UAW 5810 leaders at the October 2018 Annual Membership Meeting

The strength of our union is built upon a democratic foundation – UAW 5810 is a union of Postdocs and for Postdocs. The key to our many victories is majority Postdoc participation. Read below about the Postdocs from across UC who make up the elected leadership team, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, ideas, or would like to get involved in leadership.

Executive Board
President – Anke Schennink
I’m a Postdoc in the department of Animal Science at UC Davis, and I study mammary gland biology: how do hormones work together in mammary gland development during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. My interests include (but are not limited to) animal biology and physiology, cancer epidemiology, complex traits and diseases, personal genomics, science policy, social justice, camping, soccer, and good music.
Vice President – Neal Sweeney
I’m a Postdoc at UC Santa Cruz studying stem cell therapies for eye disease. I have been involved in political activism for many years and I also enjoy hiking, going to the beach and playing with my two kids.
Financial Secretary – Carlena Ebben Eaton
I’m a Postdoc in Chemistry at UC Berkeley, where I study how nitrogen oxides that are emitted from fossil fuel combustion processes undergo oxidation in the atmosphere and impact air quality. I am a proud Wisconsinite, and I earned my PhD from Northwestern University. I am passionate about advocating for action on climate change, and in my free time, I enjoy cooking, biking, planning and going on trips, and watching Cleveland baseball and Marquette basketball.
Trustee – William Kelly
I am a Physics Postdoc at the UC Davis Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics (QMAP). My research focuses on understanding the formulation of quantum gravity provided by the AdS/CFT correspondence, and I am particularly interested in exploring the relationship between emergent geometry and quantum entanglement. Before coming to Davis in 2015, I was a graduate student at UCSB and a proud member of UAW 2865.
Trustee – Lydia Majure
I am a Postdoc in Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. My Ph.D. is in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I study the representation of linguistic structure in the human brain using fMRI. I believe that the strength of the scientific community is directly connected to the working conditions of those who do research. In my free time I am a dancer with a samba bloco.
Trustee – Amanda Mclaughlin
I’m a Postdoc in the School of Optometry, using electrophysiology and molecular techniques to study the output neurons of the primate retina. The ultimate goal of my research is to comprehensively outline the diversity of cell types that make up the human eye. Before coming to Berkeley, I was a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Victoria in BC. When I’m not working I like to go climbing, biking or hiking… I also love tv dramas and wine.
Guide – Jijun Huang
I’m a Postdoc in the School of Medicine at UCLA. I study the role of long non-coding RNA and epigenetic regulation in heart disease. I grew up in Ningbo, a port city of East China. I moved to Qingdao, a city famous of its beer, for studying Marine Biology at the Ocean University of China as undergraduate. Next, I moved to Shanghai, the Institute of Health Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where I got my Ph.D. in stem cells and cardiac differentiation. There are lots of international postdocs in the whole UC system. I believe a united group of scientists are more powerful than individuals. In my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking and playing badminton with my wife and friends.
Sergeant at Arms – Charisse Winston
I am a Postdoctoral scholar at UCSD where I study Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis and identify blood-based biomarkers for early AD diagnosis. In addition to my research interests, I am passionate about community outreach, mentorship, increasing STEM education to under-represented and minority youth, and effectively communicating science to the public. Outside of the lab, I love to travel, visit winerys, listening to live music and watching movies.


Joint Council
Berkeley –
Unit Chair – Claire Dodd
I am a cell biologist investigating host responses during tuberculosis infection. The ultimate goal of my work is to understand endogenous macrophage defense mechanisms which can be targeted therapeutically to alleviate the global health burden imposed by this widespread disease. In addition to science and solidarity, I love hip hop and the blues, reading Kurt Vonnegut books, painting, consuming foodstuffs, enjoying sunshine and riding my bike.
Recording Secretary – Peter Smits
I am a postdoc in the Department of Integrative Biology. My current research is on estimating the predictability of species extinction at million-year timescales, using the planktonic microfossil record. I am also interested in scientific computing and data science education. Before coming to Berkeley, I earned my PhD at the University of Chicago. When not at work, I enjoy board games and spending time with my cats.
