AWIS Officers

Committee Chairs

Academia 2 Industry (A2I) Shanna Newton & Sameera Bilgrami
AWIS Leadership Network (ALN) Christina Niemeyer & Lori Yang
Career Advancement Jill Slaboda & Satarupa Bhaduri
Corporate Sponsorship Kayal Madhivanan and Cynthia Kuan
Events Kim Hanson & Vivian Dolina
Newsletter Jean Spence
Outreach Michelle Muldong & Jamillah Murtadha
Public Relations Robyn Wygal &Deepa Hammaker
Scholarship Shirley Ahn, Ph.D & Monica Gonzalez, PhD
Website Alex Clark
    
 

 

Shanna Academia 2 Industry Co-Chair: Shanna Newton

Shanna Newton Lavalle is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of California San Diego. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Mellon in July 2015 where she is currently using a combination of cell culture and genetic mouse models to study the roles of several homeodomain transcription factors within kisspeptin neurons. Her research was supported by the NIGMS-funded Genetics Training Grant from 2016 to 2018. She is currently funded by the NIH Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. In 2018, she completed the Rady’s School of Management MicroMBA program and was accepted into the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program. She was an active member of the Endocrine Society’s Trainee and Career Development Core Committee from 2018-2020 and served as Chair of the society’s Summer Research Fellowship program in 2019. She is a recipient of several awards including Endocrine Society’s Early Career Travel Award in 2018, Association for Women in Science UCSD Extension Award in 2019, and the Endocrine Society’s Outstanding Abstract Award in 2020.

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Nora Academia 2 Industry Co-Chair: Sameera Bilgrami

Sameera Bilgrami, PhD. is a scientist at Aethlon Medical, a medical device company that specializes in extracorporeal devices that filter out viruses and cancer promoting exosomes. Her career as a cell biologist started in India at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR Bangalore, where she studied protein-lipid interactions in live cell membranes. She was a postdoctoral fellow in Late Dr. Gary Bokoch’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute before moving to UCSD. Her research focused on organelle movement, angiogenesis, and cancer cell movement. Sameera has a strong background in cell biology and expertise in imaging techniques, image analysis and programming. She likes to cook, spend time with kids and volunteer at AWIS-SD.

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Christina AWIS Leadership Network (ALN) Co-Chair: Christina Niemeyer

Christina Niemeyer, Ph.D. is Principal and Owner of i2 Grants Associates, a California-based team with years of experience identifying and securing grants for emerging companies and nonprofit organizations in the life sciences. From 2009-2012 she was Laboratory Director at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. As Associate Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Salmedix, she played a critical role in developing the oncology drug Treanda. She completed postdoctoral research training at The Institute of Cancer Research, Surrey England and The Burnham Institute, La Jolla CA. Christina earned her Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Cell and Molecular Biology and her B.S. from Texas A&M University in Microbiology. She has been an active member of AWIS-SD for over 20 years; she has served on the WIST Committee for numerous years, as Treasurer (2014 and 2015), as a Board Member (2016 and 2017), as Mid-Career Coffee Club Coordinator and currently as Co-Chair of AWIS Leadership Network. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Lori AWIS Leadership Network (ALN) Co-Chair: Lori Yang

Lori Yang, PhD, is co-founder, CEO, and CSO of Lectenz Bio, a biotech company providing reagents and tools for glycoscience research.

She earned her BS in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and her PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University.

