President – Triparna Sen, PhD
Triparna is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Thoracic Head and Neck Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Master of Science in Genetics from the University of Calcutta, India. She was awarded PhD from Jadavpur University, India, for her work on role of matrix metalloproteinases and tumor microenvironment in cancer progression and metastasis. She is currently focused on the application of genomic and proteomic platforms for identifying effective preclinical therapeutic targets for lung cancer. Triparna’s current research identified promising therapeutic targets for small cell lung cancer and she will apply this knowledge to develop more effective personalized therapy for cancer patients. She serves in the Editorial Board of 2 international peer reviewed journals and is in the review board of 5 international peer reviewed journals. Triparna’s constant effort has been to devote her time and expertise equally between her research and societal causes. She is the founder member of two nonprofit organizations which provide health education, financial assistance, medical support and medical provisions for underprivileged children. She is passionate about raising community awareness of importance of women in STEM at all career levels and is very excited about her role as President of AWIS-GCH.
In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading books about history and world culture, cooking and volunteering.
Senior Chapter Trustee – Brittany C. Parker Kerrigan, PhD
Brittany is a Translational Cancer Nanotechnology postdoctoral fellow who holds joint appointments at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University. She earned her PhD in neuroscience from MD Anderson in 2014 and has ties to the pharmaceutical industry where she performed retinal disease research for Allergan, Inc. She has coauthored sixteen publications, has won distinguished awards for her research and dedication to outreach, and has been invited to give talks both nationally and internationally. Because of Brittany’s public passion for mentoring and promoting girls to pursue STEM careers, she has been invited to speak at several local elementary and middle schools in the Houston area. She also helped establish the “Strong” program in collaboration with the Women Faculty and Minority Inclusion Program at MD Anderson, where local elementary school girls and minority students are invited to spend the day learning about science and various development workshops to further their ability to succeed in STEM. She also helped established a minority summer program at MD Anderson, where minority students rotate in various labs during the summer and attend workshops geared towards their unique interests. Brittany is an avid advocate for women in STEM with nearly six years tenure with the Houston chapter of the Association for Women in Science, and has served on AWIS National’s Chapter’s Committee board for the past two years. From her history with AWIS from serving first as the Outstanding Women in Science Seminar Series Chair to serving two terms as President, she deeply understands the underpinnings of the organization and has increased ties of our local chapter with AWIS Nationals. Brittany is honored to continue to serve as Senior Chapter Trustee and as an Advisor for AWIS GCH, and will continue to work tirelessly to promote the acquisition and retention of women in STEM.
Vice President – Miriam-Rose Menezes, PhD
Miriam-Rose Menezes is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. She is specializing in drug discovery for poor prognosis breast and ovarian cancer. She was awarded her Ph.D. in Oncology and Cancer Biology from University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University before moving to Houston. Besides her academic training, Miriam-Rose is a concert pianist from the Trinity College of Music, London. She is passionate about mentoring and advocating for the interests of women and minorities in STEM fields.
She is a true Mumbaikar (born and raised in Mumbai, India). When not figuring out how to annihilate cancer, Miriam-Rose is busy travelling, learning Aikido, swing dancing, improving her photography & film-making skills and learning new languages.
She is very excited to serve as the Vice-President of AWIS-GCH for 2017-2018.
Treasurer – Yong Park, PhD
Yong is a postdoctoral associate at Baylor College of Medicine supported by the Clayton Foundation for Research. He recently received his PhD at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in visual sciences with an emphasis on neuroscience and pharmacology. Trying to understand the pathophysiology processes of glaucoma to counter the neurodegenerative effects of the disease, Yong studied the excitotoxic and neuroprotective cell signaling mechanisms that occur in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) following the stimulation of the AMPA receptor. As a postdoctoral associate, he continues his research in understanding the etiology of glaucoma, with an aim to identify specific genes that are regulated during the early developmental stages of glaucoma that could be utilized as markers for diagnosis.
Noticing a disparity among the minority groups in the field of STEM throughout his career, Yong has committed a great deal of time to representing and fighting for the aspirations and needs of his fellow colleagues. He has mentored and motivated young minds in pursuing a career in STEM, in which Yong has been involved in such groups as AWIS, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS), and the Summer Multicultural Advance Research Training (SMART) program. As treasurer for AWIS, Yong hopes to advocate collaboration and opportunities for all members, as well as increasing membership, participation, and awareness of successful women in science through high quality events and programs.
Yong spends his free time going to the dog park with his dog Hemingway.
Secretary – Ryan Black, MS, MBA
Ryan has a Masters in Molecular Biology from Utah State where he designed and built microarrays to detect animal pathogens, as well as an MBA from the University of Houston where he specialized in Finance. After his graduate work, Ryan started industiral career as a Research Scientist for Glycos Biotechnologies, a startup company in Houston, where he helped design and engineer bacteria to produce biochemicals that would be sold to existing world markets. While there, he had to opportunity to learn the business side of biotech startup and developed many of their processes. Ryan now works for the University of Houston, helping to build a business incubator for STEM-based startups primarily focused around commercializing the University’s Intellectual Property, but also helping to support Houston’s budding entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Chair, Membership – Sara Wright, PhD
Sara is a Postdoctoral Associate at Baylor College of Medicine, where she is currently focused on characterizing mutations which are important for ligand binding of a metabotropic glutamate receptor expressed in retinal bipolar cells. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a Microbiology sub-focus at the California State University, Pomona and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Riverside. Her graduate work focused on GPCR signaling in filamentous fungi, and for her postdoctoral studies she decided to extend her knowledge and study GPCR signaling in the visual signaling pathway in mammals. In her free time, Sara enjoys discovering fun new places in Houston with her 7 year old daughter, dancing, and listening to live music.
