Daniel Schill
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. Since Feb 2019, he is co-president of the UMPDA.

Albert Liang
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.


Romila Mascarenhas
Romila is a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Ruma Banerjee at the department of Biological Chemistry, where she is researching the mechanism of human vitamin B12 trafficking to its cytoplasmic target, methionine synthase. She received her PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Loyola University Chicago, where her research focused on using X-ray crystallography to study enzyme mechanism and regulation. Romila also enjoys running, cooking and traveling in her free time.


Sirisha Sirobhushanam
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.

Public Relations:

Kathrin Ulrich
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.

Joseph Mastron
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.a

Networking Co-Chair:

Lisa Abernathy Close
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.

Varun Gadkari
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.

Postdoc Connections:

Kasia Glanowska
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.

Faraz-Uddin Mohammad
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.


Julia Gerson
is a post-doctoral fellow in Henry Paulson’s laboratory in the Neurology Department. She completed her undergraduate studies at Arizona State University and her PhD at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She studies the role of protein quality control factor, Ubiquilin-2, in regulating common aggregation-prone proteins in neurodegenerative disease. Outside the lab, Julia is passionate about increasing equity and access to science education for underrepresented groups.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Cynthia Gerlein-Safdi
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.

Postdoctoral Affairs:

Charlotte Vanacker
Charlotte is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology since 2016. She earned her PhD in Neurosciences from University of Lille in France. Her research interest is in the central control of reproductive function, particularly by non-neuronal cells, thanks to electrophysiological techniques.

Matthew Hall
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.

International Affairs:

Simone Brixius-Anderko
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.

Professional development:

David Goyer
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.

Honorary Board Members:

Jay Vornhagen
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.

William Close
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
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.