Lori has been a member of AWIS-SD since 2012. She served as co-chair of WIST 2017. She served on the AWIS-SD board as treasurer from 2016 to 2017. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 jill Career Advancement Co-Chair: Jill Sladoba

Jill Slaboda, PhD is a Principal Investigator on the Clinical Research team at the Gary and Mary West Health Institute. Jill works closely with health system collaborators across the country to identify and prioritize applied research studies that can demonstrate innovative ways in which healthcare can be delivered to better enable successful aging. She has academic research experience in rehabilitation engineering working on identifying differences in postural responses in patients with stroke as a postdoctoral training at Temple University and identifying differences in treatment outcomes of chronic lower back pain patients as a graduate student at University of Pittsburgh. Jill holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh. To email, click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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satarupa Career Advancement Co-Chair: Satarupa Bhaduri

Satarupa Bhaduri, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at UC San Diego in the department of Biological Sciences. Satarupa grew up in the city of Kolkata, India where she began her journey by studying the effects of encapsulation of hemoglobin in nanoparticles during her master's in the University of Kolkata. She then moved to the US in 2013 to pursue her graduate studies to investigate the structure-function of different chloroplast membrane proteins in facilitating photosynthesis, at Purdue University, Indiana. She wanted to pursue her interest in the working of membrane proteins, albeit in different systems during her post-doctoral training at UC San Diego, where she moved to in 2019. Presently, Satarupa is studying the structural dynamics of membrane bound proteases present in the endoplasmic reticulum of human cells, and their mechanistic action in facilitation of protein quality control pathways.

When not in the lab, Satarupa loves running, reading fiction, gardening and exploring beaches and trails in and around San Diego. She is the co-chair of the career advancement committee of the AWIS San Diego chapter, which she joined in 2020.

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kayal Corporate Sponsorship Chair: Kayal Madhivanan

Kayal Madhivanan is a Postdoctoral Researcher working at UC San Diego. She earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from Purdue University. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases utilizing neurons from mice and C. elegans. She became a member of the Corporate Sponsorship Committee in 2019, after an enriching experience at the WIST conference organized by AWIS. She is passionate about engaging and creating more opportunities for women in science. In addition to volunteering with AWIS, she loves to bake and travel. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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cynthia Corporate Sponsorship Chair: 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. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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kim Events Co-Chair: Kim Hanson

Kim is a Project Manager with experience in Business Process Improvement for the Agricultural Biotechnology industry. Most of her career she has been a Research Scientist and Laboratory Manager in the field of Plant Sciences serving on cross-functional teams to generate novel traits in crop plants. She has experience working in academic and industrial laboratories.

Kim is also a Co-Chair of the Events Committee for the AWIS San Diego chapter, and Chair of the AWIS-SD 2020 Virtual Speed Mentoring event.

To contact this events committee co-chair please click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to email.

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vivian Events Co-Chair: Vivian Dolina

Vivian Dolina is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. She works in Dr. Wiseman’s lab investigating how stress-signaling pathways can be therapeutically targeted to ameliorate toxic protein aggregation that is involved in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.

Vivian is from Brazil and got her Ph.D. degree in Biosystems in 2016. She joined AWIS in November 2019 and is current one of the events committee co-chair at the San Diego chapter. She is very excited about joining AWIS and promoting women in science through different activities.

Besides her work in the lab, Vivian enjoys going to the gym, hiking and spending her time at the beach. She also loves travelling and baking.

To contact this events committee co-chair please click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to email.

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Jean Spence Newsletter Co-Chair: Jean Spence

Jean Spence earned a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in microbial genetics. Subsequently, she did several (too many) postdoctoral fellowships at M.I.T., Harvard Medical School, UCSD and the University of Rochester. She pursued her interest in systems biology by developing a novel platform and publishing 3 manuscripts and a book chapter as communicating author. She has been a reviewer for the AWIS newsletter since 2014 and became a co-chair this year. She was also a co-chair of the former Back to Work group in AWIS.

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michelle Outreach Co-Chair: Michelle Muldong

Michelle 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! Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to email her.

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Jamillah Outreach Co-Chair: Jamillah Murtadha

My name is Jamillah Murtadha. I am a graduate researcher in the Christina Jamieson laboratory in the Urology Department at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego(UCSD). My hometown is in Augusta, West Virginia. I graduated from UCSD with a Bachelor of Science in General Biology. I am currently in the BS/MS program at UCSD to obtain my Master of Science in General Biology with a Specialization in Cancer Biology. I always strive to acquire knowledge outside my field in order to become a well-rounded scientist. Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to email her.