Chair, Career Development – Tamara Laskowski, PhD
Tamara Laskowski is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at MD Anderson. Her work focuses on genetic engineering of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of pediatric cancers. Tamara earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology Pre-Medicine from Baylor University. She went on to earn a PhD in both Human Molecular Genetics and Immunology from the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Tamara has always had a passion for teaching and helping others achieve their career goals. As a PhD candidate, Tamara served as an Outreach coordinator, a role through which she helped design and implement a scientific curriculum for Project GRAD at the MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School, with the goal of teaching and inspiring at-risk high school students from underprivileged schools in the Houston area to graduate and pursue a college education. Tamara is also an advocate for career development programs focused on graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. While in graduate school, she helped run the Trainee Research Seminar Series and Symposium at the University Of Texas Institute Of Molecular Medicine, through which trainees had the opportunity to network, share their science, and learn how to improve their communication skills. As a fellow at MD Anderson, Tamara is committed to her work and strives to contribute to the education and career development of her peers. She is a lecturer for the Cytogenetics Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions, serves as a peer-editor for the Trainee Editing Service, and serves as an Elevator Speech coach. It is her passion and enthusiasm for helping others that has brought Tamara to the position of Career Development Chair for AWIS GCH. She interacts closely with her committee and with leaders of various professional institutions in the Medical Center to provide career enhancement opportunities for STEM professionals.
In her free time, Tamara enjoys spending time with her family, taking trips to the playground with her little boy, reading British novels, and cooking new recipes.
Chair, Public Relations – Yi Liu, MS
Yi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Using C. elegans as a model system, she studies the mechanism of Reactive Oxygen Species production, specifically, the role of peroxidases, in innate immunity against pathogens. Before joining the UTHealth, Yi received her Master’s degree in Microbiology at Auburn University and her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Central China Agriculture University. In her free time, Yi enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures, playing volleyball, and gardening.
Chair, Social Media and Website – Kimberly Mankiewicz, PhD, ELS
Kim is currently Technical Writer III for the Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). She holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston and a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI). She also serves as Councilor, Membership and Communications for the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, Assistant Program Chair and Social Media Coordinator for the American Medical Writers Association Southwest Chapter, and Director for the Society for Technical Communication Houston Chapter. Kim is a certified Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS) and an expert in communicating science to various audiences through lay and technical venues.
Chair, Fundraising – Georgina Salazar, PhD
Gina has a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UC Irvine. She worked as a postdoc in tissue engineering at the National University of Singapore, then as an assistant professor at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, studying stem cell biology and radiation effects.
Returning to the US, Gina took freelance work editing and tutoring and teaching. In 2015 she joined UTHealth – Houston’s CPRIT Therapeutic Antibody Core as a Research Coordinator. In this role, her current primary responibilities include supporting researchers to develop scientific publications and grant proposals.
Gina pursues a long-term goal of transitioning to a career involving science policy. Her dream job would be working to facilitate international research collaborations, evaluating research findings, communicating research results and managing research programs and policy for a federal agency or international organization.
Chair, Outstanding Women in Science – Delphine Boulbes, PhD
Delphine is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Surgical Oncology at UT – MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her research focuses on the influence of the microenvironment on the cancer stem cell phenotype in metastatic colon cancer. She received her PhD in Biological Sciences in France, followed by two postdoctoral fellowships at UT-MDACC. In her free time, Delphine enjoys horseback riding, salsa dancing, and social activities, and also volunteers in the dog rescue group K9 Angels.
Chair, Community Outreach – Angelique Harding, DrPH, MPH, MAEd
Angelique is currently a CDC Informatics Fellow at the Houston Health Department. As an Informatician, she leverages technology to develop novel solutions to improve population health. Angelique has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Master of Arts in Education from Tennessee State University. She also received a Master of Public Health in Behavioral Sciences, Public Health Informatics Certificate, and Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Practice from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Her enthusiasm for health has afforded opportunities to co-author several papers, presentations, and invited talks. Angelique participates in several professional and community-based organizations that represent a variety of disciplines and sectors. She understands the issues that impact our communities. Angelique believes that sustainable change can be enacted by addressing those upstream factors, advocacy, and collaboration. She is excited to serve as the 2017-18 Outreach Chair to fulfill the mission of AWIS-GCH through partnering with community organizations and championing women/girls in STEM.
Outside of work Angelique enjoys a wide variety of activities including arts, music, sports, and everything in between.
Chair, Scholarship – Ifrah Chaudhary, MPH
Ifrah has a Master’s in Public Health with emphasis in Epidemiology from New York University, where she focused on examining the associations between changes in ovarian hormone levels that take place during different stages in a woman’s lifetime and periodontitis among US Hispanic women. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. As Scholarship Chairman, Ifrah’s priority is to cultivate an environment conductive to learning and scholastic achievement among chapter members. She believes that it is important to promote a platform that encourages sound learning among girls and women in STEM fields. Ifrah also serves on the Career Development Committee, where she assists with career growth opportunities to professionals in STEM.
Ifrah’s current research efforts include investigating emerging issues relevant to dental public health and the challenges these issues present to states and communities. She believes that dentistry and public health advocacy can positively impact our understanding of oral diseases and advanced patient care.
On Ifrah’s free time, she enjoys a variety of activities, including going to museums and sports events, outdoor activities, and volunteering.
Caitlin Edmunds Nurik, PhD
Lory Santiago-Vasquez, PhD
Patrice O. Yarbrough, PhD
Maria J. Tort, PhD