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.


Adeleye Adeshakin

Adeleye Adeshakin, Ph.D.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

I am delighted to be selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for 2022-2023.  This program will enrich my knowledge about ways to advocate for more governmental and public support for immunology research to improve global health. As a minority scientist from Africa, privileged to acquire my Ph.D. training in China and now advancing scientific research in the USA, I'm aware that advancing effective science policies promoting research is a global challenge that early-career scientists must undertake. I am elated about working with AAI and other Fellows to communicate to legislators and the public regarding the support scientists need.  I am optimistic about becoming a well-informed scientist who can advocate for effective policies and funding for research in diverse communities.
Adriana Benavides

Adriana Benavides, Ph.D.

American Association for Cancer Research

I am thrilled and honored to be selected as a 2022-2023 AAI Public Policy Fellow! As an immunologist and scientific editor, I am committed to facilitating communication among individuals from diverse backgrounds. I feel that we have a responsibility to effectively communicate and advocate for biomedical research and to ensure transparency and reproducibility in that research, in order to foster public trust and credibly inform policy makers on the importance of funding to advance knowledge and improve the health of individuals.  By participating in this program, I hope to gain a better understanding of federal science policy and how it is shaped, as well as gain the tools needed to be a strong voice and advocate for science and research for the community.
Jeremy Crawford

Jeremy Crawford, Ph.D.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

The greatest advances in science, medicine, and technology arise from diverse collaboration and robust societal investment. This is why I am beyond excited to spend the next year as an AAI Public Policy Fellow, learning how to better advocate for the resources that will help us train the next generation of scientists and continue to support the amazing work already happening in research laboratories across the country. My own background as an organismal biologist who currently works in a children’s hospital is a testament to how unique scientific perspectives and diverse educational backgrounds can inform and advance biomedical research, often in unexpected ways. With the support of AAI, I hope to use this unique experience to facilitate such serendipitous research opportunities for future scientists.
Caroline Jones

Caroline Jones, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Dallas

I am honored and grateful to be selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for 2022-2023. This unique program will allow me to advocate for increased federal funding for biomedical research and give me the opportunity to inform federal legislators about the exciting advances in the new field of immunoengineering. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of fostering public trust in the scientific community and of supporting the scientists and engineers who are dedicated to basic research and therapeutic discovery. As a mother of two young children, I witnessed first-hand the resilience of, but also the sacrifices made by, children during the pandemic. We need to look ahead and make sure that scientists have the funding they need to better understand and discover treatments for long-COVID in children and adults. I will learn skills from the AAI PPFP that will enable me to communicate to our legislators the critical need for proactive investments in science to improve health for every person and to mitigate future pandemics. Thank you, AAI, for this amazing opportunity to serve the immunology community!
Jamie McCall

Jamie McCall, Ph.D.

West Virginia University

I am excited and honored to participate in the AAI Public Policy Fellows Program in 2022-2023. The reemerging public interest in science, and specifically immunology, during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of accurate and effective science communication to shape policy and inform the general public. I have found that many in my own circle lack the critical foundation needed to truly understand how vaccines work and why guidelines change, but also that they are excited to learn. I hope that the PPFP will allow me to build the skills necessary to effectively advocate for policies that are based on science and data, to help build trust between the lay and scientific communities, and to continue my career-long efforts to promote opportunities for women and girls in STEM.
Chandra Menendez

Chandra Menendez, Ph.D.

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Understanding the complexities of the immune system and how it intersects human health and disease is like learning a new language. I am excited to help translate this language to policymakers in an easy-to-understand manner that will inspire their increased support. Now more than ever science needs strong advocacy. I look forward to leveraging this opportunity to become a more impactful scientific advocate by communicating how funding and scientific policies can positively influence the health of Americans. I have always had a strong desire to make a difference in my community and touch others beyond my daily life and scientific research. I look forward to taking the next steps toward this goal by participating in the AAI PPFP. I fully intend to utilize the tools and opportunities I acquire to pave the way toward advancing resources for scientists and clinicians.
Victoria Mutua

Victoria Mutua, D.V.M., Ph.D.

University of California, Davis

The current pandemic has shown us that there is a gap in communication between the scientific community and the public, including government officials. I hope to gain skills and tools to help policymakers transform research into policies that benefit people and help facilitate better communication between scientists and the public. I am overjoyed and grateful to be given this opportunity to participate in the 2022-23 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program. I am looking forward to an enriching and rewarding experience that would enable me to appreciate the amount of work that goes into drafting federal scientific policies. I also hope to form strong networks with my PPFP colleagues and to learn how to raise awareness on advocating for biomedical research and communicating with elected representatives.  The future of immunology is in our own hands, and I hope we can be part of the team that propels it forward.
Ninecia Scott

Ninecia Scott, Ph.D.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (formerly The University of Alabama at Birmingham)​

I am humbled and excited to be selected as a 2022-23 AAI Public Policy Fellow. As a participant in many STEM programs directed towards educating URMs, I have been fortunate to see first-hand that it is possible to be a Black scientist, educate and mentor scholars, and still be supportive of my community. The quote “to whom much is given, much is required” has profoundly impacted me and I have sought to embody this mindset through my research and service. Although, I advocate for science communities that I have helped to create (e.g., Black in Microbiology and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Black Postdoctoral Association), I want to further understand national processes and policies that impact science funding and how to better communicate the need to maintain and increase this support. As an AAI Public Policy Fellow, I will seek to learn the most effective ways to advocate for funding to support and implement policies that are beneficial to the science and lay community at large.
Erin Taylor

Erin Taylor, Ph.D.

University of Mississippi Medical Center

I am honored and excited to have been selected as a 2022-23 AAI Public Policy Fellow.  I look forward to learning how to advocate for biomedical research and effectively communicate to the general public about scientific advances. I think we have all learned through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic that public trust in the scientific community is low, and as scientists it is important for us to work together to restore trust in science and continue to advocate for increased funding for biomedical research. This is especially true for us as immunologists, as infectious disease, immunity, and vaccine development have taken center stage. Thank you, AAI, and I am eager to meet and work with everyone in this program!
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 Sort Name
2018-2019 Nathaniel H. Boyd, Ph.D. Emory School of Medicine
2018-2019 Gavin H. Imperato, M.D. Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
2018-2019 Liz McMichael, Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center
2018-2019 Gregory Szeto, Ph.D. University of Maryland Baltimore County
2018-2019 Francisco R. Victorino, Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis
2018-2019 Emily A. Hemann, Ph.D. University of Washington
2018-2019 Jesica R. Jacobs, Ph.D. University of Utah School of Medicine
2018-2019 Mallory L. Paynich, Ph.D. La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
2018-2019 Stina L. Urban, Ph.D. University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
2018-2019 Melody Y. Zeng, Ph.D. Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University
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

© The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
1451 Rockville Pike, Suite 650, Rockville, Maryland 20852
Phone: (301) 634-7178 | Fax: (301) 634-7887