Alumni

Joseph Mastron
mastron@umich.edu
Joseph is a Postdoctoral Researcher of Physical Chemistry in LSA Chemistry (Kubarych Group). After studying Chemistry at Cerritos College (A.A., 2011) and the University of Southern California (B.S., 2013), Joseph completed doctoral studies at the University of Chicago (Ph.D., 2019). Joseph uses ultrafast Infrared and Visible laser pulses (25-100 femtoseconds long) to study how molecular structures behave in time, and how chemical reactions occur, in a collaboration to optimize Gallium Nitride devices that catalyze the reaction of Carbon Dioxide to produce renewable fuels.

Prakash Chakraborty
cprakash@umich.edu
Prakash is a Byrne Research (Postdoctoral) Assistant Professor in the department of Mathematics. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute, and his PhD in Statistics from Purdue University. His research interests include applied probability, stochastic control, machine learning, queueing theory and mathematical finance. Prakash joined the UMPDA Board as a treasurer in June 2021.

Kathrin Ulrich
kathrinu@umich.edu
Kathrin is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She studied Molecular and Cellular Biology at Heidelberg University in Germany and earned a PhD from Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center in 2017. She is interested in thiol-based redox regulation and studies the functional switch of the protein targeting factor Get3. Since 2018, she is responsible for the UMPDA homepage.

Catherine Scull
cescull@umich.edu
Catie is a Michigan Life Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow in Nils Walter’s lab in the Department of Chemistry. After studying Cell, Molecular, and Microbial Biology at Auburn University (B.S., 2014), Catie completed her doctoral studies in Biochemistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Ph.D., 2020). Catie’s current research is focused on using single-molecule techniques to assess how riboswitches interact with prokaryotic RNA polymerase (RNAP) in real time. In her free time, Catie enjoys rock climbing, hiking, camping, and biking.

Varun Gadkari
vgadkari@umich.edu
Varun is a postdoctoral research associate in the Chemistry department. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in biochemistry from The Ohio State University, and joined the University of Michigan as a postdoc in 2017. His research aims to characterize protein misfolding diseases using unique bioanalytical approaches such as native mass spectrometry. He joined the UMPDA board as a Co-Networking Chair in 2019.

Manaswini Sarangi
msarangi@umich.edu
Manaswini is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, where she studies the parental effects of high dietary sugar consumption on offspring. Her research in Monica Dus’s Lab is at the interface of diet, epigenetics and behavior. She has a PhD in Evolutionary Genetics from JNCASR, India. Outside research, she finds herself occupied in outreach, science communication and visual arts.

Faraz-Uddin Mohammad
farazu@med.umich.edu
Faraz earned his BS in chemistry from the UP state in India and went on to earn a MS in biotechnology from Bangalore University. He worked as data scientist at Molecular Connection Ltd. for a year before pursuing his MPhil and Ph.D. in biotechnology at Aligarh University. Since 2015 he is a postdoc at U of M, working with James Baker Jr. at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. His research focuses on mucosal dendritic cell populations and mechanisms involved in food allergy disease. Faraz is also an active member of miLEAD. In his free time, he loves to cook, watch sci-fi and read.

Ariangela J. Kozik
Ari is a postdoc in the Department of Internal Medicine – Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. Her research focuses on the role of the respiratory and gut microbiome in asthma. Aside from her research, she is passionate about promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia. She is especially committed to advocating for graduate students and postdocs who are parents. As mom to a future engineer, she spends her time outside of lab picking up Legos.

Daniel Schill
danschil@med.umich.edu
Dan is a postdoc in the cell and developmental biology department in the lab of Sue O’Shea and studies bipolar disorder. Originally from Wisconsin, he received his BS in human biology and molecular/cellular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and completed his PhD in cellular and developmental biology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. In his free time Dan enjoys watching baseball, cooking, and hanging out with his wife Becky and dog Riley. Dan was co-president Feb 2019 – Dec 2020.

Lisa Abernathy Close
labernat@umich.edu
Lisa is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Microbiology & Immunology at the Medical School. She earned a B.S in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Immunology & Microbiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine. She studies host-microbe interactions in the gastrointestinal tract with a focus on inflammatory bowel disease.

