UCSF IRACDA Past Scholars

Antiño Allen, PhD, worked under mentor Dr. John Fike at UCSF’s Brain and Spinal Injury Center (Department of Neurological Surgery). His PhD in Evolution, Ecology and Behavioral Biology is from Indiana University. He is currently Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Radiation Health, at University of Arkansas Medical School. (In IRACDA program July 2010 – July 2013)

Joaquin Anguera, PhD, was a postdoc under mentor Adam Gazzaley in the UCSF Department of Neurology. His SFSU teaching mentor was Ezequiel Morsella. His PhD in Kinesiology is from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. (In IRACDA program July 2010 – July 2012)

Santiago Archila, PhD, was a postdoc in the lab of Graeme Davis at UCSF.  His PhD in Neuroscience is from Emory University. He is currently a software engineer at Change.org. (In IRACDA program for less than one year, April – October 2013.)

Saikat Banerjee, PhD, was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Jeroen Roose’s Lab in the Department of Anatomy. He studied regulatory mechanisms for the RasGEF SOS1 impact Ras-kinases signaling and the function of peripheral T cells. He is currently a Scientist for Kite Pharmaceuticals. (In IRACDA program January 2018 - April 2019).

Raymond Blind, PhD, did his postdoc under mentor Dr. Holly Ingraham in UCSF’s department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. His SFSU teaching mentor was George Gassner. His PhD is from New York University. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. (In IRACDA program January 2008 - June 2011, last 6 months on ARRA support, )

Betty Booker, PhD was a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Nadav Ahituv in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Karen Crow-Sanchez. She received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is currently a Scientist in the Application Group at Advanced Cell Diagnostics in Hayward, CA. (In IRACDA program June 2010 - May 2011; May 2012 – December 2015.)

Yazmin Carrasco, PhD is an Assistant Director for the SF BUILD Program, an NIH-funded program to increase diversity in the biological sciences. As an IRACDA Scholar, she trained in Dr. Jack Taunton’s lab in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. Dr. Carrasco's research interests focused on understanding the molecular mechanism for co-translation translocation of secretory and membrane proteins using small molecule inhibitors. Secretory and transmembrane proteins are critical for cell-to-cell communication and have been associated to numerous human pathologies such as inflammation, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. (In IRACDA November 2013 - November 2017)

Egle Cekanaviciute, PhD is currently a Scientist at NASA Ames studying deep space radiation and other health hazards associated with human spaceflight. At UCSF, she was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Sergio Baranzini's lab in the department of Neurology. Dr. Cekanaviciute researched the connection between the microbiome and the development of autoimmune neurological disorders, specifically, multiple sclerosis. Dr. Cekanavicute hypothesizes that gut bacteria are involved in priming immune cells to become pro-inflammatory and autoreactive, and attack myelin in multiple sclerosis. (In IRACDA April 2014 - June 2017)

Miquella (Kelly) Chavez, PhD, worked under mentors Dr. Tejal Desai in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and Dr. Ophir Klein in the Department of Orofacial Sciences. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Sally Pasion. Her PhD in Biomedical Sciences is from the University of New Mexico. She Left UCSF to become Executive Director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), Duke University. She is now a Program Officer for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. (In IRACDA program August 2009 – July 2013.)

Daud Cole, PhD was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Dean Sheppard's lab in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Cole’s research project described molecular mechanisms underlying vascular permeability in endothelial cells, measuring forces between VE-cadherins of adjacent endothelial cells using a FRET-based tension sensor under varying physiological relevant conditions. Dr. Cole is now pursuing a MD from Ross University. (In IRACDA January 2014-January 2018)

Felipe de Jesus “Jesse” Cortez, PhD  is now a scientist with Enable Biosciences. At UCSF, Dr. Cortez was currently involved in two projects. The first is focused on developing subtype-selective inhibitors for a class of ion channels that plays a central role in synaptic plasticity, and involves a combination of organic chemistry, molecular biology, and ionic current recordings from cells expressing wild type and mutant ion channels. His second project focuses on cancer biology, wherein he is developing covalent ligands for nuclear receptors using an intrinsic cysteine residue to tether ligands to the hormone binding site. Dr. Cortez's PhD in chemistry is from the University of California, Berkeley. (In IRACDA program July 2012.-July 2016)

Tigwa Davis, PhD, worked under the mentorship of Dr. Erik Ullian, in UCSF’s Department of Ophthalmology. His SFSU teaching mentor was Leticia Marquez-Magana. His PhD in Pharmacology is from the University of Michigan. He is currently a Senior Scientist in Neurobiology at ATCC Cell Systems, a private, nonprofit biological resource center and research organization.  (In IRACDA program September 2008 - September 2011)