Head Steward – Tess Branon
I am a Postdoc in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, where I am currently studying the molecular mechanisms by which our bodies communicate and cooperate with the microbes that inhabit our gut. Before coming to Berkeley, I carried out my graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. In addition to science and research, I am passionate about community outreach and mentorship of minority youth, advocating for reform in environmental policy, fighting for housing as a human right, and empowering women and other underrepresented groups. Outside of the lab and advocacy, I love spending time with friends and family, listening to podcasts, eating good food, and drinking fine wines.
Head Steward – Mehmet Doğan
I’m a computational physicist studying technologically relevant materials at the sub-nanometer scale using fundamental physical equations. During my PhD, I worked on materials that may allow us to make faster and smaller transistors and increase the energy efficiency of our everyday devices. I’m currently working on graphene-like materials with fascinating properties, and high-pressure/high-temperature superconductivity. When I’m not doing these things, I’m probably daydreaming about getting back to drumming and playing in bands.
Head Steward – Ambika Kamath
I’m a behavioral ecologist studying movement patterns in lizards, spiders, and caterpillars, paying attention to the ecological and social interactions that movement brings about and the consequences of these interactions for how populations evolve. I also enjoy dancing, long walks, and Twitter.
Head Steward – Amanda Mclaughlin
I’m a Postdoc in the School of Optometry, using electrophysiology and molecular techniques to study the output neurons of the primate retina. The ultimate goal of my research is to comprehensively outline the diversity of cell types that make up the human eye. Before coming to Berkeley, I was a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Victoria in BC. When I’m not working I like to go climbing, biking or hiking… I also love tv dramas and wine.
Unit Chair – Mamun Miah
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Energy Geosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I am working on regional-scale earthquake hazard simulation and risk assessment for the San Francisco Bay Area. Hayward Fault which runs by the UC campus and LBNL site, poses a major threat not only to these facilities but also to the residents living in the Bay Area. My research interest includes but not limited to wave mechanics, structural dynamics, soil-structure interaction, and coupled multiphysics problems with the aid of high-performance computing and machine learning algorithms. I enjoy playing soccer, swimming, surfing, and visiting places in my leisure time.
Recording Secretary – Christin Buechner
Head Steward – Laurie Stephey
I’m a Postdoc at LBL in the NERSC supercomputing center. I am helping to optimize the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) data processing to run efficiently on the NERSC systems. I like reading, nature, and cats.
Davis –
Unit Chair – Shunda Chen
I am a Postdoc at UC Davis, studying quasi-one-dimensional, two-dimensional and nanoporous materials for nanoscale thermal management and manipulation, renewable energy generation, spintronics, and water adsorption for agricultural and food safety applications. Along with research, I have also been involved in building a strong, friendly, inclusive and supportive Postdoctoral community, facilitating the professional development and improving the research experience for our fellow postdocs. I like music, poetry, reading, enjoying nature and sports.
Recording Secretary – Emma Skoog
I’m a Postdoc at the Center for Comparative Medicine, studying virulence and pathogenesis of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. I earned my PhD in the same subject from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer, music, hiking and meeting old and new friends.
Head Steward – David Ramirez
Head Steward – Amy Ryan
I am a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at UC Davis. I study rhesus monkey behavior as a potential model for understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I recently graduated with my PhD in Neuroscience and Behavior from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I was a proud member of UAW 2322 and Executive Co-Chair of UMass Graduate Women in STEM. I am passionate about promoting diversity in STEM fields through mentoring and promoting policy change in academia. In my spare time, I enjoy yoga, ceramics, and exploring my new home of the west coast.
Irvine –
Unit Chair – Chris Butler
Los Angeles –
Unit Chair – Naomi Goldenson
I am a Postoc in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, where I am studying how rainfall responds to climate change globally and locally. Part of my work is to make sure climate projections are usable for decision-makers and communities. Aside from analyzing model output on a computer, I enjoy time outdoors hiking and cycling and am a bit of a recovering news junkie.
