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Office of Fellowship Training (OFT)

OFT Mission

The mission of the Office of Fellowship Training is:

  • To support and promote a productive and fulfilling research training experience in the NIMH Intramural Research Program
  • To encourage career planning and guide career management through trainee use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs)
  • To provide programs and services to assist trainees in discovering and clarifying career choices
  • To provide opportunities and to encourage trainees to build a professional skill set which enables them to become world leaders in academic and non-academic careers

Trainee Successes: Past & Present

Michelle Y. Cortes, Ph.D.

Michelle Y. Cortes, Ph.D.

Dr. Michelle Y. Cortes joined the PET Radiopharmaceutical Science Laboratory, Molecular Imaging Branch (MIB) of NIMH as an IRTA Postdoctoral fellow in October 2013, under the supervision of Dr. Victor W. Pike. She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Cortes holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of South Florida with a research emphasis on the development and evaluation of sigma receptor ligands used as potential post-ischemic stroke therapeutics. Dr. Cortes' interest in the detection and progression of neuroinflammatory diseases led her to join the PET Radiopharmaceutical Science Section where her current research involves the development of novel COX-1 and COX-2 imaging agents used for the detection of neuroinflammatory diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders using Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Dr. Cortes has showcased her research by presenting her work at various international and national conferences. Recently, she was awarded the Best Poster Award at the American Chemical Society (ACS), National Organic Symposium (NOS). In addition to her research work, Dr. Cortes has served as a research mentor in the NIMH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research (SIP) in her efforts to promote higher education in the biomedical fields. Dr. Cortes was selected as one of 30 professionals to participate at the Linton-Poodry Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Leadership Institute where members from government, industry, and academia gathered at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) headquarters in Washington, DC, Institute to discuss how to promote higher education in the STEM fields in their communities. Dr. Cortes is currently the NIH-SACNAS Chapter president leading the chapter’s planning and execution of activities to promote professional development, leadership, and wellness, and efforts for dissemination of information and outreach in the DC, MD, and VA areas. Dr. Cortes is leading efforts to facilitate collaborations within NIH community as well as with other non-profit associations that share the SACNAS mission. Under her leadership, the NIH SACNAS Chapter received the recognition of 2016 SACNAS Professional Chapter of the Year Award at the SACNAS National Conference.


NIMH IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow, PET Radiopharmaceutical Science Laboratory, NIMH, Bethesda, MD

Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida Center of Excellence-Biomolecular Identification of Target Therapeutics Fellowship (FCoe-BITT)

M.S. in Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

B.S. in Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Awards (at NIH)

2016 SACNAS Professional Chapter of the Year-SACNAS National

2016 Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute

2015 Best Poster Award- 44th National Organic Symposium

NIMH publications

  1. Cortes, M.; Singh, P.; Morse, C.; Kowalsky, A.; Shrestha, S.; Jenko, K.; Zoghbi, S.; Fujita, M.; Innis, R.; Pike, V. W. Synthesis of PET radioligands as potential probes for imaging COX-2 in neuroinflammation. J. Nucl. Med. 2015, S3, 1092.
  2. Singh, P.; Cortes, M.; Morse, C.; Jenko K.; Shrestha, S.; Zoghbi, S.; Gladding, R. Fujita, M.; Innis, R.; Pike V.W. [18F]PS-2 as candidate radioligand for imaging COX-1 expression in brain: radiosynthesis and monkey PET imaging. J. Nucl. Med. 2015, S3, 1091.
  3. Cortes, M.; Singh, P.; Morse, C.; Kowalsky, A.; Shrestha, S.; Jenko, K.; Zoghbi, S.; Fujita, M.; Innis, R.; Pike, V.W. Synthesis of a candidate brain-penetrant COX-2 PET radioligand as a potential probe for neuroinflammation. J. Label Compd. Radiopharm. 2015, 58, S312.
  4. Singh, P.; Cortes, M.; Morse, C.; Jenko, K.; Shrestha, S.; Gladding, R.; Fujita, M.; Innis, R. B.; Pike, V. W.; Radiosynthesis and evaluation of [11C]FK881 as a PET radioligand for imaging brain COX-1 in monkey. J. Label Compd. Radiopham. 2015, 58, S055.