Jay Vornhagen
jayvorn@med.umich.edu
Jay is from Michigan, but has also lived in many places across the country, including Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Indiana. He earned his B.S. in Ann Arbor, Jay went on the pursue a Ph.D. in Pathobiology at the University of Washington in the lab of Lakshmi Rajagopal. Following completion of his Ph.D., he ventured back to Michigan to become a post-doctoral fellow in the Bachman lab in 2017. When Jay is not in the lab, he can be found playing french horn as a member of the UM Band Alumni Association or working on a new recipe in the kitchen. Jay was co-president of the UMPDA from Jan 2018-Feb 2019.

Dishari Thornhill
dishari@umich.edu
Dishari is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She studies the molecular mechanisms regulating the trafficking of HIV-1 structural polyprotein Gag to the plasma membrane, a critical early step in HIV-1 particle assembly. Dishari is originally from Kolkata, India. She has an M.B.B.S. from Topiwala National Medical College, India, an M.S. in Forensic Science from Marshall University, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan. In her free time, Dishari enjoys writing short stories, gardening, and spending time with her husband, Kyle, and their cat, Tofu.

Arianna Miles-Jay
amilesj@med.umich.edu
Arianna is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in Evan Snitkin’s lab, where she applies whole genome sequencing to study the transmission and evolution of healthcare-associated pathogens. She received her PhD and MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Washington. Arianna is also an alumna of the University of Michigan—receiving her BS in Microbiology—and is a lifelong Michigan sports fan. She was elected to join the UMPDA board in June 2020

Nabih Haddad
nabih@umich.edu
Nabih is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Rackham Office of Institutional Research at University of Michigan. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) program at Michigan State University in 2019. His research interests include higher education policy, institutional philanthropy, and student success for underserved and underrepresented communities.

Sundaresh Ram
sundarer@umich.edu
Sundaresh is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering. Previously, he was a research fellow in the school of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Arizona in 2017. His research interests lie in the broad area of image science with applications to various imaging technologies.

Sirisha Sirobhushanam
sisirobh@med.umich.edu
Sirisha is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine in the Kahlenberg lab. She is interested in understanding the role of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus in skin inflammation in cutaneous lupus. When she is not in the lab she likes to prepare spicy Indian snacks to enjoy with a good book. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Illinois State University.

Albert Liang
akliang@umich.edu
Albert is a postdoctoral fellow in Radiation Oncology.  He majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University (B.S.) and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan (Ph.D.).  Currently, he is conducting research to develop next-generation flat-panel x-ray imagers with improved image quality. These imagers are used to diagnose diseases and used in radiation therapy for cancer treatment. He joined the UMPDA in 2018 and was elected to become co-president in Jun 2019.

William Close
wlclose@med.umich.edu
Originally from Wisconsin, Will is now a postdoc in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Before coming to Ann Arbor and joining the lab of Pat Schloss, he earned a B.S. in Microbiology with a Business Concentration from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and completed his Ph.D. studying virology at Wayne State University. His current research focuses on the interactions between viral and bacterial communities in the gastrointestinal tract and their impact on overall host health. Will has a strong interest in advocating for trainee success and participates in several organizations that aim to facilitate it.

Ashley Kalinski
acurren@med.umich.edu
Originally from Michigan Ashley received a B.A in both Biology and Japanese Studies from Adrian College. She followed that with a Ph.D. from Drexel University in 2015 under the direction of Jeffery Twiss. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Roman Giger in Cell and Developmental Biology and works on mechanisms of neural repair. She is passionate about facilitating opportunities for woman and girls in STEM and participates in as many science outreach activities as she can. Ashley was Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair at the UMPDA until Jun 2019.

Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi
cgerlein@umich.edu
Cynthia is a postdoctoral fellow from the Michigan Society of Fellows, hosted in the department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. The earned her B.Sc. in Earth Sciences at the University of Strasbourg in France and her Ph.D in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University. Cynthia is an ecohydrologist interested in understanding the link between the water and carbon cycles in plants using process-based models, field work, and satellite data.

Simone Brixius-Anderko
sbrixius@med.umich.edu
Simone is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry. She received her PhD in Biochemistry at the Saarland University in Germany and transitioned to Ann Arbor in 2017 together with her family. Her research is focused on the structure/function relationship of steroidogenic cytochrome P450 enzymes and how to exploit structural information for the treatment of patients suffering from overproduction of certain steroids. Simone loves mentoring and is passionate about outreach and diversity in science. She is spending her free time with her family, attending rock concerts, and going outdoors.

