.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Erin Taylor
Erin Taylor, Ph.D.
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Todd Bradley
Todd Bradley, Ph.D.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Virginia Camacho
Virginia Camacho, Ph.D.
Boston Children’s Hospital
Victor Cortez
Victor Cortez, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Meredith Crane
Meredith Crane, Ph.D.
Brown University
Mary Fontana
Mary Fontana, Ph.D.
University of Washington
Teresia Maina
Teresia Maina, Ph.D.
Iowa State University
Cody McHale
Cody McHale, Ph.D.
The Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health
Stina L. Urban
Kieng B. Vang-Dings, Ph.D.
CCS Associates
(previously University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
Stephen Yeung
Stephen Yeung, Ph.D.
Weill Cornell Medicine
Elizabeth Franks
S. Elizabeth Franks, Ph.D.
Scientist, Bethesda, Maryland
Erin M. Harberts
Erin M. Harberts, Ph.D.
Towson University (formerly University of Maryland, Baltimore)
April Huseby Kelcher
April Huseby Kelcher, Ph.D.
Scientist, Minnesota (formerly University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Peter D. Krueger
Peter D. Krueger, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota Center for Immunology
Brina Lopez
Brina Lopez, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Midwestern University
Joshua T. Mattila
Joshua T. Mattila, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Parameswaran Ramakrishnan
Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University
Julia M. Scordo
Julia M. Scordo, Ph.D.
Texas Biomedical Research Institute/University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Shipra Vaishnava
Shipra Vaishnava, Ph.D.
Brown University
Tayab Waseem
Tayab Waseem, Ph.D.
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Ty Crowl
Ty Crowl, Ph.D.
University of California San Diego
Peter Morawski
Peter Morawski, Ph.D.
Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Magdia De Jesus
Magdia De Jesus, Ph.D.
University at Albany School of Public Health
Dennis Neeld
Dennis Neeld, Ph.D.
Emory University School of Medicine
Nicholas Hess
Nicholas Hess, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Shailbala Singh
Shailbala Singh, D.V.M., Ph.D.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Rebecca Hesterberg
Rebecca Hesterberg, Ph.D.
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Anibal Valentin Acevedo
Anibal Valentin-Acevedo, Ph.D.
Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine
Weishan Huang
Weishan Huang, Ph.D.
Louisiana State University
Leah Wuescher
Leah Wuescher, Ph.D.
The University of Toledo
Year Recipient Institution Sort Name
2019-2020 Ty Crowl, Ph.D. University of California San Diego Crowl
2019-2020 Magdia De Jesus, Ph.D. University at Albany School of Public Health De Jesus
2019-2020 Nicholas Hess, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison Hess
2019-2020 Rebecca Hesterberg, Ph.D. H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Hesterberg
2019-2020 Weishan Huang, Ph.D. Louisiana State University Huang
2019-2020 Peter Morawski, Ph.D. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason Morawski
2019-2020 Dennis Neeld, Ph.D. Emory University School of Medicine Neeld
2019-2020 Shailbala Singh, D.V.M., Ph.D. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Singh
2019-2020 Anibal Valentin-Acevedo, Ph.D. Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine Valentin-Acevedo
2019-2020 Leah Wuescher, Ph.D. The University of Toledo Wuescher
2018-2019 Nathaniel H. Boyd, Ph.D. Emory School of Medicine Boyd
2018-2019 Gavin H. Imperato, M.D. Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Imperato
2018-2019 Liz McMichael, Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center McMichael
