Postdoctoral Fellows

ISGMH Pilot Postdoctoral Training Program


ISGMH is committed to training the next generation of SGM health scholars. To that end, it has developed a pilot postdoctoral training program with the goal of providing its postdoctoral fellows with ongoing training in SGM health research and professional development. The program includes several training activities such as:

  • A “work-in-progress” meeting where fellows can present preliminary ideas and analyses for manuscripts and grants in order to get feedback from their peers;
  • A “big issues” meeting to discuss major conceptual advances and issues in the field of SGM health research;
  • Seminars focused on diverse topics related to grant writing and professional development.

At their discretion, ISGMH postdoctoral fellows will invite ISGMH or other faculty to these meetings to provide key expertise in these areas.

These postdoctoral training activities supplement existing educational events at ISGMH, such as the “Current Issues in LGBTQ Health” lecture series, which showcases current work in the field of SGM health. Additionally, while the program is intended to provide broad training in SGM health research, it is also designed to be flexible in nature in order to accommodate the diverse interests and goals of the current postdoctoral fellows. As such, the training program is led and facilitated by a lead postdoctoral fellow with faculty input and oversight.

Current Postdoctoral Fellows


lbLauren Beach, J.D., Ph.D., (she/her) is a postdoctoral research fellow and the Associate Director of EDIT at ISGMH in the research group of Dr. Gregory Phillips, II. Scientifically, Lauren investigates how stigma affects chronic disease management and health outcomes in LGBTI populations. As an alumna of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology, she received her JD specialized in Health Law & Bioethics from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2012 and her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2014. For her PhD dissertation research in the lab of Dr. Louis Mansky, she studied the molecular mechanism of action of how ribonucleotide reductase inhibitors inhibit HIV-1 and HIV-2 replication. She received a BA in Social Relations and Policy and a BS in Microbiology from Michigan State University in 2007. Prior to joining Northwestern, Lauren served as a postdoctoral research fellow in the research group of Dr. Kerri Cavanaugh, as well as the Director of LGBTI Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. From 2014-2015, she was an HIVCorps Public Health Fellow at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), in Lusaka, Zambia. Lauren is a member of the Minnesota bar and a founding member of the Bisexual Research Collective on Health (BiRCH). At the invitation of the Obama administration, she has spoken at the White House to present recommendations for improving bisexual health outcomes and bisexual data collection methods. When not in the office, Lauren enjoys spending time with her 100 pound St. Bernard mix dog, Danny, playing piano, and vegetarian cooking. Read more about Lauren’s work. 

A headshot of Ashley KrausAshley Kraus, Ph.D., (she/her) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. She received her Ph.D. in Mass Communications from Indiana University. During her graduate training Ashley’s research generally focused on the intersection of media, mental health, gender, and sexuality. More specifically, Ashley explored the effect of body-positive media on discrete emotions, self-discrepancies and body-image outcomes. At ISGMH, she works on the Looking and ASAP projects. Additionally, Ashley is interested in the role media and technology play in regards to health disparities in SGM youth as well as the potential for media as a tool to help repair these disparities.

Dr. Dennis Li headshotDennis Li, M.P.H., Ph.D., (he/him) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. He received his M.P.H. in Health Promotion and Health Education and Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. During his graduate training, Dennis was heavily engaged in adolescent sexual health research, directing a study of HIV and social networks among young men who have sex with men and helping to design a web-based decision-support system for implementing evidence-based sexual health education programs in schools. At ISGMH, he works across multiple projects, including the SMART Program, RADAR, and FAB400, to continue to characterize the epidemiology of and develop interventions for HIV among adolescent and young men who have sex with men as well as to expand into new areas such as substance abuse/misuse, longitudinal data analysis, and the health of sexual and gender minorities who are assigned female at birth. More broadly, Dennis is interested in positive youth development and resiliency among sexual and gender minority youth and the development, evaluation, and implementation of primary prevention interventions for these individuals. He currently co-chairs the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Committee within the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association.

A headshot of Dr. Melissa Marzan-RodriguezMelissa Marzán-Rodríguez, Dr.P.H., (she/her) completed a DrPH degree with a major in Epidemiology at Ponce Health Sciences University. She also holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the UPR-SPH and a BA in Anthropology from the UPR-Río Piedras Campus. She is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Dr. Marzán-Rodríguez has vast experience in the implementation of national and local HIV-related studies. As part of her post-doctoral training, she will be collaborating with the SMART Project to develop implementation science competencies in the implementation of HIV prevention eHealth interventions targeted to young MSM under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos E. Rodríguez-Díaz at the UPR-SPH and Dr. Brian Mustanski at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

A headshot of Ethan Morgan.Ethan Morgan, Ph.D. (he/him) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. He received his Ph.D. in Epidemiology from The University of Chicago. During his graduate training, Ethan focused on the development of new methods to combine HIV transmission networks with social networks in a sociomolecular approach towards HIV prevention among young black MSM in Chicago. At ISGMH, he works on the RADAR project with a focus on understanding the longitudinal epidemiology of HIV among young men who have sex with men. In addition, he is continuing to work on the development of network-based HIV interventions using phylogenetic analytic techniques with the Chicago CFAR. More generally, Ethan is interested in how sexually transmitted infections, especially antibiotic resistant STIs, move through networks of at-risk individuals, the use of spatial epidemiology to inform disease intervention, and global public health.

A headshot of Elissa SarnoElissa L. Sarno, Ph.D., (she/her) is a postdoctoral research fellow at ISGMH. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her graduate training, Elissa’s research focused on psychosocial functioning of sexual minority individuals and basic affective and cognitive processes related to sexual health among men who have sex with men. At ISGMH, Elissa is works primarily on 2GETHER, an innovative HIV prevention and relationship education program for young male couples that integrates group and individual couples sessions to address the needs of HIV-positive and HIV-negative young men. Additionally, Elissa is interested in the role that perceptions of sexual partners play in the likelihood of engaging in sexual risk behaviors, particularly when using phone applications to find sexual partners.