The AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP)

  Applications are open until January 19, 2022

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 are in email and phone contact with the Fellows 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.


Todd Bradley

Todd Bradley, Ph.D.

Children’s Mercy Kansas City

I am honored and excited to have been selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow. As a scientist, I believe we have a responsibility to communicate and advocate for scientific research and global public health. This is critical not only for ensuring transparency and public trust in the research enterprise, but also for informing our legislators about the critical need for investments into science to improve health for every person. Participating in the AAI PPFP will help me understand how federal scientific policy is developed and give me the tools necessary to become a better leader and advocate for science and public health.
Virginia Camacho

Virginia Camacho, Ph.D.

Boston Children’s Hospital

I am delighted to have been selected to participate in the 2021-22 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program. I am excited to work with AAI alongside other fellows on policies that will improve the accessibility of biomedical research for both the public and scientists. The current pandemic has exacerbated many systemic inequities in academic research, particularly for certain demographics. I hope to learn how to work for a more accessible academia and how to effectively advocate for policy initiatives that will increase retention, representation, and public outreach in the scientific community. I look forward to a future where trainees have sufficient support to pursue careers in science, and where the biggest barriers to—and demands on—their careers will be scientific and not structural. It’s an honor and pleasure to be part of this PPFP cohort and the AAI community!
Victor Cortez

Victor Cortez, Ph.D.

University of California, San Francisco​

I am honored to be selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow. I strongly believe that governmental institutions play a fundamental role in accelerating the pace at which biomedical breakthroughs occur and new medicines reach the patients who need them. I am excited to learn how to effectively advocate for policies from these institutions which promote biological innovations that benefit our society. Additionally, my experiences as a Mexican American scientist have instilled in me a commitment to work towards diverse representation across all facets of science. The skill sets I will learn as a Public Policy Fellow will prepare me to act as an advocate for both scientific research and a more diverse scientific community.
Meredith Crane

Meredith Crane, Ph.D.

Brown University

I am thrilled and honored to have been selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for the upcoming 2021-22 season. I look forward to working with fellow scientists to learn how policy decisions are made and to advocate for important issues affecting the field of biomedicine. As an immunologist, I have witnessed our discipline come to the forefront of discussion in politics and the media during the COVID-19 pandemic and have realized the critical need for accurate and effective scientific communication in these venues. I hope that I, along with my colleagues, can contribute valuable voices to these discussions through this fellowship program.
Mary Fontana

Mary Fontana, Ph.D.

University of Washington

I am truly looking forward to participating in the AAI PPFP. Throughout my career, two things that have always been important to me are the effective communication of scientific principles to the general public and the application of scientific expertise to solve real-world problems. I can think of no better illustration of their importance than the current moment, when scientific research—including the decades of basic research that preceded recent translational advances—has given us the means to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, and effective scientific communication has proven to be such a vital but challenging component of flattening the curve. Through the PPFP, I hope to gain skills and tools that I can use to help lawmakers transform scientific research into smart policy, and to promote greater trust and cooperation between scientists and the broader society.
Teresia Maina

Teresia Maina, Ph.D.

Iowa State University

I am honored and excited to be selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for 2021-2022. This unique program will allow me to advocate for increased federal funding for biomedical research and give me the opportunity to help inform federal officials about veterinary infectious diseases and animal production, potentially impacting the economy (food security) and human health. The PPFP will also allow me to take a fresh look at how government decisions impact research. With the COVID-19 pandemic, science has taken center stage, and it has never been more critical for immunologists to engage in policy discussion and to influence policies that benefit science. Thank you, AAI, for this amazing opportunity! I look forward to being part of this fantastic program to help bring science and policy closer together and to meeting and working with all the other fellows.
Cody McHale

Cody McHale, Ph.D.

The Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of fostering public trust in the scientific community and of supporting the men and women who are dedicated to therapeutic discovery. Being a good investigator means not just diligently pursuing research interests, but also effectively communicating findings, preserving biomedical research funding, strengthening the scientific enterprise, and advancing basic and advanced STEM education. I'm honored to be selected for this prestigious fellowship and look forward to fully understanding the role of government in biomedical research to better leverage my scientific training for advocacy.
Kieng B. Vang-Dings

Kieng B. Vang-Dings, Ph.D.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

I am honored and humbled to be selected as an AAI PPFP. This past year, the world learned how important vaccines are—and the outcome of not having a one. We watched as COVID-19 closed businesses and schools and isolated families, neighbors, and friends from each other. When the first COVID-19 vaccine was given, there was renewed hope. As many trials as we experienced, I would like to think that a small silver lining of the last year is that everyone became a budding immunologist. I listened as lay people utilized words like antibodies, vaccines, and T cells, and described how the immune system worked. This new interest in immunology has highlighted the importance of biomedical research and its ability to lead to needed breakthroughs and treatments. I look forward to working with my colleagues to further advance our field at this important time.
Stephen Yeung

Stephen Yeung, Ph.D.

Weill Cornell Medicine

I am honored to have been selected to participate in the 2021-22 AAI Public Policy Fellow Program. As an openly gay person of color scientist, I have seen the disparities not only in science policies but also disparities in the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color in STEM. Additionally, with the recent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes across the nation caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am hopeful that participating in this fellowship will allow me to advocate for STEM policies and funding as well as policies to protect disenfranchised communities. I would like to sincerely thank AAI for this wonderful opportunity to serve the immunology community and help advocate for science in government policymaking.
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
Nathaniel H. Boyd
Nathaniel H. Boyd, Ph.D.
Emory School of Medicine
(formerly at University of Alabama at Birmingham)
Emily A. Hemann
Emily A. Hemann, Ph.D.
University of Washington
Gavin H. Imperato
Gavin H. Imperato, M.D.
Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Jesica R. Jacobs
Jesica R. Jacobs, Ph.D.
University of Utah School of Medicine
Liz McMichael
Liz McMichael, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center
Mallory L. Paynich
Mallory L. Paynich, Ph.D.
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Gregory Szeto
Gregory Szeto, Ph.D.
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Stina L. Urban
Stina L. Urban, Ph.D.
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Francisco R. Victorino
Francisco R. Victorino, Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
Melody Y. Zeng
Melody Y. Zeng, Ph.D.
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
(formerly at University of Michigan Medical School)
Year Recipient Sort Name
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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