AWIS Officers

Committee Chairs

Academia 2 Industry (A2I) Nora Shafee & Shanna Newton
Career Advancement Courney Benson & Manisha Kanodia
Corporate Sponsorship Angela Macia
Events Kim Hanson & Vivian Dolina
Newsletter Jean Spence
Outreach Bridget Kohlnhofer & Michelle Muldong
Public Relations Robyn Wygal &Deepa Hammaker
Scholarship Shirley Ahn
Website Alex Clark
    
 

 

Nora Academia 2 Industry Co-Chair: Nora Shafee

Norazizah Shafee, Ph.D. is a scientist at UC San Diego and a Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University Putra Malaysia. Nora began her journey in the study of cells and their signal transduction pathways during her undergraduate work at the University of Arizona. She then continued her graduate studies to investigate the mechanism of cellular responses to viral infections at the University of Malaya. Intrigued by the way certain cells self-destruct upon sensing potential virus attack, she decided to investigate why these cellular responses were de-regulated in some cancer cells. She pursued this interest during her post-doctoral training at UC Irvine, where she helped develop a mouse model of breast cancer and provided initial evidence of cancer stem cells as a potential cause of chemoresistance. This training was funded by the American Association for Cancer Research and the Avon Foundation. Combining her background in anti-viral responses and cancer cell biology, Nora is currently focused on characterizing cellular responses towards oncolytic virus infections.

In-between her scientific explorations and community service adventures, Nora loves exploring the beauty of nature through hiking and traveling with her family. Nora joined AWIS and became a co-chair of the Academia-2-Industry committee in January 2019.

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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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 courtney Career Advancement Co-Chair: Courtney Benson

Courtney Benson, Ph.D. earned her B.S. and M.S. at SDSU in cell and molecular biology, and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University at Buffalo. Courtney is currently working at BlueNalu, Inc. as a scientist and is excited to help generate a sustainable food product that will be of value to humans and for our oceans. When Courtney joined AWIS San Diego in October of 2017, she immediately joined the Outreach Committee and then joined the AWIS San Diego Board as a Member at Large. She then served as the President of AWIS-SD from February 2018 through January 2020. Courtney is currently the Past President and co-chair of the new committee, Career Advancement (Early to Mid-Career). To email, click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 manisha Career Advancement Co-Chair: Manisha Kanodia 
Manisha leads the Student Affairs Information Services team at UCSD, where she started her career at the Rady School of Management. In her 11 years of being associated with UCSD, she has held various leadership roles while working with the Offices of Executive Vice Chancellor, Office for Student with Disabilities and Institutional Research. She has served as a member of technology conferences and women’s conference committees. She has presented at the UC wide technology conference talking about how teams can make a meaningful difference through collaborative change. She is also an active member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, Women in Advance Computing and helps in promoting women involvement, and addressing women's issues in Higher Education. In 2018, Manisha won the Internet2 Inclusivity Scholarship Award. Besides this, Manisha is also involved in working with non-profit organizations outside of UCSD. Manisha has a bachelor's degree in computer science, and has worked as a software engineer in different corporations prior to joining UCSD. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and practicing Yoga.

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angela Corporate Sponsorship Chair: Angela Macia

Angela Macia is a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCSD working in Dr. Alysson Muotri laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Granada, Spain in 2015. Angela has a strong background in transposable elements, and a broad range of experience in both human pluripotent and adult 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. 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's bio will be available soon.

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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Bridget Outreach Co-Chair: Bridget Kohlnhofer

Bridget Kohlnhofer, Ph.D. is a Neuroscience Postdoctoral Fellow at Janssen, a Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson. Bridget utilizes human genetics and induced pluripotent stem cells to uncover new biology related to neuropsychiatric disorders. Bridget holds a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, a PhD in Cell Biology from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and was a postdoc at UCSD in the department of Cell and Molecular Medicine.

Since joining AWIS in 2016, Bridget has been on the Outreach Committee. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, gardening, cooking, and going to Del Mar Dog Beach with her pup Eddie! Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to email her.

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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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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.”

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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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