Xochina El Hilali, PhD was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Adam Renslo’s lab in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry department. Dr. El Hilali designs and synthesizes chemical probes targeting the TREK1 potassium ion channel. Dr. El Hilali now works as a consultant for IQVIA. (In IRACDA program October 2018 - July 2020)

 

Alegra Eroy-Reveles, PhD, did her postdoc under the mentorship of Dr. Charles Craik in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Ray Trautman. She is now Assistant Professor of Chemistry at San Francisco State University. Her academic interests include the incorporation of social justice and community engagement into science education. Her PhD is from UC Santa Cruz.  (In IRACDA program November 2009 - August 2011)

Luis Estévez-Salmerón, PhD, worked under the mentorship of Dr. Thea Tlsty in UCSF’s Department of Pathology. His SFSU teaching mentor was Laura Burrus. His PhD is in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a Foreign Affairs Officer/AAAS Policy Fellow in the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Marine Conservation.  (In IRACDA program February 2009 – August 2013.)

Lam-Kiu Fong, PhD continues as a prestigious UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Bill DeGrado's Lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She received her PhD in Physical Chemistry from Northwestern University. (Appointed to IRACDA October 2018 - June 2021, Ford Fellow September 2019-2020)

 

Gabriel Gonzales-Roybal, PhD, worked under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Lim, MD, PhD in the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF. His SFSU teaching mentor was Carmen Domingo. His PhD is in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is now Vice President, Business Development, for TapGenes. (In IRACDA program October 2010 – March 2014)

Galo Garcia, PhD is now a Specialist in Dr. Jeremy Reiter’s lab in the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Dr. Garcia researches a fundamental process in cell biology: how the cell remodels membranes to build and maintain a signaling hub. Primary cilia are cellular appendages present on the surface of nearly every human cell type, where they serve as cellular antennae that relay external stimuli into the cell. Dr. Garcia employs cutting-edge imaging techniques to dissect mechanisms by which molecular machines remodel the ciliary membrane and mediate cellular signaling. (Appointed to IRACDA November 2017-October 2018)

 

Anum Azam Glasgow, PhD continues as a Specialist in Dr. Tanja Kortemme’s lab in the department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF. Dr. Glasgow is working on computationally designing and experimentally testing protein-based small molecule biosensors. Building new proteins that move and interact with other molecules in a predictable way will improve understanding mechanisms for protein allostery and expand the repertoire of available tools for investigating and treating diseases. (In IRACDA August 2017 - February 2020, NIGMS K Award February 2020 - present)

 

Aaron Hardin, PhD is a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Nadav Ahituv's lab in the department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. Dr. Hardin answers questions regarding genetic variation and diversity in mammary glands in several model systems including mice, rats and humans. Additional areas of research include development of new in vitro assays for learning enhancer functions across vertebrates and machine learning techniques for high throughput genomic assays. Now, he is a Clinical Genomics Bioinformatican at Guardant Health. (Appointed to IRACDA January 2014 - December 2016)

Anthony Harrington, PhD is a freelance chemical microbiologist. He received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno. (Appointed to IRACDA August 2020 -  June 2021)

 

Audra J. Johnson, PhD worked in Dr. Jody Baron's lab in the Department of Medicine. The Baron Lab studies immunopathogenesis of acute and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a mouse model with human correlates. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on dissecting the immune responses that lead to viral persistence or clearance, particularly immune priming that leads to HBV persistence and immune-mediated chronic inflammation of the liver. (In IRACDA Program September 2013 - September 2017.)

Dorothy Jones-Davis, PhD, did her postdoc with mentor Dr. Elliott Sherr, in UCSF’s Department of Neurology. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Jennifer Breckler. Her PhD is in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. She completed an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation in June 2014, and became a scientific project manager in neuroscience for the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health. Most recently, Dr. Jones-Davis accepted a position as Executive Director of Nation of Makers (and even got to march next to Bill Nye at the Science March in Washington DC last year!).  (In IRACDA program November 2007 - September 2011, last 12 months on ARRA.)

Lani Keller, PhD worked under the mentorship of Dr. Graeme Davis at UCSF.  Her PhD is from University of California, San Francisco. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Diana Chu. She is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at Quinnipiac University.  (In IRACDA program August 2009 – December 2011.)

