MARY L. HUFF
Behavioral Neuroscientist | Academic Mental Health Advocate | Professional Development Programmer
Open to new opportunities in professional and career development in the biomedical sciences, advocating for inclusive and structural support for mental health in academic research, and supporting undergraduate education and research.
I am a postdoctoral researcher interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying memory consolidation and long-term stabilization. Current projects include characterizing the behavioral consequences of a cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein (CPEB) 2 prion domain deletion. Additionally, I am developing new light-sensitive tools to better probe the molecular mechanisms of memory stabilization with increased temporal and spatial precision.
I am a promoter of mental health and professional development programs and am currently working toward building more inclusive and supportive training environments in the biomedical sciences. There is a growing crisis especially among trainees where the demands of training and the job market are not aligned with actual day-to-day offerings at many institutions.
I am also passionate about providing a foundation for students to enter the next phase of their education or the workforce with necessary skills and knowledge of relevant culture. As previous co-chair and Postdoc Representative for the Crossroads Committee, I coordinated professional development and non-bench-based skill training for graduate students and postdocs. The Crossroads Committee seeks to bring together students, postdocs, researchers, as well as core and support staff through integrative events promoting professional development, collaboration and community. I then went on to found Stowers Connection, a mental health and wellness support network.
February 2017 - Present
POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
STOWERS INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
KANSAS CITY, MO
Kausik Si Lab
-Lead project manager for two projects investigating the role of prion-like proteins in normal learning & memory including coordination with core facilities, grant preparation, and presentation of data at national meetings
-Lead researcher on Pilot Research Grant from The University of Kansas
Alzheimer’s Disease Center / Landon Center on Aging (P30 AG035982) totaling $30,000 for one year (2018-2019)
-Supervised and mentored rotating graduate students from the Graduate School at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and University of Kansas Medical Center
-Coordinator of IACUC protocol amendments, reviews, and compliance
-With a desire to stay up-to-date on best practices in teaching in higher education, I enrolled in workshops and courses with experts in scientific education from the University of Arizona and University of Kansas Medical Center
August 2011 - December 2016
GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCHER
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
IOWA CITY, IA
LaLumiere Lab, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
-Managed multiple individual projects conducting research on the differential involvement of amygdala pathways in different types of learning
-Received an individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (predoctoral) from the National Institute of Mental Health -which resulted in publication of multiple first author and contributing author manuscripts
-Supervised undergraduate research assistants in laboratory tasks and mentored career planning through individual meetings each semester
-Coordinator of Environmental Health and Safety and IACUC compliance for 15 lab members