2018-2019 Gregory Szeto, Ph.D. University of Maryland Baltimore County Szeto
2018-2019 Francisco R. Victorino, Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis Victorino
2018-2019 Emily A. Hemann, Ph.D. University of Washington Hemann
2018-2019 Jesica R. Jacobs, Ph.D. University of Utah School of Medicine Jacobs
2018-2019 Mallory L. Paynich, Ph.D. La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology Paynich
2018-2019 Stina L. Urban, Ph.D. University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Urban
2018-2019 Melody Y. Zeng, Ph.D. Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University Zeng
2016-2017 Mufadhal Al-Kuhlani, Ph.D.   Al-Kuhlani
2016-2017 Eyal Amiel, Ph.D.   Amiel
2013-2014 Rachel Bergerson, Ph.D.   Bergerson
2014-2015 Matthew Billard, Ph.D.   Billard
2013-2014 Jennifer (Lori) Blanchfield, Ph.D.   Blanchfield
2014-2015 C. Colin Brinkman, Ph.D.   Brinkman
2015-2016 Tullia Bruno, Ph.D.   Bruno
2016-2017 Kristina Burrack, Ph.D.   Burrack
2011-2012 Judy Cannon, Ph.D.   Cannon
2012-2013 Ling Cao, M.D., Ph.D.   Cao
2011-2012 Devavani Chatterjea, Ph.D.   Chatterjea
2016-2017 Michael Constantinides, Ph.D.   Constantinides
2016-2017 Stacey Cranert, Ph.D.   Cranert
2014-2015 Ryan Cummings, Ph.D.   Cummings
2014-2015 Jonathan Deane, Ph.D.   Deane
2013-2014 Gretchen Diehl, Ph.D.   Diehl
2015-2016 Jason Gigley, Ph.D.   Gigley
2012-2013 Kory Hallett, Ph.D.   Hallett
2015-2016 Nichol Holodick, Ph.D.   Holodick
2013-2014 Katrina Hoyer, Ph.D.   Hoyer
2011-2012 Shawn Jackson, Ph.D.   Jackson
2012-2013 Stephanie James, Ph.D.   James
2011-2012 Kamal Khanna, Ph.D.   Khanna
2014-2015 Heather Kling, Ph.D.   Kling
2015-2016 David Larson, Ph.D.   Larson
2013-2014 Elizabeth Leadbetter, Ph.D.   Leadbetter
2011-2012 Linda Lieberman, Ph.D.   Lieberman
2015-2016 Nicole Perry Lieberman, Ph.D.   Lieberman
2016-2017 Jacquelyn Lykken, Ph.D.   Lykken
2015-2016 Jean Nepomuscene Manirarora, D.V.M., Ph.D.   Manirarora
2015-2016 Meghan Marré, Ph.D.   Marré
2011-2012 Jeffrey Mills, Ph.D.   Mills
2011-2012 Amy Moran, Ph.D.   Moran
2012-2013 Joshua Obar, Ph.D.   Obar
2014-2015 Shaun O'Brien, Ph.D.   O'Brien
2014-2015 Karen O'Connell Martins, Ph.D.   O'Connell Martins
2011-2012 Anastazia Older Aguilar, Ph.D.   Older Aguilar
2012-2013 Hannah Phipps-Yonas, Ph.D.   Phipps-Yonas
2014-2015 Rebecca Pompano, Ph.D.   Pompano
2012-2013 Melanie Ragin, Ph.D.   Ragin
2014-2015 Sesquile Ramon, Ph.D.   Ramon
2016-2017 Srinika Ranasinghe, Ph.D.   Ranasinghe
2012-2013 Jillian Richmond, Ph.D.   Richmond
2012-2013 Mark Rubinstein, Ph.D.   Rubinstein
2013-2014 Surojit Sarkar, Ph.D.   Sarkar
2013-2014 Jeremy Schaefer, Ph.D.   Schaefer
2013-2014 Brian Sheridan, Ph.D.   Sheridan
2012-2013 Adam Soloff, Ph.D.   Soloff
2014-2015 Stefanie Sowinski, Ph.D.   Sowinski
2015-2016 Erica Stone, Ph.D.   Stone
2016-2017 Rachel Temple, Ph.D.   Temple
2013-2014 Tamisha Vaughan, Ph.D.   Vaughan
2015-2016 Joshua Vieth, Ph.D.   Vieth
2016-2017 Lavanya Visvabharathy, Ph.D.   Visvabharathy
2013-2014 Stephanie Watkins, Ph.D.   Watkins
2012-2013 Dina Weilhammer, Ph.D.   Weilhammer
2011-2012 Eric Weimer, Ph.D.   Weimer
2015-2016 Jessica Werner, Ph.D.   Werner
2011-2012 Caleph Wilson, Ph.D.   Wilson
2016-2017 Mary Young, Ph.D.   Young
2017-2018 Heather Marie Buechel, Ph.D.   Buechel
2017-2018 David J. Dowling, Ph.D.   Dowling
2017-2018 Mariana Guerra-Maupome, D.V.M., Ph.D.   Guerra-Maupome
2017-2018 Farrah C. Phillips, Ph.D.   Phillips
2017-2018 Rachel S. Resop, Ph.D.   Resop
2017-2018 Timothy Rosean, Ph.D.   Rosean
2017-2018 Nathaniel Schuldt, Ph.D.   Schuldt
2017-2018 Julie Swartzendruber, Ph.D.   Swartzendruber
2017-2018 Melissa M. Walker, Ph.D.   Walker
2017-2018 Spencer C. Wei, Ph.D.   Wei

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