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robyn2018 Public Relations Chair: Robyn Wygal

Robyn Wygal, joined AWIS San Diego in 2011. She is the current Public Relations Chair and Outreach Community Engagement Chair and works to highlight and expand our AWIS San Diego network. She has also held positions such as the AWIS SD Outreach Co-Chair and STEM Career Conference Co-Director. In her professional career Robyn is a research data analyst with a BS in biology and a minor degree in business and 10 + years of experience managing projects and data communication with multi-level & multi-departmental interfaces and collaborations. She brings both a scientific & business mindset to the discovery and communication of data insight in attaining strategic outcomes. Her passions include the intersection of data science, research, genomics, and healthcare, and she enjoys the challenge of communicating insight through the lens of human perception, behavior, and connection. Fundamentally, she is a biologist, captivated by discovery and novel data play. Her scientific research interests (and challenges) include understanding and interpreting the diverse layers of genetic and epigenetic influence on regulatory networks in the context of immunity, chronic disease, and cancer progression through bioinformatics and data visualization. When not exploring the latest data tools and techniques, or reading publications by amazing STEM innovators, she can be found running, hiking, or biking all over San Diego.

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Shirley Scholarship Chair: Shirley Ahn

"Surl-Hee (Shirley) Ahn is a postdoctoral scholar advised under Prof. J. Andrew McCammon and Prof. Rommie Amaro in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD. She is a computational/theoretical chemist and focuses on developing methods for computer simulations and using them to study proteins and biomolecules. Prior to moving to UCSD, she was at Stanford working on her Ph.D. in Chemistry (Chemical Physics). In addition to research, she was a teaching assistant for eleven different classes at Stanford, ranging from undergraduate/graduate-level chemistry to parallel computing. She loves chemistry that enables her to study matter at the atomic level and math that enables her to know the language that describes phenomena. Outside of work, she enjoys training for marathons, visiting national parks, drawing, and trying out new restaurants in San Diego.” To contact the Scholarship committee chair, click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Monica Scholarship Chair: Monica Gonzalez, Ph.D

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego conducting research in Dr. JoAnn Trejo’s laboratory. I have been acquiring knowledge about GPCR signaling in endothelial inflammatory signaling. My career goal is to become a research professor and conduct innovative and high-quality research while mentoring the next generation of scientists in an academic environment. My professional development as a scientist and teacher started in graduate school, where I had the opportunity to mentor students from diverse backgrounds and ages while driving forward my research. I volunteered as a science educator for Ocean Discovery Institute, a non-profit that utilizes science to empower young people from underserved urban communities to transform their lives, their communities, and our world as scientists and conservation leaders. I redesigned and developed the science curriculum for Sanford Burnham Prebys Cancer Center Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) in partnership with the Preuss School of UCSD. This program is a six-week science enrichment and laboratory training camp for rising senior high school students, who come from low-income households, strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college and are interested in the biomedical field. I have also mentored and collaborated with undergraduate and graduate students and served as a teaching assistant for general biology laboratory to non-science major undergraduates. I am currently a fellow in the San Diego Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) and will continue my research and teaching training through pedagogy, development of critical academic skills, and mentored teaching experiences at San Diego State University and San Diego City College, local minority-serving institutions. My experience as a first generation Mexican American female scientist fuels my passion for science outreach, diversity, inclusivity, and equity. To contact the Scholarship committee chair, click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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alex2018 Website Co-chair: Alex Clark

Alex is a postdoc at UCSD in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine studying host-viral interactions during Zika Virus and Human Cytomegalovirus infections.

Alex obtained a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the UCSD Biology Department studying the interplay between Cytomegalovirus and the host cell cycle. Outside of the lab, Alex enjoys photography, running, and all things sci-fi.

Alex became a member of AWIS in 2014 and has been a co-chair since 2015 and also served on the WIST 2015 Committee. Click here to contact via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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