Academics & Research

SACNAS

Alumni

Jesus Arellano

Jesus Arellano

Current Position: Junior Specialist at Univerisity of California Irvine - Electrical & Biomedical Engineering

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Cindy Barba

Cindy Barba

President

O'Connell Lab, Department of Pathology

Email: cindy.barba@path.utah.edu

 

Cindy Barba is from Murrieta, California and she moved to Utah to pursue her Ph.D in Cancer immunology. Her favorite things about Utah are the work/life balance and the expectation that students have hobbies outside of the lab. Cindy hopes to become a professor and focus on teaching after she completes her degree. After work, Cindy enjoys hand lettering and painting. 

 

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Zannel Blanchard

Zannel Blanchard

Recruitment

Gertz Lab, Department of Oncological Sciences

Email: zannel.blanchard@hci.utah.edu

Zannel is originally from St. Lucia, an island in the Eastern Caribbean known for its pristine beaches, luxury resorts, and rich heritage. She currently studies estrogen receptor alpha ligand binding domain mutations in endometrial cancer in the Gertz lab. She endeavors to understand their molecular functions and possibly identify novel therapies for the treatment of these mutations. As a self-proclaimed foodie, Zannel enjoys traveling, hiking and music festivals.

Reuben Ryan Cano

Reuben Ryan Cano

Current Position: Research Associate, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Research Associate, Xavier Lab

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Daniela Chavez

Daniela Chavez

Former Position(s): President

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow at Smithsonian National Zoological Park

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Jennifer Cheng

Jennifer Cheng

Former Position(s): Community Service; Outreach

Current Position: Senior Laboratory Specialist, University of Utah

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Krystal Chung

Krystal Chung

Outreach

Brown Lab, Department of Pathology

Email:krystal.chung@path.utah.edu

 

While I am originally from San Diego, California, I attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale where I obtained a B.S. in Microbiology. In my undergraduate I discovered my passion for research and when it came time to apply for graduate school, the University of Utah was an easy decision. I joined the Molecular Biology Ph.D. program here at the U due to the focus placed on collaboration and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which allows me to explore the beautiful mountains we live next door to.

Beyond exploring the great outdoors, I am also discovering the fascinating microbial world around us in Jessica Brown’s lab where we studyCryptococcus neoformans. C. neoformans is a fungal pathogen found ubiquitously throughout nature that primarily causes diseases in immunocompromised individuals. Within the lab my focus is on exopolysaccharide regulation and how C. neoformansis able to disseminate to multiple organs throughout the body.

Troy "TK" Coody

Troy "TK" Coody

Vice-President

Hughes Lab, Department of Biochemistry

Email: troy.coody@utah.edu

 

I grew up in Colorado and then decided I loved the mountain west too much to leave so I decided to come to Utah. I have a passion for studying mitochondrial biology and metabolism. In my spare time I love hiking and going to the gym. SACNAS has become a second family and great way to help support and foster an inclusive community within the graduate community where everyone can thrive.

Zachary Cruz

Zachary Cruz

Former Position(s): President

Current Position: Graduate Student, University of Utah

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Kali Dale

Former Position(s): Secretary

Current Position: Graduate Student, University of Utah

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Maria Disotaur

Maria Disotaur

Former Position(s): Vice President

Current Position: NIAID Post-doctoral Fellow, NIH

Cassandra Garner

Cassandra Garner

Former Position(s): Secretary

Current Position: Research Scientist at Huntsman Cancer Institute

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Arevik Ghazaryan

Arevik Ghazaryan

Treasurer

O'Connell Lab, Department of Pathology

Email: arevik.ghazaryan@path.utah.edu

 

I am originally from Armenia. I was born and raised in Yerevan, and moved to the USA in 2012 to get my bachelors degree in Biology and further pursue my PhD degree. In 2008, I joined the O'Connell lab where I study the role of miRNAs in Myeloid malignancies, specifically Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia have a very high rate of mortality and they still need less toxic and more effective drugs, so I am working in understanding how miRNAs can change the disease pathology and try to find new ways of treating the patients. 

