President Varykina Thackray, PhD
Secretary Cynthia Kuan
Treasurer Katherine (Kat) Chang, PhD
Member at Large Angela Macia, PhD.
Member at Large Robyn Wygal
Member at Large Michelle Muldong
Member at Large Kamala Janiyani

President: Varykina (Kina) Thackray, PhD

kinaVarykina (Kina) Thackray, Ph.D. is a Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego. She received a B.A. in biology at Middlebury College and then worked as a lab technician at Cornell University and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals. She obtained her Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and completed her post-doctoral training in reproductive endocrinology at UC San Diego. Her lab focuses on understanding the role of the gut microbiome in polycystic ovary syndrome. Kina is passionate about advocating for the equal participation of women in STEM. She has been a member of AWIS San Diego since 2005. She served on the Scholarship (2006-2016; Co-Chair 2006-2008) and Outreach Committees (2016-2020; Co-Chair 2017-2019). She also served as a Board Member-at-Large (2019-2020) and a Speaker/Workshop Organizer for the Women in Science and Technology conference in 2019. As president of AWIS-SD, you can reach her This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..







Secretary: Cynthia Kuan


Cynthia Kuan oversees business and clinic operations for the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health. She is a founding member of the clinical center and has helped secure over $70 million funding from grants, contracts, and philanthropy for regenerative medicine research projects, ranging from basic science, translational medicine, to clinical research. She has over 13 years of experience in building/managing innovative programs and is seasoned in alliance management, strategic planning, program development, and financial oversight. Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, she helped build a Chinese immersion public charter school in Washington DC and a social service program in Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and listening to audio books/podcasts.

Email her by clicking This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Treasurer: Katherine (Kat) Chang, PhD

Kat Chang, PhD, is an Alliances and Partnerships Manager at Illumina. She earned her BS in Biosystems Engineering at University of Hawaii-Manoa, MS in Biological & Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, and PhD in Biology at University of California, San Diego/Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She is currently the treasurer for AWIS San Diego. Kat’s passion is to enable underserved communities and groups by increasing their access to STEAM educational/career opportunities. To play outside of work, Kat enjoys surfing, Polynesian dance, and traveling.

Click here to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Kat.




Member at Large: Angela Macia, PhD

Angela Macia is a Postdoctoral Researcher working at UC San Diego. She earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Granada, Spain in 2015. Angela has a strong background both in transposable elements and stem cells. Her research focuses on modeling neurological diseases, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, investigating how transposons contribute to the disease by using patient-derived neurons and 3D organoids. She is passionate about how AWIS-SD creates opportunities for women and girls in STEM and she has been part of the Corporate Sponsorship committee since 2017. Besides volunteering for AWIS-SD, Angela enjoys traveling, reading and cooking.








Member at Large: Robyn Wygal


robyn Robyn Wygal is a program manager and analyst with 10 + years of experience managing programs, projects, teams, and communications among multi-level, internal and external interfaces and collaborations within Healthcare IT, Nonprofit Scientific Associations, and most recently Cancer Research. She is currently a Program Administrator for Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s NCI designated Cancer Center. Her passions include the intersection of data science, research, genomics, and healthcare. Robyn’s early fascination began with “Junk DNA" and now includes the diverse layers of genetic and epigenetic influence on regulatory networks in the context of immunity, chronic disease, and cancer progression.

Robyn has held several leadership roles within AWIS San Diego since joining AWIS in 2011 and include acting as the Outreach Chair, the STEM Career Conference Chair, and the Women in Science & Engineering Conference Chair. Currently, she is a AWIS San Diego Board Member and the Public Relations Chair and works to highlight and expand our AWIS San Diego programming and community network. Robyn attributes STEM advocacy to providing many opportunities to develop and deliver skills in strategic planning, leadership, program design, financial management, partnership development, mentorship, and community engagement, and she finds that it continues to foster a network of valuable resources. In her free time, she enjoys reading science papers, playing with data, running with her husband Robert and Dog Pacer, and hiking and biking all over San Diego with friends and family.



Member at Large: Michelle Muldong

michelleMichelle Muldong is a Research Associate at the University of California San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center. She works in Dr. Christina Jamieson’s lab studying bone-metastatic prostate cancer performing in vivo and in vitro experiments utilizing patient derived samples.

Michelle obtained her B.S. from the University of California San Diego with a degree in General Biology. She has been involved in AWIS since September 2019 and is passionate about teaching the next generation about STEM.

Outside of lab Michelle enjoys hot yoga, hiking, snowboarding, iced coffee & hanging out with her French bulldog/Boston Terrier mix pup- Stitch!








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