Jose Lopez, PhD was a postdoc in Dr. Valerie Weaver’s lab at UCSF. His SFSU teaching mentor was Diana Chu. His PhD is from the University of Arizona. He is currently a scientist at Bio-Rad’s Life Science Education Division, where he works on the development of tools and methods that will help teachers and professors expose their students to lab science in the classroom.  (In IRACDA program April 2008 - June 2011.)

Sonia Mayoral, PhD was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Jonah Chan’s lab at UCSF. The lab is focused on the study of oligodendrocytes, the myelin-producing cells of the central nervous system, which become damaged in diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The lab studies several aspects of oligodendrocyte biology, development, and function. Dr. Mayoral is specifically examining the regulation of cell death in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) using transgenic mouse models. Dr. Mayoral received her PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University, and is now an Assistant Professor at Brown University. (Started IRACDA program June 2012 - June 2016.)

Michelle McCully, PhD was a postdoc in Dr. William DeGrado's lab at UCSF. Dr. McCully was designing a vaccine against HIV that targets a specific region of its envelope protein (Env) that is known to elicit broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (bNt MAbs). The lab is taking a structure-based approach to the vaccine design. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University. (In IRACDA program October 2012 - June 2016.)

Teresa Monkkonen, PhD continues as a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Jay Debnath's lab in the Department of Pathology. Dr. Monkkonen is interested in the molecular signaling of stromal cells in development and disease. Dr. Monkkonen is studying the role of endothelial cell autophagy in angiogenesis and vascular integrity, as well as different stages of tumorigenesis using models of breast and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. This project will offer insight into the impact of autophagy inhibition on the stromal compartment, and improve our understanding of autophagy inhibition in the treatment of cancer.  (Appointed to IRACDA September 2017 - December 2018, American Cancer Society Fellowship January 2019 - 2021)

 

Christina Morales, PhD, was a postdoc in the lab of Joanne Engel at UCSF. Her PhD in Microbiology is from University of California, Berkeley. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Ravinder Sehgal (she left the program before teaching). She is currently a Research Scientist Supervisor for the California Department of Public Health. (In IRACDA program less than one year, October 2009 – May 2010.)

Maria Mouchess, PhD, did her postdoc in Dr. Mark Anderson's lab at UCSF's Diabetes Center. She left the program before teaching at SFSU. Her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology is from the University of California, Berkeley. She joined Genentech as a senior research associate in August 2014. (In IRACDA program May 2012 – July 2014.)

Jamila Newton, PhD, did her postdoc under the mentorship of Dr. Alison W. Xu at UCSF’s diabetes center and the department of anatomy. Her SFSU teaching mentor was Winifred Denetclaw. Her PhD is from Harvard University. She is currently a research scholar at Georgetown University. (In IRACDA program May 2008 - August 2011, last 4 months on ARRA.)

Gloria Ortiz, PhD continues as a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Danica Fujimori’s Lab in the Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology department. Dr. Ortiz is interested in identifying chemical tools to interrogate the epigenetic protein KDM5A that is often overexpressed and amplified in cancers. These chemical tools will serve as allosteric modulators that target the chromatin reader domain of oncogenic KDM5A by disrupting its ability to recognize and modify chromatin. (Appointed to SOM Dean's Differences Matter Funding July 2020 - June 2021)

 

Amber Paasch, PhD was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Katie Pollard's lab at the Gladstone Institute and the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The Pollard lab develops statistical and computational methods for the analysis of massive biomedical datasets, and research focuses on emerging technologies for genomics, mass spectrometry, and imaging. Dr. Paasch used comparative genomics to study functional trait evolution in bacteria. (Appointed to IRACDA October 2017 - October 2019)

 

Mayra B. Pastore, PhD worked under Dr. Holly Ingraham lab in the Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology. The Ingraham lab's research focuses on the role of liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1) and estrogen receptor (ER) in metabolic homeostasis. Dr. Pastore’s project focused on LRH-1 and ER nuclear receptors’ role in the etiology and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). She is now a Medical Science Liaison with Bristol-Meyers Squibb. (Appointed to IRACDA September 2016 - August 2019)

 

Alex Payumo, PhD is now an Assistant Professor at San Jose State University. While at UCSF, he was a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Guo Huang at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Dr. Payumo's research focuses on understanding the basis for mammalian heart regeneration using neonatal mice as a model system. Neonatal mice can regenerate their hearts after injury until the first week after being born. Dr. Payumo researches the physiological basis for the limitation of cardiac regeneration during that developmental window. (In IRACDA program February 2017 - February 2020, AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship February - August 2020)

 

Alberto Rascón, PhD worked under mentor Dr. Jim McKerrow lab at UCSF. His PhD is from the University of Arizona. His SFSU teaching mentor was Teaster Baird. He is currently Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at San Jose State University.  (In IRACDA program January 2011 – August 2013.)

