Board Members

 Gaelle Batot

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!

Erin Young

Communications Officer
Hunstman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Erin is a postdoctoral fellow at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and has been working under the mentorship of Dr. Joshua Schiffman since October 2016. Erin’s research interests revolve around heritable cancer predisposition. Her current projects focus on the identification of causative mutations in specific families with abnormal amounts of cancer, and cohorts of childhood cancers.

Sharanya Kalasekar

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

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.

Marta Szulik, PhD

Board member, Past Chair

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.

Suvendu Biswas

Web Design
College of Pharmacy, University of Utah

I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the College of Pharmacy. Being an avid learner a new technology and an UPDA member my role is to manage, design and maintain the UPDA website. I helped to redesign the old website to the current form and will continuously contribute to making a better user-friendly site. As a side note, having a background in chemical sciences with a strong interest in technology and management I use my skills to find solutions to a complex problem. As a researcher, I learned to face proactively challenges, and solved them and communicated complex ideas effectively in a range of formats to a variety of audiences. As a team player, I wish the UPDA site will become a great resource for any postdoc at the University of Utah.

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

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.

Aneesa Talal Al-Soodani

Board Member
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
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.

List of Past Board Members