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Executive Board

  • Viktoria Steck, Ph.D. - Chair and Recording Secretary

    Viktoria Steck, Ph.D. - Chair and Recording Secretary

    vsteck@ucsd.edu 
    Department: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    My research in 12 words or less: I study the role of metalloenzyme transformations within the marine microbial phosphorus cycle.
    Favorite thing about the PDA:

    Meeting new people, solving escape rooms with fellow postdocs, and creating science outreach and teaching engagement opportunities.
    Favorite quote: "You can only see from where you're standing." - One of my good friends

  • Eshani Hettiarachchi, Ph.D.  - Co-Vice Chair of Marketing and Communication

    Eshani Hettiarachchi, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Marketing and Communication

    Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry
    My research in 12 words or less: What’s the role of dust in reactions of atmospheric gases?
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Science outreach opportunities and working with likeminded postdocs
    Favorite quote: “Even if I am dying, until I actually die, I am still living” – Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Become Air
  • Tyler Bell, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Marketing and Communication

    Tyler Bell, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Marketing and Communication

    trbell@health.ucsd.edu
    Department: Psychiatry 
    My research in 12 words or less:  I study how chronic pain leads to cognitive decline and dementia. 
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Great way for UC to provide a platform for professional development and community engagement for post-doctoral scholars. 
    Favorite quote: "There will be no equity without solidarity."
  • Federica Klaus, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Exposure to Industry Program (EIP)

    Federica Klaus, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Exposure to Industry Program (EIP)

    fklaus@ucsd.edu 
    Department: Psychiatry
    My research in 12 words or less: I investigate biological mechanisms underlying serious mental illness.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: The opportunity to contribute to the postdoc community and learning new perspectives through working together.
    Favorite quote: "Life must not be a novel that is given to us, but one that is made by us." ― Novalis
  • Jorge A. Masso-Silva, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of External Relations and Finance

    Jorge A. Masso-Silva, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of External Relations and Finance

    Department: Medicine
    My research in 12 words or less: I study inflammation in the lungs and airways in different settings such as infection, asthma and vaping.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Networking, share of ideas and contribution to the postdoctoral community
    Favorite quote: "Last but not least, I wanna thank me, I wanna thank me for believing in me, I wanna thank me for doing all this hard work, I wanna thank me for having no days off, I wanna thank me for never quitting, I wanna thank me for always being a giver and trying to give more than I receive, I wanna thank me for trying to do more right than wrong, I wanna thank me for just being me at all times" - Snoop Dogg
  • Guomin Zhu, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of External Relations and Finance

    Guomin Zhu, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of External Relations and Finance

    Department: Nanoengineering department, Material science, and Engineering program 
    My research in 12 words or less: I study and engineer lithium metal batteries for the next-generation energy storage
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Meeting new people, working with people from different backgrounds
    Favorite quote: Could I have been anyone other than me? by Dave Matthews 
  • Michelle Bagood, Ph.D. Co-Vice Chair of Career Development

    Michelle Bagood, Ph.D. Co-Vice Chair of Career Development

    Email: mbagood@health.ucsd.eduDepartment: DermatologyMy research in 12 words or less: Investigating cutaneous wound healing response to commensal and pathogenic strains of Staphylococcus.Favorite thing about the PDA: Variety of events offered throughout the year.Favorite poem: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
  • Satarupa Bhaduri, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Career Development Programs

    Satarupa Bhaduri, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Career Development Programs

    sbhaduri@ucsd.edu
    Department: Biological Sciences
    My research in 12 words or less: I study the mechanisms of eradication of misfolded proteins from the body and their roles in various life-threatening diseases.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Networking and team building
    Favorite quote: "It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life" - Bilbo Baggins
  • Mahta Moinpour, Ph.D. - Vice-Chair of Community Engagement

    Mahta Moinpour, Ph.D. - Vice-Chair of Community Engagement

    Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry 

    My research in 12 words or less: Using bottom-up biology to develop synthetic organelles

    Favorite thing about the PDA: Meeting other postdocs and have an impact on my community

    Favorite quote: “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” by Omar Khayyam 

    moment is your life.” by Omar Khayyam 
  •  Laura Cimoli, Ph.D. - Vice-Chair of Community Engagement

    Laura Cimoli, Ph.D. - Vice-Chair of Community Engagement

    Department: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    My research in 12 words or less: How is the deep ocean circulation changing in a warming climate?
    Favorite things about the PDA: Meeting new people and contributing to creating a sense of community, which can be difficult to achieve during the challenges of postdoc life.
    Favorite quote: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."   Dr Seuss - The Lorax.
  • Tommaso Menara, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Exposure to Industry Program (EIP)

