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 – Open
Treasurer – Kristen Park, RN
Secretary – Charuta Kale
Charuta works as a Senior Research Assistant at M D Anderson Cancer Center where she works on enhancing the intraoperative imaging as well as T cell based immunotherapy to eliminate different types of tumors. She graduated from UTHealth in 2012 with a Master of Public Health following a MS in Virology from a premier research institute in India.
She also helps with coordinating clinical research studies with academic research; accurate, organized, and efficient management of research data; maintenance of lab equipment; and quality assurance of laboratory testing. She is passionate about clinical translational research and an advocate for raising awareness to promote women interest in STEM careers. She volunteered for a year through an organization supporting women with autism by tutoring them for GED certification and is currently involved in teaching summer students in research labs.
When she is not researching ways to end cancer, you’ll find her seeking adventures including hiking, yoga, volunteering for several local organizations, traveling around the globe every chance she gets, and reading by a lake.
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 – Open
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 – Efrosini Tsouko, PhD
Chair, Community Outreach – Srujana Lam, MS
Suji holds a Masters in Organic Chemistry from the University of Houston where she ran a mass spectroscopy core lab and did original proteomics research. Her aim as Outreach Chair is to increase the AWIS GCH’s footprint in the Houston area by building meaningful relationships with other professional and non-profit organizations to support young girls and women in the STEM field. In her free time, Suji enjoys trying out new recipes, reading, and spending time outdoors.
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