Recording Secretary – Shannon Garland
I’m a Postdoc in Ethnomusicology, studying how Brazilian and Chilean indie music participants produce and value music amidst major shifts in the economic organization of popular music industries. I also study global music start-ups and the consolidation of cultural entrepreneurship models. I like biking around LA, playing capoeira, and sitting on my balcony watching the hummingbirds.
Head Steward – Victor Réville
I work as a Postdoc in the heliophysics group of the Earth, Planetary and Spaces Sciences department in UCLA. I am building theoretical models and running numerical simulations of the solar extended atmosphere: the corona. My research is funded by the NASA Parker Solar Probe, which will be the first human build spacecraft exploring the close solar atmosphere. I feel extremely lucky to make a living out of research and my involvement in the postdoc union is a way to protect my fellow workers but also help defend all the others allowing fundamental research to exist.
Head Steward – Sufia Sadaf
I am a fly neurogeneticist by training. During my PhD at NCBS (Bangalore, India) I studied the impact of dopaminergic neuromodulation in Drosophila flight neural circuit. I brought along my training of neural circuit mapping and genetics to my postdoctoral work at UCLA. Here, I study the role of neuromodulation and their mechanisms in Drosophila vision and flight. I have always seen some level of social injustice and unfair treatment around me and have been against them. As I moved to varying levels of education, I helped others (including myself) to at least stand up and speak against such mal-practice. I am happy to be a part of the UAW 5810 and look forward to be able to serve my fellow postdocs earn their well deserved rights. I am a mother to a beautiful and happy toddler. I fill up my time in serving as a unit representative at the university apartment residents’ association (UASRA, LA) and organize community events for the residents. I am passionate about art and science, equally. During my free time, I paint, draw, write poems, stories and essays.
Head Steward – Mohamed Soliman
I am a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA where I study HIV latency trying to find a cure for the Virus. I grew up in Egypt where the past, present and the future meet. Egypt has a rich civilization with religious and Progressive history, and contains one of the wonders of the world. I finished my medical degree in Egypt then moved to the US to continue my passion of being an exceptional physician scientist where I can make a difference in the lives of the others. I believe being progressive and united is the 1st step toward a real change. That is why I support and am honored to be part of the UAW. To be one of these heros who make a difference in each postdoctoral scholar’s life.I love all kinds of adventures, outdoor sports, computer, and am always eager to try new things.
Merced –
Unit Chair – Adam Kell
I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of California, Merced. My research interests involve laser spectroscopy and theoretical descriptions of optical spectra. My current research is focused on the synthesis and photophysics of semiconductor nanocrystals. I spend my free time playing with my two kids.
Recording Secretary – Martha Kandziora
I’m a postdoc in the Life and Environmental Science at UC Merced. My research focuses on the development of tools to automatically update phylogenies to be able to keep up with a huge amount of genetic data that is published every day. Besides that I am interested in flowering plants and their historical biogeography. In my free time I use to be outdoors a lot and I am interested in fighting for equality and injustice.
Riverside –
Recording Secretary – Chao Lian
I am working in the Material Science and Engineering Program as a Postdoctoral associate in UC Riverside from August 2018. I got my Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Tsinghua University in 2015 and worked as a Postdoc fellow from 2015 to 2018 in the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOPCAS). I am now studying the ultrafast phenomena with time-dependent ab initio simulations. My current interests include mutlt-photon optics, light-matter interactions, and photo-induced phase transitions/chemical reactions.
Recording Secretary – Alex Blacutt
San Diego –
Unit Chair – Sergio Ita
I am a Postdoc in the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) center at UC San Diego. I completed my PhD at Harvard Medical School in the Virology Program, where I investigated the viral evolution of immune escape using the SIV/NHP animal model. I come to the Unit Chair position as a military veteran, serving 5 years in the Marine Corps, a first-generation college and PhD graduate, and lastly, as a Mexican-American in an inter-racial marriage and raising three inter-racial children. From both my career and personal life experiences I am an advocate for diversity and equity in STEM, in addition to the advocacy for wages and benefits that appropriately reflect the education, training, and experience of Postdoctoral fellows.
Recording Secretary – Zhen Li
I am a postdoc in Dr. Joseph Gleeson’s lab at the Department of Neurosciences, UCSD. I am trying to understand how our brain is built starting from just a tiny piece of tissue and how errors in this process lead to diseases in young children. I love road trips. The longest one I have done so far is an 7-day trip from Connecticut all the way to California.
Head Steward – Susanne Benz
I’m a postdoc in the Big Pixel Initiative at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, UCSD. Using satellite data I study the link between urbanization, climate, and economic activities. Before coming to San Diego I completed my PhD in Karlsruhe,Germany and spend some time as a PostDoc fellow in Kyoto, Japan. In my free time I love gardening, creative writing and board games and have been active in university politics since the beginning of my academic career.
Head Steward – Carlisle Bascom
I am a Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSD in the Division of Biological Sciences. Here, I study plant hormone signaling in the context of cell identity specification and development. I grew up in Massachusetts, did my undergrad at the University of Rhode Island and my Ph.D. work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I am a firm believer in the right for employees to collectively bargain for their own working conditions, and in the power of our combined voice. Outside of lab, I enjoy homebrewing, playing with my pets, and caring for my tropical plants..
Head Steward – Joydeep De
I am a Postdoctoral researcher at the School of Medicine/Dept. of Pharmacology at UCSD. I study molecules and neurons that are important for sleep. I joined UCSD as a post doc in January 2019. Before that, I earned a PhD from Université Paris-Sud/CNRS in Paris, France. Outside my research, I love spending time doing a bit of reading and writing, cooking and, if time and money permit, traveling.
Head Steward – Anatoly Shabalin
I am in the second year of my Postdoc at the Department of Physics, UCSD. I was born and grew up in Russia and performed my PhD research in Hamburg, Germany. When not doing research in the lab, I enjoy climbing, hiking and sometimes surfing, cycling or skiing.
San Francisco –
Head Steward – Leila Mohammadi
I’m a Postdoc in cardiovascular research institute. I study the effects of tobacco smoke and e-cigarette aerosol on cardiovascular system. I also enjoy traveling, music and meeting new people. As an union steward, I’m advocating for science and defending the rights of immigrant scientists.
Recording Secretary – Jack Nicoludis
I’m a postdoc at UCSF in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. I study how proteins interact with and assemble on cellular membranes using structural biology and protein design. I’m an east coast native, attending Swarthmore College for undergrad and Harvard for my PhD. I am motivated to make academia better for early career researchers and I’m a member of the Board of Directors for the Future of Research, a non-profit advocating for and supporting early career researching in the biomedical research enterprise.
Head Steward – Akua Gyamerah
I am a Postdoctoral scholar at UCSF, where I do sociomedical research in the field of HIV prevention and care among gay and bisexual men and other key populations in the African diaspora. As a union member with a social justice background, I hope to work with other members and elected leadership to: improve Postdoc working conditions, benefits, and salary; increase rank and file participation in the union; and increase the percentage of Postdocs in the union.
Head Steward – Li Zhou
I’m a Postdoc in cardiovascular research institute. I study the effects of tobacco smoke and e-cigarette aerosol on cardiovascular system. I also enjoy traveling, music and meeting new people. As an union steward, I’m advocating for science and defending the rights of immigrant scientists.
Santa Barbara –
Recording Secretary – Dhananjay Thakur
Santa Cruz –
Unit Chair – Rosie Gradoville


Elections Committee –
Campus Committee Person Alternate
Berkeley Daniel Arajuo
LBL Cecilia Chavana-Bryant
Davis Gaurav Sharma
Los Angeles Gokul Ramaswami, Chair Thiago Mosqueiro
Riverside Agustina De Francesco
San Diego Mohammed Salah El Hadri Grant Teply
San Francisco Mariana Gomez Schiavon
Santa Barbara Izel Tekin
Santa Cruz Gerardo Cortes