Carlos Rodríguez, PhD remains a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Thea Tlsty's lab in the Department of Pathology. Dr. Rodríguez' joined UCSF after obtaining his PhD from the University of Wisconsin Madison. (Appointed to IRACDA October 2017 - April 2021)

Ruben Rodriguez, PhD is now a Postdoctoral Associate with Carmot Therapeutics, having completed his academic postdoctoral training with Holly Ingraham's Lab. Dr. Rodriguez received his PhD in Quantitative Systems Biology from UC Merced. (Appointed to IRACDA September 2018 - July 2021)

Erica Sanchez, PhD is now an Assistant Professor of Biology at San Fransisco State University. At UCSF, she was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Mark Von Zastrow's lab in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Sanchez's research will focus on the cellular biology of g-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) trafficking and signaling. Dr. Sanchez is exploring how GPCR signaling is different at the plasma membrane compared to signaling at the endosomal membrane. (In IRACDA September 2016 - January 2020, Ford Fellowship September 2018-2019)

Dr. Olivia Sims is now a Scientific Advisor with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. She was a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Melanie Ott’s lab at Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in the UCSF division of Gastroenterology. A focus of the lab is to identify the molecular mechanisms contributing to HIV-1 latency. Dr. Sims studies the epigenetic modifications that maintain latent HIV-1 reservoir in T cells and searches for new drug targets to reverse latency  with a focus on the immunology of memory T cells. (In IRACDA February 2014 - November 2017)

Jillian Silva, PhD, worked under the mentorship of Dr. Martin McMahon at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF. Her SFSU teaching mentors were Teaster Baird and Nancy Gerber. She received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Davis. She is currently an Assistant Reseacher in the lab of Frank McCormick at UCSF, supported by a K01 NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award.  (In IRACDA program April 2009 – July 2013, NCI K Award July 2015 - June 2019)

Joe Udeochu, PhD is a Scientist with Regeneron after completing a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Li Gan's lab at Weill Cornell and the Gladstone Institutes. He received his PhD from UCSF in Biomedical Science (Neuroscience-Immunology focus). (Appointed to IRACDA October 2017-May 2019)

 

Christopher Villalta, PhD, worked under mentor Dr. Anita Sil in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UCSF. His PhD in Microbiology is from UC Berkeley. In April 2015, he began a position in Bioinformatics and Assay Development at Invitae, a San Francisco based genetic screening company. He is currently a Bioinformatics Scientist with Natera. (In IRACDA program January 2012 - April 2015)

Bradley Voytek, PhD, worked under mentor Dr. Adam Gazzaley in UCSF’s department of Neurology. His PhD in Neuroscience is from UC Berkeley. He is currently Assistant Professor, Cognitive Science, at UC San Diego.  (In IRACDA program September 2011 - February 2014)

Zer Vue, PhD is continuing postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University after completing a postdoc in Dr. Jeffrey Bush's lab in the department of Cell & Tissue Biology. Dr. Vue received her PhD from Baylor College of Medicine. (Appointed to IRACDA October 2018 - June 2021)

 

Corin White, PhD is now a Research Curriculum Associate at California State University Monterey Bay. As an IRACDA postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Joseph DeRisi's lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Dr. C. White explored the genetic architecture of infected and non-infected individuals with lower respiratory and/or autoimmune disease, and identified host state specific human and microbiome signatures to identify disease biomarkers. (In IRACDA January 2016 - January 2018)

Marquitta White, PhD is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and K-Scholar in Dr. Esteban Burchard's lab at UCSF focusing on asthma research. The Burchard Lab identified several single variants significantly associated with pediatric bronchodilator response (BDR) in Latino and African American populations. Dr. White's research identifies and characterizes the genetic and environmental factors contributing to genetic architecture of BDR in Latino populations. (In IRACDA September 2014 - June 2017, NIHLBI K Award February 2018 - present)

~In Memoriam~

Dr. Cris Alvaro was a loved scholar, colleauge, and mentor to many in the scientific community and beyond. Among many talents, Cris was an artist, educator, performer, activist, and a role model for many in the LGBTQ community. Dr. Alvaro's loss is felt throughout the scientific community at large and here at UCSF. 

https://www.gofundme.com/crisalvaromemorialfund