UC Berkeley
Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs Program

2017 Conference

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
9AM to 1PM

UC Berkeley, 106 Stanley Hall

Committee

Current Committee Members:

Rose Hill

Rose Hill

Rose is a second-year graduate student in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. She received a BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UC San Diego. Currently, she studies the role of sphingolipid signaling in itch sensation. When she's not figuring out what makes mice itchy, she enjoys hiking, foraging, and teaching elementary schoolers about biology. Rose is excited to be a part of LHAATDS this year and hopes everyone has an awesome time doing science!

Diana Fusco

Diana Fusco

Diana is a post-doctoral researcher at UC Berkeley in the Hallatschek lab, where she studies how microbes evolve to acquire resistance to antibiotics. When she is not in the lab killing billions of bacteria, you'll probably find her hiking in the East Bay, gardening, or simply enjoying a good novel.

Luis Ruiz Pestana

Luis Ruiz Pestana

Luis is a postdoc at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, working with Teresa Head-Gordon. He uses molecular simulation techniques to study a variety of problems ranging from radioactive ion exchange in clays, to how chemical reactions are affected by nanoconfinement, or how amyloids aggregate into fibrils. Luis enjoys hiking, playing soccer, the wine region, and teaching 2nd graders about sound! .

Marie-Cecilia Duvernoy

Marie-Cecilia Duvernoy

Marie-C├ęcilia is a postdoc at UC Berkeley in the Hallatscheck lab. She is interested in the mechanical forces developed within a microbial community. If it was a good excuse for her to blow up bacteria with a laser during her PhD, she now confines yeast cells inside microchambers and sees what happens to them. Recruited by Diana in the LHAADS adventure, she is having an awesome time organizing LHAADS as well as doing science, or sailing in the Bay, or enjoying the nice Californian weather, or taking pictures, hiking, reading... many things in fact! .

Sam Castaneda

Sam Castaneda

Sam Castañeda graduated with a B.A. in sociology from San Francisco State University, and has worked for the University of California (UC) — at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses — for more than 20 years. During this time, he created innovative programs that lent support to international students and scholars. Concurrently, Sam also held leadership positions with the California chapter of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. At the national level, Sam is currently chair of the newly recognized NAFSA Postdoc Special Interest Group and is the institutional liaison between NAFSA and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

At UC Berkeley, Sam was instrumental in the development of the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Program- the first postdoc office in the UC system and one of the first in the United States.

As director of Berkeley's VSPA Program, Sam is responsible for the oversight of postdocs at Berkeley, who are provided with a variety of professional support systems such as lecture series, networking events, and other tools which help to broaden career and professional development opportunities for Berkeley's 1,500 postdocs. With an extensive international student and scholar background, Sam has won recognition for a variety of customized courses serving the international research community.

Sam is founder and managing editor of UC Postdoc Newsletter, an electronic journal that connects more than 6,500 postdocs with 500 faculty and staff administrators who work together to enhance the postdoctoral experience at UC.

Previous Committee Members:

Jamie Schwendinger-Schreck

Jamie Schwendinger-Schreck

Jamie Schwendinger-Schreck is a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley in the Bautista Lab, where she studies the molecular mechanisms of chronic itch.

After spending her PhD analyzing zebrafish development at Yale, she is now enjoying life in California, where she is especially happy to no longer spend her afternoons elbow-deep in "fish water."

Asmit Bhowmick

Asmit Bhowmick

Asmit is a fifth year graduate student in Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley. He is originally from India where he did his undergraduate training in the same field at IIT Kharagpur. The main focus of his research is to improve inefficient designed enzymes using computer simulations.Besides research, he likes playing tennis, hiking and following current affairs.

Emma Farley

Emma Farley

Emma Farley is a post-doc in the Levine lab at UC Berkeley. She uses functional genomic assays to decipher how the instructions for turning genes on and off during development are encoded in the genome. She uses this information to understand how changes in the non-coding genome lead to evolutionary adaptation and disease states.

She works on one of our closest invertebrate relatives, Ciona intestinalis, AKA the sea squirt, so called because when you squeeze them they squirt water.

Heather Bruce

Heather Bruce

I was born and raised in the south Bay Area, near Starfleet headquarters, until I was 12 years old, when my parents moved to the backwater Class H desert planet of Cornville, Arizona. Although neither of my parents had attended Starfleet, I had always wanted to explore strange worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one had gone before, so decided to become a Starfleet cadet. I transferred to the tiny M-class planet of Yavapai College, and trained in the biological sciences under the tutelage of Captain Chris Breitmeyer and First Officer Jan Albright. For my birthday, they gave me the famous evodevo manual, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, by Sean Carroll. I was entranced by the idea that animals were constructed from networks of genetic circuits. In theory, the genetic architecture of development could be tweaked to create designer animals, such as tribbles. Of course, the experimental foundations had to be established before this could become reality. Therefore, upon earning my Associate of Science from Starfleet, I transferred to the M-class planet the University of Arizona, where I majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

My first mission was with Captain Lisa Nagy, of the USS Ilyanassa obsoleta. My mission was to determine whether the Hox gene post2, an orthologue of AbdB, played a role in the development and evolution of the mollusk shell, a morphological novelty. For my heroism at the University of Arizona, I was promoted to Lieutenant of Science, and transferred to my dream assignment on the major M-class planet, the University of California, Berkeley.

I am now Lieutenant of Hox Operations for two of the greatest Starfleet Officers of evodevo, Captain Nipam Patel of the mighty USS Parhyale hawaiensis, decorated for his glorious battle against countless developmentally important genes in non-model arthropods; and Captain Mike Eisen, a pioneer of the latest transcriptomics-class starship USS Drosophila melanogaster and fearless crusader of Open Access publishing. My current mission is to characterize the genetic basis of appendage diversity in the crustacean Parhyale hawiensis.

Liam Holt

Liam Holt

Liam Holt is a Bowes Fellow and runs a lab in the MCB Department at UC Berkeley. He has spent the last few years resurrecting proteins from billions of years ago to try to understand the evolution of cellular computation, and thinking about how cells might transition between liquid and solid states. He was born in the village where they filmed "The Princess Bride" and enjoys tea. In spite of his British origins, George W. Bush has assured him that he is now, "as American as the Founding Fathers."

Maurizio Pelligrino

Maurizio Pelligrino

Maurizio Pellegrino is a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley. He is interested in studying sensory systems to understand how organisms perceive the outside world and transform external inputs into internal representations of their environment. After analyzing the insect olfactory system during his Ph.D., he is now focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying the sensation of touch in mammals. In addition to basic research, he is interested in policy and the way science and society interact and influence each other. He is leading the Science, Technology, and Engineering Policy group at UC Berkeley, and serves on the Student Pugwash board.

Adrienne Greene

Adrienne Greene

Adrienne is a 5th year PhD graduate student in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on how spatial and mechanical organization of cell surface receptors regulates signal transduction and how these regulatory pathways are aberrant in breast cancer. She spends most of her free time enjoying the outdoors with road biking, skiing, hiking and running.

Frankie Myers

Frankie Myers

Frankie Myers is a research scientist and lecturer in the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley where he develops medical diagnostic devices for resource-pool settings and teaches courses on biomedical instrumentation and microfluidics. When he's not hunched over a soldering iron at work, he enjoys swing dancing, playing guitar, and working on electronic art projects.