Our Team large format

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.

EricaErica Lee

Erica Lee is at work on a dissertation that examines infrastructure and social services in early twentieth-century Californian and Mexican cities. She is a PhD Candidate in the UC Berkeley Department of History. While at Berkeley she co-founded the Urban History Working Group, worked at the Social Science Matrix, and conducted research on urban infrastructure, public welfare, and immigration in cities including San Francisco, Manila, Chicago, San Diego, and Tijuana. Before beginning her doctoral program she studied Rhetoric at UC Berkeley and Architecture at The Cooper Union.


RoseRose Kantor

Rose is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Plant and Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley, where she uses DNA sequencing to study a group of microbes that degrade water contaminants from gold mining. This work is a collaboration with researchers at the University of Cape Town, for which Rose was awarded an NSF-GROW/USAID fellowship. More broadly, Rose is interested in biotechnology and community partnerships for environmental safety and sustainability in the US and the developing world. When not in the lab, she serves as peer advisor in her department and enjoys hiking and dancing.

Jessica WeiJess

Jessica is a third year Ph.D. candidate in Vision Science exploring the immunomodulatory role of bioactive lipid mediators on adaptive immunity. Prior to returning to graduate school, Jessica researched gene therapy for muscular dystrophy at the University of Washington and cancer immunotherapy at a biotech company. To diversify her activities at UC Berkeley, Jessica was on the organizing committee for the student leadership award-winning Bay Area Vision Research Day conference and participated in the SMART mentorship program. When not busy pipetting, Jessica can be spotted trying new restaurants, hiking, and at music shows.

Monatrice Lam  

Monatrice is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Chemistry department studying cellular signal transduction using biophysical principles. Her research focuses on the membrane protein Ras which is highly mutated in various cancers. She is interested in the statistical patterns of Ras activation, and how this translates to normal versus aberrant cellular behavior. Monatrice enjoys traveling around the world, creating new recipes and exercising. She is interested in consulting opportunities and recently served as a volunteer consultant on a point of care diagnostics project. https://https://https://www.linkedin.com/in/monatrice

Maria Mueller

Maria is a 1st year postdoc in the department of Integrative Bioimaging (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley). She has been studying all kinds of biological structures ranging from single membrane proteins to mitochondrial networks for the last 6 years using biophysical imaging techniques. She has always been intrigued by the interplay between structure and function of biological systems. Before moving to Berkeley, she did her PhD in the department of Structural Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt, Germany. Maria very much enjoys being creative – whether by creating bespoke stationery products in her design studio or by helping to find new strategies for medical device companies when working on voluntary consulting projects. In future, she would like to learn more about how business and science can work together to bring innovation to our everyday life.

Holly Williams

Holly is a 4th year doctoral student in Chemistry where she studies ultrafast processes in water that lead to DNA damage. Outside of the lab, Holly also serves as the Art Director of the Berkeley Science Review, a graduate student run publication. Her professional interests include science communication and policy.

Daniel Gergely Szabo

Daniel is 2nd year postdoc at the Energy Bioscience Institute visiting from the Department of Law, Aarhus University, Denmark. He is specialized in business law and sustainability issues. Daniel is a co-founder of the CSR Legal Research Network and an active participant and organiser at the UC Berkeley PhD Consulting Club. His postdoctoral research project is investigating the business and trade law aspects of the renewable energy policies of California and of the EU.


BrandonBrandon Curtis

I am developing technologies to control atmospheric plasma devices for wound healing and cancer treatment.


KatKatharina Foote

Katharina is a second year graduate student in Vision Science at UC Berkeley where she focuses on using imaging techniques to visualize photoreceptors in vivo. In addition to research, she is passionate about public speaking and is a mentor as well as Logistics Manager for Toastmasters International. She also serves as a Resident Assistant where she does international community building and program planning and implementation.

Advisory Board

ElsEls Van der Helm

Els received her PhD in Psychology at UC Berkeley with a research focus on sleep, emotion, and memory. As a Fulbright scholar from the Netherlands, she has authored articles in Current Biology, PNAS, PLos One, and Psychological Bulletin. Els was the founder and lead organizer of the Beyond Academia 2013 conference and now serves a member of the Beyond Academia advisory board. She currently works as a consultant in the Amsterdam office of the strategy and management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Els hopes Beyond Academia will continue to help fellow-PhD students and post-docs find their way in the non-academic world.


Claire Oldfield

Claire is a 5th year Neuroscience PhD student. Her research is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning using state of the art optogenetic techniques. A Boehringer-Ingelheim Fonds fellow, she has a BA in Biology and a Masters in Neurobiology (Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris). Claire feels strongly about bridging the gap between academic and non-academic career paths. She is excited about bringing Beyond Academia back to Berkeley for the 3rd time.