Kasia Glanowska
kasiag@med.umich.edu
Kasia is a neuroscientist with a strong background in neurophysiology and neuroendocrinology who currently works in the Department of Neurology. She is utilizing a variety of in vivo and in vitro models and electrophysiological methods to study neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases such as the epilepsy and the bipolar disorder. She received Masters Degree in Biotechnology from the Jagiellonian Univesity, Krakow, Poland and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia.

David Goyer
dgoyer@med.umich.edu
David is a neuroscientist who works as a postdoc in the Kresge Hearing Research Institute. Using electrophysiology and optogenetics, his research is focused on how the auditory midbrain works and how it helps the brain to pick up cues that are important for understanding speech and localizing sounds. He got his graduate degrees from RTWH Aachen University, Germany, working with Thomas Kuenzel on how a certain cell type in the cochlear nucleus of the auditory brain stem is modulated by acetylcholine.

Matthew Hall
hallms@umich.edu
Matthew is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering where he works in the area of next generation cellular immunotherapies. He previously earned his B.S. and Ph.D. in Biological Engineering at Cornell University. Matthew joined the UMPDA board as postdoctoral affairs co-chair in 2019.

 

Kuang He
kuanghe@umich.edu
Kuang is a postdoctoral fellow in the Hematology/Oncology Division, Department of Internal Medicine. Her research focuses on early detection of cancer and other diseases using liquid biopsies. Prior to Michigan, she completed an industrial postdoc at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering where she invented new methods for treating microbiologically-influenced pipeline corrosion. She holds a BS in Applied Chemistry from Beijing University and a PhD in Biochemistry from Indiana University.

Aqila Ahmed
aqahmed@med.umich.edu
Aqila is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Urology ( Keller Lab). She earned both her B.S. and Ph.D. from Wayne State University in the Department of Nutrition and Food science. She is currently utilizing single cell technologies to study immune infiltration in prostate cancer bone metastasis.

 

Patricia Schnepp
pschnepp@med.umich.edu
Patti is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Urology.  She earned her B.S. from Wayne State University and her Ph.D. from University of Notre Dame in 2017.  She is currently conducting bioinformatic analyses on single cell sequencing of prostate cancer to identify better treatment options for patients.

 

Francois Beaufay
fbeaufay@umich.edu
Francois is from Belgium where he got his PhD in molecular and cellular biology.  He moved with his family to Ann Arbor in 2015 to work on bacterial stress response in the lab of Ursula Jakob.  When not being busy in the lab, Francois loves spending time with his wife and two kids exploring the US.  He joined the UMPDA in 2015 and was co-president from 2017-2019.

 

Nicholas Borotto
nborotto@umich.edu
Nick received his B.S. from Northeastern, his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry. His research focuses on the development of novel mass spectrometry-based techniques to characterize protein post-translational modifications. Nick was UMPDA Networking Co-chair until Jun 2019.

 

Julie Boulanger
jboulang@med.umich.edu
Julie is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Anesthesiology. She earned her PhD in Neuroscience and Cognition at the Université de Lyon, in France. Her project investigates the consequences of maternal fever during labor for the offspring. She loves mentoring younger scientists and teaching the scientific method. On her free time, Julie enjoys hiking, rock climbing or any activity that gets her outdoors.

Eduardo Cervi
ecervi@umich.edu
Eduardo is an Environmental Engineer from Brazil. He joined the Burton Ecotoxicology Research Lab in the summer of 2015 as a PhD Research Scholar from the University of São Paulo and returned in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow in the School for Environment and Sustainability – SEAS. His research interests include establishing relationships between contaminant forms, bioavailability and observed biological/ecological effects, and the development and application of sediment quality guidelines. He was UMPDA International chair until Jun 2019.

Tyler Pinter
pintert@umich.edu
Tyler is a Canadian postdoctoral fellow in the department of chemistry working with Prof. Vincent Pecoraro on designing de novo metal-binding peptides. He received his BSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of Western Ontario (London, Canada) studying protein-metal binding interactions. He joined the UMPDA in Feb 2016 and was secretary form Dec 2017 until 2018.

 

Sardar Ansari
sardara@med.umich.edu
Sardar received the B.S. in software engineering from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Tehran, in 2008, the M.S. in computer science and statistics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010, and the Ph.D. in computer science in 2013. He was a research fellow in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at University of Michigan and a member of Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Clinical Care. His research interests include medical signal and image processing, machine learning, data mining, and development of medical devices.