Post-Doctoral Fellowships

​The Research Institute provides post-doctoral fellowships in injury and disability research in partnership with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.  The Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program helps recent doctoral graduates develop their research careers. The positions last for an initial period of one year, with potential to continue for an additional year. The selected fellows conduct ergonomics, safety, driving safety, injury epidemiology, or disability and return-to-work research in close collaboration with Institute research scientists and their respective partner institution. Responsibilities include data collection and analysis, publication in the peer-reviewed literature, participation in seminars and work groups, and collaboration on research grant applications.

Learn more about our current post-doctoral fellows:

Morteza Asgarzadeh, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Asgarzadeh is collaborating with the Center for Injury Epidemiology on investigations in the research stream of built environments. With more than 10 years of experience in design and construction, consulting and research, he is interested in understanding how built environments contribute to health, by influencing lifestyle choices, behaviors, perceptions or events including injuries. His research will examine design variables that correlate with injury rate and severity and help identify potential controls based on the scientific findings. Initially, his work will focus on developing safer and healthier environments that encourage physical activities. During his tenure, he will also contribute to investigations in the area of slips and falls as well as walkability.
Currently, Dr. Asgarzadeh is working towards a Master’s degree in public health in environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In 2010, he received a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Tokyo. He earned a B.A. degree from Tehran University. He has published more than 10 scientific papers and has presented his work at conferences around the world. A member of the American Public Health Association, Massachusetts Public Health Association and National Post-Doctoral Association, he also serves as Vice President of the Post-Doctoral Association at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Philippe Dixon, D.Phil.
Affiliation: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Dixon is collaborating with the Center for Physical Ergonomics on investigations in the area of walking biomechanics. His contributions will include a study of the effects of irregular surfaces and changes in walking direction on gait biomechanics in older adults.
Through his research, Dr. Dixon aims to better understand the adaptations required for people who have restricted mobility to successfully navigate both the natural and built environments. He also conducts research to improve biomechanical data analysis and develops programming tools to help other researchers optimize their data processing workflow.
In 2015, Dr. Dixon earned his doctorate degree in engineering science at the University of Oxford. He also earned a Master of Science in biomechanics, a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Bachelor in Education in physics and mathematics education from McGill University. He is a member of the International Society of Biomechanics, the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society, the Canadian Society of Biomechanics and the European Society for Movement Analysis in Adults and Children.
Dr. Dixon is a reviewer for Gait & Posture, the Journal of Biomechanics, Clinical Biomechanics, Footwear Science, and the International Journal of Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering. He has published numerous articles and has presented his work at international conferences.
Dorothee Fischer, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Fischer is collaborating with the Center for Injury Epidemiology to examine the impact of circadian rhythm disruption on injury risk. During her tenure, she will apply her expertise on biological rhythms and sleep-wake behavior and advance a risk index model based on work components and individual characteristics. This project involves an extensive systematic review of the literature including quantitative meta-analysis, as well as time-series analyses of daily rhythms in accident and injury risk.
Most recently, Dr. Fischer worked as a research and teaching associate with the Medical Faculty of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany. Her research interests focus on the potentials and challenges of individual differences in sleep and circadian rhythms for the design of work schedules. While at the University, Dr. Fischer and colleagues developed, implemented and evaluated a unique shift system that was tailored to employees’ individual sleep preferences (chronotypes). They demonstrated the system’s benefits on several health and safety-related outcomes. Dr. Fischer’s research interests also include understanding the underlying mechanisms of human chronotypes by using mathematical models of the sleep-wake regulatory brain network.
In 2011, Dr. Fischer graduated as a psychologist with a specialization in clinical psychology from the University of Munich, and in 2015, she received her Ph.D. in human biology from the University’s Medical Faculty. In her doctoral thesis, she developed a method to quantify and visualize circadian disruption in rotational shift workers, for which she received an award from the Working Time Society. She has co-authored four peer-reviewed journal papers and a book chapter, and she has presented research at conferences around the world. Currently, she serves as a reviewer for Chronobiology International and the Journal of Biological Rhythms. Dr. Fischer is a member of the Working Time Society, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, European Biological Rhythm Society and Deutsche Arbeitszeitgesellschaft e.V.
Timothy J. Wright, Ph.D.
​Affiliation: University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Dr. Wright is collaborating with the Center for Behavioral Sciences in the area of transportation research. During his tenure, he will investigate age-related factors that influence the use of driverless vehicles (also known as self-driving or autonomous vehicles) and how these factors influence the drivers’ ability to take control when the automated system requires manual operation.
Most recently, Dr. Wright worked as a pre-doctoral researcher at Florida State University. His research interests span basic and applied aspects of attention including how aging influences attention and other cognitive abilities. He has studied the factors that capture attention in visual scenes and also the factors that determine what goes unnoticed in these scenes. He has also investigated the extent to which driving distractions can impair both older and younger drivers, how training can mitigate age-related attentional and cognitive declines and the effectiveness of interventions designed to combat these declines.
At University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Dr. Wright currently serves as a post-doctoral research associate. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Florida State University in 2013 and 2015, respectively. A member of the Vision Sciences Society, he has served as a reviewer for Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics and the Journal of Gernontechnology. Since 2011, his work has been acknowledged through numerous awards and fellowships from the American Psychological Association, Florida State University and Florida State University’s affiliated University Transportation Center. He has published 11 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and his work has resulted in nearly two dozen professional conference presentations.
Tingru Zhang, Ph.D.
Affiliation: University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Dr. Zhang is collaborating with the Center for Behavioral Sciences in the area of transportation research. During her tenure, her studies will investigate the effects of driver fatigue and driver visual scanning patterns on motor vehicle control. She will also evaluate the effectiveness of a training program for improving fatigued driver performance.
Previously, Dr. Zhang was a graduate student and teaching assistant at City University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include aggressive driving, driver training, fatigue detection and crash data analysis. She has published five peer-reviewed journal papers and has presented her work at several professional conferences. She serves as a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals such as Transportation Research Part F, Accident Analysis and Prevention and Decision Science Journal of Innovative Education.
In 2015, Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. degree in systems engineering and engineering management from City University of Hong Kong. Her dissertation has provided insights into the effect of driving anger on driver performance and allocation of visual attention. She earned her M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Tsinghua University, China in 2012 and her B.S. in control science and engineering from Shandong University, China in 2010.
Click to learn more about our past post-doctoral fellows
Post Doctoral Fellowship Opportunities

​For more information including the position description, qualification criteria, and application process, click on the links below:

​For more information including the position description, qualification criteria, and application process, click on the links below: