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.
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 – 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 – Aman S. Gill
I’m a Postdoc in Environmental Science and Policy Management at UC Berkeley. These days I’m trying to figure out how ground beetles evolved their diverse array of chemical weapons and delivery systems. I also have projects going to study urban soil microbiomes, particularly in relation to green infrastructure and sustainable urban land management. Aside from bugs, genes and microbes I also like bikes, frisbees, beers, non-electoral politics, and cooking and eating food.
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 – 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.
Recording Secretary – Myra Dela Pena-Ponce
I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the CA National Primate Center and the Department of Internal Medicine. I’m studying the airway epithelial cells of the postnatal lung and how the airway epithelial cells react in the context of viral or bacterial infection. I earned my PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill studying the infant immune system. When I’m not at work, I like to spend it with family—eating and trying out different foods and doing silly activities. Every day I am amaze of my now 8 month- old boy.
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 –
Los Angeles –
Unit Chair – Elizabeth Zuniga-Sanchez
I am a Postdoc at UCLA where I study how the brain is wired during development. My research focuses on identifying the molecular basis of how neural networks are formed, with the ultimate goal of understanding how this is altered in mental illness. I am a mother of two small children and ever since I had my kids I have been passionate about advocating for family-friendly policies. If I am not at the track field cheering at one of my kid’s races, then I am hiking or watching the Dodgers with my family.
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 – 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 – Mohsen Torabi
I am a Postdoctoral Scholar in the School of Engineering at University of California, Merced. I am mainly interested in thermofluid sciences and energy-related fields. My main research interests are heat transfer, fluid flow, energy and thermodynamics from macro to micro, and nanoscales. During my postdoctoral at UC Merced, I am working on i) numerical simulation and analysis of heat transfer and entropy generation in conductive and convective media, and ii) visualization of fluid-structure interaction at micro and nanoscales. I am also huge fan of nature and strenuous hikes!
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 – Honghong Wu
I am a Postdoc at UCR in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. I work at the interface between plant physiology and nanotechnology (plant nanobionics). In my free time, I like to read, hike and cook.
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 – Elisabeth Ghabache
I am a postdoc in the Physics department at UCSD, working in Biophysics. I study how cells are able to generate forces to move in diverse kind of motion. In my free time, I like to bike, dance and (trying to) surf, and I also really enjoy cooking and travelling.
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 –
Unit Chair – Juliane Winkler
I am a Postdoc in the Department of Anatomy at UC San Francisco. My research focuses on defining the differences between the primary tumor and the metastasis of human breast cancer. I’m from Germany and obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg. I stand up for diversity and equity in STEM and advocate for an appropriate wage and benefits for the important work of Postdocs. Besides cancer research, I am passionate about climbing, hiking and live music and fostering a positive Postdoc community at UCSF.
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 – 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.
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