President – 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.
Senior Chapter Trustee – 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.
Vice President – Jeniffer Masi, PhD
Jeni a Geophysicist at Osprey Petroleum Company. Her role includes identifying and maturing prospects within the U.S. Gulf Coast, more specifically South Texas and Louisiana, providing geological and geophysical support during drilling operations, and reviewing and evaluating already producing opportunities within the US.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Geophysical Engineering from the Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela in June 2007 and her PhD in Earth Science with focus in Global seismology from Rice University in December 2013. After she finished her Ph.D. studies, she joined BP America Inc. as a Geophysicist for the Trinidad and Tobago Exploration Team, where she identified and evaluated lease opportunities within the Columbus Basin. This role included data processing, recommendations to improve data quality, volume calculations and risk assessments. After a year, she joined the Gulf of Mexico Reservoir Development team, more specifically the Mad Dog Team, supporting current operations, and aiding the design of new wells that could potentially minimize risk while drilling. She also did an internship within the Gulf of Mexico Exploration New Wells Delivery Team, identifying shallow geohazards for 4 prospects in the Gulf of Mexico. On a personal level, she enjoys dancing, long distance running, cooking and spending time with friends and family.
Treasurer – Kristen Park, BSN, RN
Kristen is a Registered Nurse who would like to bring the clinical aspect of science to AWIS. She would like to see more professional women, including other nurses, take part in enriching and encouraging young women’s careers in the field of science. Kristen has always been an advocate for women succeeding in the field of science and has provided tutoring and mentoring to help better other women.
Secretary – Salomeh Tabatabaei, PhD
Salomeh Tabatabaei received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Rice University. In her doctoral dissertation, she synthesized alloy nanoparticles as a lead-free solder to address reliability challenges of high-temperature electronics. She served education system since I was in second year in my bachelor’s degree. After my PhD, I served universities and colleges in USA and in Iran. In 2016, she got an offer as a research fellow in MD Anderson Cancer Center in Dr. David Piwnica-Worms group. During her stay at MD Anderson Cancer Center, she designed injectable nanoparticles as a radiosensitizer to enhance proton therapy. She is currently interested in preventative medicine and enrolled for pre-med-school to practice medicine. Her expertise is in nanomaterials and nanomedicine and has an interest in medical imaging, drug delivery, liquid biopsies, and medical devices. She enjoys yoga, hiking, nature, reading books and watching movies and documentaries how to achieve equal pay, justice, and peace in our nation and deploy it in the world.
Chair, Membership – Margo Cain
Margo is a Ph.D. candidate at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she is currently focused on defining the critical interactions between the various lung cell types during both development and disease. She earned a B.S. in Cell Biology/Biochemistry at the Bucknell University. Outside of the lab, Margo enjoys attending performances at the Houston Grand Opera, learning to figure skate, and meeting new people.
Chair, Career Development – Figen Beceren-Braun, PhD
Figen Beceren-Braun has a PhD in Biology from the Humboldt University, Germany, and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Immunology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her research was focused on imaging T cell and Treg dynamics in a mouse lung metastasis model investigating the efficacies of cancer immunotherapy approaches targeting checkpoint blockades. She gained in-depth skills in intravital scanning microscopy and computational cell tracking. Figen continued her research to understand the role of Interleukin-15 in tumor microenvironment. During her postdoctoral training she was Subcommittee Chair of Communications at the Postdoctoral Association (PDA) of UT MD Anderson and was involved in many different PDA events and activities. It was always a great pleasure for her to make her postdoctoral fellows aware of all the opportunities and events offered by the PDA. Figen believes that the social events and the social media platforms help students and postdoctoral fellows to find and build networks and beyond that, to make new friends. Figen pursues a career in science management to further support young academics in their career opportunities and help to navigate through the jungle that research projects sometimes are. In addition, she recognizes that different groups in the scientific community, e.g. women, internationals, first generations and minorities need individual solutions for their career paths.
Chair, Liaison to Industry – Agathe Bourgogne, PhD
Chair, Public Relations – 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 – Antje Lindemann, PhD
Antje Lindemann is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Head and Neck Surgery Department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She earned her Diploma degree (equivalent to M.Sc.) in Biology at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Germany. After graduating, she worked at the University of Michigan, USA and then accepted a position at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Germany to study head and neck cancer. In 2014, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Luebeck, Germany. In her thesis work, she altered the Wnt /beta-catenin signaling pathway and examined its role in head and neck cancer. In collaboration with the Institute of Medical Engineering, she was involved in advancing the Magnetic Particle Imaging which is a prospective diagnostic and intraoperative imaging technique. After completing her PhD, she got awarded with a 2-year Research Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to work at the Head and Neck Surgery Department at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She proposed to advance the outcome of cancer patient by testing new drugs and new combinations of chemo(radio)therapy, respectively. Furthermore, she planned to individualize the treatment based on the mutation status and gene expression profiles. She continued working on this project as a postdoctoral fellow and pursues a career in translational research to apply her research findings in the lab in preclinical studies. Her emphasis in particular is to improve cancer patient’s survival by building the basis to develop trials and studies in humans. Cancer prevention through education is another interests she is focusing on. Her goal is to help understanding the disease to lower the risk of developing cancer. Antje joined AWIS in 2018 and the biggest value of her membership and participation is the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues in STEM, both personally and professionally. In her spare time, she loves to walk her lovely dog Jobey at the Houston bayou, enjoys hiking, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Chair, Outstanding Women in Science – Efrosini Tsouko, PhD
Efrosini (Efi) is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. Her research focuses on the identification of the molecular mechanisms of skeletal manifestations of Neurofibromatosis type I. She received a BS in Molecular Biology & Genetics from Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, followed by a PhD in Cell & Molecular Biology at University of Houston in USA. Outside lablife, she enjoys cooking, hiking, climbing and practicing her violin, as well as socializing with her peers.
Chair, Community Outreach – open
Chair, Science Communication – Jessica Hoch Brown, PhD
Jessica is a research professional dedicated to the advancement of health and science. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Davis, and held postdoctoral research positions in the Department of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. After 12 years of performing bench research, she is excited to begin a new position as a technical writer at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jessica has been a member of AWIS since 2011. She joined the AWIS Chicago Chapter in 2015 and served on the board from 2016-2018 as the Vice President of Outreach. Her responsibilities as part of the board included coordinating youth activities and outreach events within the greater Chicago community. Upon moving to Houston in the spring of 2018 she immediately joined the AWIS Gulf Coast Houston Chapter and has served on the outreach committee since July 2018. She participated in the volunteering event at the McGovern Centennial Gardens, and served as the team lead for the 2018 Energy Day Festival.
Chair, Scholarship – 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.
Brittany C. Parker Kerrigan, PhD
Caitlin Edmunds Nurik, PhD
Lory Santiago-Vasquez, PhD
Patrice O. Yarbrough, PhD
Maria J. Tort, PhD
Hima Vangapandu, PhD