Emily Innis

Emily Innis

Historian

Planelles Lab, Department of Pathology

emily.innis@path.utah.edu

 

Emily Innis is a third year PhD candidate in the Planelles lab in the Department of Pathology. Emily is passionate about outreach, education, and community building. Holding an officer position in the U of U SACNAS chapter provides ample opportunities to fulfill those interests as well as increase support for diverse populations and connect with the community. Emily is excited to take part in many of the outreach programs and document the SACNAS chapter events while she serves as historian.

 Laura Jimenez

Laura Jimenez

Former Position(s): Vice-President

Current Position: AMGEN, Global Medical Communications, Immuno-Oncology

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Shubham Kale

Shubham Kale

Communications; Historian

Deans Lab, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

shubham.kale@neuro.utah.edu

 

Shubham is originally from India where he completed his undergrad in Genetic Engineering. He moved to Boston in 2017  where he was a Research Intern at Harvard Medical School and then came to Utah to get his Ph.D. in 2018. He joined the Deans Lab where he studies the innervation of Type II spiral ganglion neurons in the mice cochlea. When not in the lab, he enjoys both outdoor and indoor activities such as basketball, hiking, camping, chess, and he is a huge movie buff. Being gregarious in nature, he enjoys talking to people and sharing experiences and being involved in SACNAS provides him with the same.

Koun (Kasha) Lim

Koun (Kasha) Lim

Former Position(s): Outreach Coordinator; Secretary

Current Position: Post-doc, UNC Chapel Hill

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 Shelley MacNeil

Shelley MacNeil

Current Position: Computational Biologist at Sema4

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Raymond Malfavon-Borja

Raymond Malfavon-Borja

Former Position(s): National Liaison

Current Position: McNair Assistant Director, California State University San Marcos

Monique Morrison

Monique Morrison

Current Position: ARUP, Molecular Genetics R&D Scientist

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 Lace K. Padilla

Lace K. Padilla

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Cognitive and Information Sciences at the University of California, Merced

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Vanja Panic

Vanja Panic

Former Position(s): Recruitment

Current Position: Research Scientist at ELECTRONIC BIOSCIENCES, INC

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Ari Penalva

Ari Penalva

Secretary

Douglass Lab, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy

Email: ariadne.penalva@utah.edu

 

Ariadne ("Ari") Penalva is originally from Mexico, and moved to the US to pursue a high school degree in Phillips Exeter Academy in Boston and later an undergraduate degree in both Biochemistry and Psychology at Cornell College, Iowa. She is currently pursuing  her Ph.D in Neuroscience in Adam Douglass's lab, where she is exploring the relationship between neural circuits and behavior using a novel fish species. Outside the lab she enjoys hiking, musicals, terrible movies, D&D, and making new podcasts.

 Peter Ramirez

Peter Ramirez

Former Position(s): President

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University Long Beach

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Evan Ritzen

Evan Ritzen

Former Position(s): Treasurer

Current Position: Graduate Student, University of Utah

Judith Simcox

Judith Simcox

Former Position(s): Social Media Coordinator, Vice-President, and National Liaison

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin Madison

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Gloria Slattum

Gloria Slattum

Former Position(s): Treasurer

Current Position: Training Manager, Genomics Summer Research for Minorities (GSRM) internship

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Christopher Stringham

Christopher Stringham

Current Position: Postbac at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Natalia Torres

Natalia Torres

National Liaison

Tristani-Firouzi Lab, Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI)

Email: natalia.torres@utah.edu

 

Originally from Argentina, Natalia is currently a University of Utah postdoc working in understanding the bases for the development of cardiac arrhythmias that present a familiar component. Since her undergrad years, she has been always invested in activities that promote recruitment and improve the retention of underrepresented students in the STEM field. This makes her association with SACNAS a great fit.

Crystal Tulley-Cordova

Crystal Tulley-Cordova

Current Position: Principal Hydrologist at the Navajo Nation

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 Karina Vázquez-Arreguín

Karina Vázquez-Arreguín

Current Position: Post-doctoral Fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Kalluri Laboratory

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Claudio Villanueva

Claudio Villanueva

Former Position(s): Faculty Advisor

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology, University of California Los Angeles

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Ellie Zurbuchen

Ellie Zurbuchen

Current Position: Rehab Technician at the University of Utah

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