UMPDA Board


Co-presidents:

Caitlyn Holmes
hcaitlyn@med.umich.edu
Caity is a postdoctoral fellow in Mike Bachman’s lab in the Department of Pathology. Originally from Florida, she received a B.S. in Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Central Florida before completing a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Outside of lab, she enjoys going for hikes and reading. Caity joined the UMPDA Board in June 2020 as co-president.

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.

Secretary:

Emily Maggioncalda
emilycma@umich.edu
Emily is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Evan Snitkin in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She received her B.S. in 2016 from University of Michigan, and then received her PhD in Pathobiology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research interests focus on mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis that can be targeted for novel treatment strategies.

Treasurer:

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.

Public Relations:

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.

Networking Co-Chair:

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.

Gustavo Caballero Flores
gcflores@med.umich.edu
Gustavo is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Gabriel Nunez’s lab at the Department of Pathology since 2016. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His research focuses on the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens gain access to and induce disease in the gut, and how the intestinal microbiota protects the host against infection. In addition to research and mentoring, Gustavo is passionate about professional/community service, sports, reading and outdoor activities. He also loves hanging out with his family and friends.

Postdoc Connections:

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.

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.

Outreach:

Lisa Mydy
lmydy@umich.edu
Lisa joined Roland Kersten’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in 2020. She uses molecular biology and biochemical techniques to study proteins in plants that create natural products. Lisa earned her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she joined the UMPDA in June 2021. Outside of research, Lisa enjoys reading, hiking, and video games.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

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.

Postdoctoral Affairs:

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.

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.

International Affairs:

Isha Verma
vermai@umich.edu
Isha is working as a postdoctoral fellow in Jack Parent’s lab in Neurology. Her research projects are focused on studying the role of various gene mutations in epilepsy using patient-derived neural cells and brain organoids, and investigating the efficacy of interneuron transplantation therapy for the treatment of epilepsy. She finished her Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, where she worked on generation, characterization, and enrichment of neural cells from mouse pluripotent stem cells.

Professional development:

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.

Ethics:

Nadia Saadat
saadatn@med.umich.edu
Nadia is a research fellow with the Department of Pediatrics. She received her MS and Ph.D. from Wayne State University. Her research focusses on integrating biological and social factors associated with adverse perinatal outcome among pregnant African American women. In her current project, she is applying an integrative multi-omics approach to study the effects of higher BMI, inflammation and depressive symptoms on African American mothers and their babies.

Honorary Board Members:

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.