Pictured left to right, in back, are Krishna K. Ganta, Ph.D. and Sanjay K. Shukla, Ph.D.; in front, are Jeffrey VanWormer, Ph.D. and Cody L. Goessl, Ph.D.

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute recently welcomed Krishna Ganta, Ph.D., and Cody Goessl, Ph.D., as its first two postdoctoral fellows through the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

Each postdoctoral fellowship is a two-year appointment designed to facilitate development of a junior scientist's independent research skills and portfolio. In addition to salary support, the postdoctoral fellow receives funds to pursue training and career development activities for each year of the fellowship.

​“Having a fellowship program is important to train the next generation of scientists," said Scott Hebbring, Ph.D., director of the Fellowship Program and research scientist with the Center for Precision Medicine Research. “We are excited about our first two scientists and the incredible research they will bring to the Research Institute."

The Fellowship Program was supported​ through a generous gift from the estate of Frank R. and Betty J. Koller of Manitowish Waters. The Kollers notified Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation in 2008 of their intent to support future research through annual gifts that would begin with their passing and continue for the next 50 years.  Frank Koller passed away in 2012, followed by Betty Koller in 2017. Dr. Ganta and Dr. Goessl will each hold the title of Frank R. and Betty J. Koller Postdoctoral Fellow to honor the Kollers and their support for the program. 

“We are tremendously thankful that the Kollers chose to leave a lasting impact on Marshfield Clinic Research Institute that lives on after their lifetime," said Karen Piel, planned giving officer with Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation. “Current fellows and generations to come will benefit from their generosity."

Krishna K. Ganta, Ph.D.

Dr. Ganta wants to find solutions to unattended questions in the field of infectious diseases such as bacterial and viral infections where vaccine development is still in clinical trials.

His mentor is Sanjay K. Shukla, Ph.D., director for the Center for Precision Medicine Research.

“Staphylococcus infection, especially MRSA, has become a major problem all over the world. This bacteria became a super bug with resistance to the most powerful antibiotics," said Dr. Ganta. “Our basic research on how resistance emerges with antibiotics and how the bacteria regulates its virulence genes according to the antibiotic pressure, would help us manage the infection with better treatment regime."

He chose the Research Institute for his postdoctoral fellowship because he believes it gives him a platform to use his knowledge and experience to answer critical medical needs that can be applied to care.

Cody L. Goessl, Ph.D.

As an implementation and behavioral scientist, Dr. Goessl is interested in achieving health outcomes through scalable, pragmatic, clinical programs for patients and providers, both inside and outside usual health care settings.

His mentor is Jeffrey VanWormer, Ph.D., research scientist for the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health.

“I am interested in diabetes prevention because of how debilitating and scary Type 2 diabetes can be for patients and their families," said Dr. Goessl. “So many people are impacted by the costly disease that we need to continue to find ways to reduce the incidence rate through prevention."

He chose the Research Institute for his postdoctoral fellowship because he saw the opportunity to come home to central Wisconsin and help the patients the Health System serves. Dr. Goessl grew up in Perkinstown, a small town near Medford.

“Having been raised my whole life here, I feel a really deep connection to the area and many of its people," said Dr. Goessl.

He is also a former athletic trainer with Marshfield Clinic Health System. He worked at Wisconsin Rapids Center six years ago.