    Tommaso Menara, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Exposure to Industry Program (EIP)

    tmenara@ucsd.edu
    Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    My research in 12 words or less: Reverse engineering the brain to inform novel therapies or machine learning algorithms

    Favorite thing about the PDA: Incredible support and networking opportunities!
    Favorite quote: “All models are wrong, but some are useful” – George Box
  • Taniya Mitra, PhD., Co-Vice Chair of Exposure to Industry Program (EIP)

    Taniya Mitra, PhD., Co-Vice Chair of Exposure to Industry Program (EIP)

    Favorite quote: “You have to dream before your dreams can come true." – Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

  • Jianhua Gong Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Wellness & Sustainability

    Jianhua Gong Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Wellness & Sustainability

    Department: Scripps Institution of Oceanography                                                                               
    My research in 12 words or less: Using seismology methods to study the structure and earthquake hazard of tectonic plate boundaries.   
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Meeting new people, organizing interesting events, and learning more about wellness and sustainability.
    Favorite quote: As you begin this new stage of your lives, follow your passion. If you don't have a passion, don't be satisfied until you find one. Life is too short to go through it without caring deeply about something. By Steven Chu.
  • Neha Varshney, Ph.D. Co-Vice Chair of Wellness and Sustainability

    Neha Varshney, Ph.D. Co-Vice Chair of Wellness and Sustainability

    Email: nevarshney@ucsd.edu

    Department: Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine

    My research in 12 words or less: Understanding the function and regulation of protein phosphatase 1 during cell division in C. elegans embryo.

    Favorite thing about the PDA: Meeting new people and organizing interesting events

    Favorite quote:“Life is what happens to you while you’re  busy making other plans” – John Lennon

  • Juliana Maria Navia Pelaez, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Wellness & Sustainability

    Juliana Maria Navia Pelaez, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Wellness & Sustainability

    Department: Medicine
    My research in 12 words or less: I am trying to understand how lipid metabolism in microglia, immune cells of the nervous system, affects pain.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: it gives some sense of belonging
    Favorite quote: “ just keep swimming “ Dory from Finding Nemo
  • Samantha Yeager, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Samantha Yeager, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    spyeager@health.ucsd.edu

    Department: Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health

    My research in 12 words or less: My research focuses on improving medication adherence among people who inject drugs and those living with, or at risk for, HIV.

    Favorite Part of the PDA: The opportunity to serve as an advocate for the postdoctoral community and connect postdoctoral fellows with diverse faculty mentors.

    Favorite Quote: “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make our world.” – Siddhartha Gautama

  • Silvia Vicenzi, Co-Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Silvia Vicenzi, Co-Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Email: svicenzi@ucsd.edu

    Department: Medicine

     My research: I investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of unresolved human disorders

     Favorite thing about PDA: having the opportunity to take actions and make refreshing changes to improve UCSD

     Favorite Quote: Diversity is a FACT; Equity is a CHOICE; Inclusion is an ACTION; Belonging is an OUTCOME

  • Ivonne González-Gamboa, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Science Outreach & Teaching

    Ivonne González-Gamboa, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Science Outreach & Teaching

    Department: Nanoengineering
    My research in 12 words or less: Developing virus-based biomaterials for nano agricultural applications and precision farming.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Being able to help improve the postdoc experience at UCSD and meet great people in the process. 
    Favorite quote: 
    “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
    ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  • Jennifer Chik, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Science Outreach & Teaching

    Jennifer Chik, Ph.D. - Co-Vice Chair of Science Outreach & Teaching

    Department: Biological Sciences
    My research in 12 words or less: Characterizing proteins that function in two critical pathways - metabolism and chromatin regulation.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Working with like-minded postdocs and creating opportunities to connect with the greater San Diego area.
    Favorite quote: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein
  • Heather Dillon, Career and Professional Development Program Manager

    Heather Dillon, Career and Professional Development Program Manager

    hadillon@ucsd.edu
    Department: Office of Postdoctoral and Research Scholar Affairs
    My research in 12 words or less: Develop, coordinate, and present professional development workshops, programs, and seminars for postdoctoral trainees.
    Favorite thing about the PDA: Working with our talented and dedicated team to enhance the postdoctoral community at UC San Diego by provide opportunities for networking, socializing, and career development.

    Favorite quote: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

  • Your Name Here!

    We are always looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a part of the 2021-2022 Executive Board, it all starts by attending our monthly Postdoc Association Lunch. Find more about becoming a volunteer.