Bryan Alvarez

Bryan earned his PhD from UC Berkeley studying an unusual sensory blending called synesthesia. He has committed his life to education. In 2008 he co-founded Mind and Brain Outreach, which hosts large collaborative in-school events that teach mind and brain science to thousands of K-12 students in local unrepresented schools in the East Bay. Since assisting Els in founding Beyond Academia in 2013, he has transitioned to K-12 education with his most recent start-up, Mind My Education™(MME). MME is cultivating a compassionate society of attentive, curious, and empowered learners by bringing mind and brain science to young learners (www.mindmyeducation.org). Bryan is also a very passionate musician and creative artist.

JaneJane Hu

Jane C. Hu has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California–Berkeley and was a 2014 AAAS Mass Media Fellow. Her research focused on social cognition and learning in preschool-aged children. A consultant for Little Spark, an early childhood development company, and a former editor of the Berkeley Science Review, she is passionate about science outreach and communication. She is currently at the University of Washington’s I-LABS working in research outreach. Follow Jane on Twitter @jane_c_hu, or check out her cogsci blog: metacogs.tumblr.com

Doug Kalishdoug_kalish_headshot

Doug Kalish is an educator, consultant, and serial entrepreneur who has founded or been an early executive in three companies. With a deep life sciences and information technology background and over 30 years of management experience, Doug provides strategic business and product advice to the information technology and biotechnology industries, with an emphasis on organizational design, collaboration, and knowledge and content management. Doug is also a Visiting Scholar in the Management of Technology program at the Haas School of Business, UC-Berkeley.

Chris Holdgrafchris

Chris Holdgraf is a graduate student in Bob Knight’s cognitive neuroscience laboratory. He uses computational modeling and machine learning to study the ways in which our internal assumptions affect the way that we perceive and understanding the world around us. He’d like to think that brains are more similar to computers than we’d all like to imagine, and hopes to discover ways in which we can improve our knowledge of the brain by drawing inspiration from machine learning and computational methods (and vice versa!). He is also an avid science writer, blogging, editing, and managing for the Berkeley Science Review, a student-led publication and blog that covers science at Berkeley and Beyond. He believes that scientists should be skilled communicators as well as researchers, and has a particular love of making complex ideas understandable to everyday people.

Bradley Voytekbrad

Brad is an Assistant Professor of Computational Cognitive Science and Neuroscience at UCSD. He is also the Data Evangelist for the on-demand car service company, Uber, Inc. In his neuroscience life, Brad studies cognition and neural network communication using data-mining, lesion experiments, human intracranial recordings, brain-stimulation, brain-computer interfacing, and whatever other tools he can get his hands on. For Uber, Brad does exploratory data analytics and communicates the importance of data in driving Uber. He co-created the meta-analytic neuroscience research aggregation tool and hypothesis generation sitehttp://brainSCANr.com with his wife Jessica Bolger Voytek. He’s an avid science teacher and outreach advocate and is the world’s zombie brain expert (seriously).

jakeJake Klamka

Jake Klamka is the founder of the Insight Data Science Fellows Program, a post-doctoral fellowship that helps quantitative PhDs transition from academia to careers in data science. Insight Fellows are now data scientists at top tech companies like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Square and many others. Jake was an entrepreneur in the Y Combinator winter 2011 session and prior to that was a particle physicist at the University of Toronto, working on the Large Hadron Collider experiment. As a panel speaker at Beyond Academia 2013, Jake will provide an introduction to data science and share stories of scientists who have transitioned from academia to the tech industry.

katjaKatja Brose

As Editor of Neuron, Katja represents the journal within the scientific community and is responsible for all aspects of the journal’s management, operations, and strategic vision. Katja received her PhD from UCSF, where she studied biochemistry and neuroscience. Katja joined Cell Press/Elsevier in 2000 as a Senior Editor and was appointed Editor in Chief in 2004. In 2007, with Cell Press’ acquisition the Trends group of review titles, Katja was appointed as Executive Editor of the Neuroscience Portfolio, which includes, in addition to Neuron, the review journals Trends in Neurosciences and Trends in Cognitive Sciences. She currently also serves as Editorial Director for Reviews Strategy for Cell Press and is a member of the Cell Press Senior Management Team. She speaks frequently on topics related to scientific publishing and communication, including publication ethics.

SaharSahar Yousef

Sahar is a 3rd year PhD student in Vision Science. Her research interests are centered mostly on neuroplasticity—the possibility of the brain changing for the better, and applications for tools and therapies stemming from these changes, specifically aiming to train attention and memory. Before and during her BA in Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley, she was active in community building and leadership, elected as the youngest student member of the Ohlone College Board of Trustees to date. Sahar co-founded and directed the California Cognitive Science Conference, served as President to multiple organizations, and was granted several awards for leadership excellence. Sahar has also been facilitating a course at Cal teaching Tamarkoz® (Sufi meditation) since 2010.

ArneArne Bakker

Arne is a graduate careers advisor at Stanford University. He was formerly a Postdoctoral Fellow working in the Molecular and Cell Biology department, where he studied the adaptive immune system. He received his PhD at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. After obtaining his PhD and before moving to California to pursue his research goals, Arne worked as the Director of the Discovery Festival, a Dutch science festival combining live experiments, art, and new music into a progressive nighttime event.