Board Members

 Gaelle Batot

SENIOR CHAIR
Department of Biochemistry, University of Utah

Originally from France, where I did my PhD, I spent two and half years in California for a first Postdoc. Since I was missing the mountains, I moved to Salt Lake City for a second postdoc in the laboratory of Pr. Chris Hill, in the Department of Biochemistry. I am combining biochemical and structural studies to investigate the interaction between RNA polymerase II and a chaperone protein. I was involved in UCI Postdoctoral association, for which I oversaw the communication, and I am excited to be a part of the UPDA to interact with more postdocs!

Sharanya Kalasekar

Junior Chair
Huntsman cancer institute, university of utah

Following undergraduate studies in India, graduate studies in Houston,TX and a short postdoc in Arizona, I moved to the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute to investigate the origins of liver cancer and identify therapies for the same. By being an active member of the UPDA, I intend to connect with other postdocs at the U and organize events that foster postdoc interactions and career development. My other interests include hiking, enjoying a good book, and exploring local culture.

Natalia Torres, PhD

diversity and inclusion officer, Past Chair
CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTE (CVRTI)

Originally from Argentina, I moved to Salt Lake City in 2006. Since then I have completed my doctorate and now I am doing my postdoctoral work in cardiac physiology. As a member of UPDA I am interested in helping other postdocs to get the most out of Salt Lake City and their time at the University of Utah.

Aneesa Talal Al-Soodani

Social events coordinator
Chemistry Department

I am a post-doc in the Chemistry department working under the supervision of Dr. Bethany Buck-Koehntop. My research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of zinc finger methyl-binding proteins in cancer. Before I moved to Utah last year, I was a graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman, WA where I obtained my Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences. I joined the UPDA board because I wanted to help organize events and meet new people.

Amelia Hodges

Board Member – communication team
Chemistry Department

After my PhD in Molecular Biosciences from Washington State University, I wanted to learn new techniques and ideas, so I joined the Buck-Koehntop lab in the department of Chemistry as a postdoc.  My goals in joining the UPDA board include learning more about resources available to postdocs, networking with other postdocs and professionals, and helping to organize events and opportunities for postdocs at the U.

Jesica Jacobs

Board Member – communication team
Department of Pathology, Division of Microbiology and Immunology

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Biology in Missouri and an MS and Ph.D. researching immune responses to gastrointestinal parasites in West Virginia, I joined the lab of Brian Evavold at Emory University in Atlanta. When Brian took a position in the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah, I came along with the lab to Salt Lake City. My research is focused on the role of CD8 T cells in the development of cerebral malaria. As a member of the UPDA Board, I am excited to help create a cooperative network of postdocs who can encourage one another both in and out of the lab.

Marta Szulik, PhD

Board member, Past Chair
CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTE (CVRTI)

I am from Poland. In 2008 I came to Nashville, TN for a one-year research internship in biochemistry. I loved it so much that after completing the training I joined the PhD program in Chemistry at Vanderbilt University. After graduating, I came to Salt Lake City. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow with Sarah Franklin at CVRTI, where I study epigenetic factors that regulate gene expression in the heart during disease progression. I am excited to be a member of the UPDA board, helping to build a supportive community and organize events to enrich academic skills among postdocs to prepare us for future success.

Daniel Mendoza, PhD

Board Member & Former Communications Officer
Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Bio: Daniel is a postdoctoral fellow in the ITCE – Inter-University Training fo Continental-scale Ecology (ITCE) program working with John Lin in the Atmospheric Sciences department. Daniel’s research interests include quantifying and characterizing urban greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions for use in human exposure estimation. Daniel also examines health effects of acute pollutant exposure, particularly in vulnerable populations.

Malini Rajan

Board Member
Molecular Medicine, University of Utah

I am from India, I completed my PhD in Germany and currently I am doing my Postdoctoral research  with Elizabeth Leibold in iron metabolism. As a UPDA member, I am interested in networking,  learning and sharing ideas on opportunities that will help the postdoctoral community to step up the career ladder.

Raziye Mohammadpour

Board Member
Cellular AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST, NANO INSTITUTE OF UTAH

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Nano Institute of Utah working on mechanism of nanoparticles toxicity and inflammation. I am from Iran, where I did my M.S. and Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tehran. I moved to Salt Lake City in 2015. It’s my pleasure to be a UPDA member and I hope to use the experience I gained to help postdoctoral community at the University of Utah.

 

Elizabeth Motunrayo Kolawole PhD

Board Member
Department of pathology

 Originally from the UK, I did my PhD at VCU Richmond Virginia. I began my postdoc at Emory University in Brian Evavold’s lab and moved with him to Salt Lake City last year. My main research projects focus of the role various diets play in infection and autoimmune disease, with a particular focus on T cell biology. As a postdoc at Emory I was part of the Atlanta Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program.  As a member of UPDA I hope to incorporate what I have learnt from BEST and connect with other postdocs. My interests include tennis, biking, bungee jumping, hiking, and snowboarding.

 

List of Past Board Members