The Beyond Academia team is comprised entirely of graduate students and post-docs at UC Berkeley. They volunteer their efforts and time outside of doing research, writing articles, teaching classes, and mentoring students.
Co-director, Development Lead, Logistics
Diya Das is a sixth year PhD student in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology and a Data Science Fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. Her PhD research focuses on regeneration in the olfactory epithelium, the tissue responsible for our sense of smell, which she studies using single-cell RNA sequencing and other genomics techniques. Outside of lab, she's very active in improving the academic and social environment on campus and in the community: most recently, she organized the 2017 CDIPS Data Science Workshop and has taught for The Hacker Within, a scientific computing working group Linkedin Profile, Website
Co-director, Careers Reception Lead, Finance Lead, Media, Logistics
Judy Jinn is a 5th year PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. Her research explores how decisions during spatial navigation are subject to change based on information gained over time. Two types of dynamic information are of interest: 1) motor skills related to moving to a goal and 2) sensory information from olfactory cues. These questions are addressed by studying wild fox squirrel movements, humans in virtual environments, and theoretical modeling. Beyond the lab, Judy navigates her way around the dance floor with the Cal Ballroom team. Linkedin Profile
Stephanie is a 4th year PhD Candidate in the Vision Science Program. Her research focuses on determining how the healthy cornea, unlike all other exposed tissues, prevents a bacterial microbiome. She is particularly interested in uncovering how the innate immune receptor, IL-1R, constitutively inhibits bacterial colonization on the eye. Outside of the lab Stephanie volunteers in elementary classrooms through Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) and enjoys cooking, hiking and traveling.
Speakers Lead, Finance
Monica is a 5th year PhD student in the department of Plant and Microbial Biology where she studies the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae B728a which causes brown spot disease in bean leaves. Outside of the lab, Monica has served on a committee to organize UC Berkeley’s first Plant Genome Engineering Symposium featuring scientists talking about their research involving the CRISPR-Cas9 system which is a gene editing system that was declared the “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2015 by the journal Science. Monica is also interested in increasing involvement of historically underrepresented ethnic groups in the sciences and has spoken twice at UC Berkeley’s Graduate Student Diversity Day. In her free time, Monica enjoys crocheting, hiking, playing the flute, and exploring Berkeley and San Francisco.
Kirsten is a first year Ph.D. student in sociology and demography. She studies how groups of people change over time and what implications that has on the spaces, services, and systems of which they are part. At Cal, she is a delegate for the Graduate Assembly as well as the coordinator for the Graduate Student Inclusivity Training Program. She moved to CA from WA where she working in the nonprofit sector providing education opportunities for Mexican immigrants. She is a dancer, improviser, writer, and baker, and loves spending her time outside in search of great views as much as possible.
Samantha is a Post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley studying the molecular pathways underlying pain and itch sensation. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley in 2016 studying the neuroscience of feeding behavior. During her graduate studies, she characterized neurons that promote feeding behavior using molecular genetic tools and calcium imaging. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys drawing, painting and swimming.
José is a research specialist at the HHMI - UC Berkeley laboratory of Prof. Kris Niyogi in the department of Plant and Microbial Biology. He investigates the dynamic processes of photosynthetic membrane biogenesis, regulation and repair in the green microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. He obtained his PhD from the Umeå University biochemistry department in Sweden, studying the protein composition of the oxygen evolving protein complex of photosynthesis. He received postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley studying strain optimization and biofuel production in prokaryotic and eukaryotic photosynthetic microalgae. He is actively involved in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and when outside the lab, enjoys climbing, biking, soccer and gardening.
Natalie is a 4th year PhD Candidate in the Vision Science Program. Her research focuses on education and accessibility issues related to visual impairment and blindness. It also investigates how blind, visually-impaired, and sighted individuals process haptic (touch) information. Outside of the lab, Natalie enjoys hiking, traveling, baking, and kickboxing.