UAW 5810 leaders at the May 2017 Joint Council 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.
Recording Secretary – Zach Reinert
I’m a Postdoc at UC Irvine in chemistry. My research looks to develop imaging tools for metastatic cancers using bioluminescent proteins (proteins that emit light when given a small molecule!). I enjoy speaking foreign languages (German, French), playing board games, watching ice hockey, lindy-hop, hiking, and cars. I come from Maryland and got my BS at UMBC and my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.
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 – Matt Grimmer
I am a Postdoc at UCSF studying the genomes of incurable brain cancers to see how they evolve to resist chemotherapy. I am also a steering committee member for the March for Science SF, which in our first event rallied an estimated 50,000+ marchers to resist the anti-science nonsense of the Tiny Hands Trump administration.
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.
Guide – Aaron Sullivan
I’m a Postdoctoral Scholar at UCSF and a former Postdoc of UC Berkeley. My professional areas of interest are in eye diseases (infection, autoimmune dry eye, etc…), microscopy and image quantification, genetics and immunology. My personal interests include spending time with my family, table top and video games and skiing. As an executive board member my goal is to help broaden our outreach to the community and to help continue facilitating a good working relationships with our peers while protecting the rights of our members.
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 – Heather M. Harris
Recording Secretary – Abby Kroken
I’m a Postdoc in the School of Optometry at UC Berkeley, where I work on bacterial eye infections associated with contact lenses. I earned my PhD from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2013 on the subject of bacterial toxins. Among my career-related interests are advocating for science funding and working toward better compensation and support for junior scientists. In my free time I like making art of all kinds, table-top RPGs, and trying new foods.
Head Steward – Benjamin Smarr
I am proud to be a publicly funded scientist. I hope that my research on sleep and biological time series data analysis will be useful to the broader community. For the same reason, I like to be an active part of that community, and being active in UAW 5810 lets me put energy into improving not just my own working conditions, but those of all my peers at UC. Kindness and community mindedness are always a good thing.
Head Steward – Xiangyu Cao
I am a Physics Postdoc in the Condensed Matter Theory Center of UC Berkeley. I obtained my Ph.D. in 2017, at University Paris-Sud in France. My research touches various aspects of condensed matter physics, from soft matter and glass to quantum dynamics. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my family, running, hiking and music. Science brings people together, and a strong and diverse Postdoc community makes science better.
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 – Claire Dodd
Unit Chair – Nils Zimmermann
I’m a Postdoc in the Computational Research Division at Berkeley Lab. I am working on materials science topics such as finding new battery materials for future smartphones and cars. Through my activity in the union, I like to contribute to equalize opportunities—no matter where they are from or what their sociocultural background, Postdocs should not experience big differences in the possibilities they are given.
Recording Secretary – Mamun Miah
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
Head Steward – David Ramirez
Head Steward – Amy Ryan
Irvine –
Unit Chair – Alicia Hall
Recording Secretary – Zach Reinert
I’m a Postdoc at UC Irvine in chemistry. My research looks to develop imaging tools for metastatic cancers using bioluminescent proteins (proteins that emit light when given a small molecule!). I enjoy speaking foreign languages (German, French), playing board games, watching ice hockey, lindy-hop, hiking, and cars. I come from Maryland and got my BS at UMBC and my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.
Los Angeles –
Unit Chair – Ashleigh Morse
I’m a Postdoc in behavioural neuroscience at UCLA, investigating how rewards, and cues in the environment that predict them, are encoded and later used to guide choice. I’m originally from Sydney, Australia, and obtained my PhD from the University of Sydney. In my free time I’m adapting to life in LA: hiking, trying West Coast IPAs, and learning how to identify locations in LA by the freeways around them.
Recording Secretary – Miguel Alec Marin
I’m a Post Doc in the Neurology department at UCLA. I study the mechanisms that drive activity induced remyelination in models of white matter stroke. Born and raised in south Texas, I moved northward to Houston and acquired my bachelors in Biology at the University of St. Thomas and my PhD in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. In between experiments, I volunteer as a mentor at a college head start program organized by the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). On my free time, I work on my art and rock out at concerts and music festivals.
Head Steward – Elizabeth Zuniga-Sanchez
Head Steward – 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.
Head Steward – Allison Sharrow
Merced –
Unit Chair – Fernanda Santos
I am a Postdoctoral researcher currently working in the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced. My research is in soil biogeochemistry, with focus on the impacts of environmental changes (e.g., drought, deforestation, wildfires) on belowground carbon cycling. I am also a steering committee member of the Women in STEM group at UC Merced. In my free time I enjoy hiking with my husband, reading non-fiction books, drinking coffee, and swimming.
Recording Secretary – Mélaine Aubry-Kientz
I’m a Postdoc at UC Merced in the School of Natural Sciences. I’m working on forest modelling, with particular interest in predicting the impacts of climate changes. Here in Merced I am focusing on the conifer forest of the Sierra Nevada, I am developing a model of tree dynamics that I will combine with the IPCC scenarios to make forecasts about the forest evolution for the next century. When I’m not modelling the forest on my computer, I like to hike in the Sierra.
Riverside –
Unit Chair – Liz Munoz
I am a Postdoc in the department of psychology at UC Riverside. My research examines the link between social and psychological factors on cognitive aging with efforts directed toward identifying early predictors of cognitive decline and impairment. In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, running and hiking, with my husband and our Weimaraner dog, Coby.
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.

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.
Head Steward – Sreya Ghosh
I’m a Postdoc at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, at UC San Diego. I work at the juncture of engineering and biology, working towards acquisition of improved images from electron microscopes that allow visualization of the bio-mechanics inside cells. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, photography, politics, and travel.
Head Steward – Huang Zhu
I’m a Postdoc in the department of medicine at UC San Diego. My lab is located in Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. I’m interested in developing novel immune therapy for the treatment of cancer. Specifically, my current research focuses on modifying iPSCs derived natural killer cells for cell therapy of various cancers. Prior to joining UCSD, I have worked for Eli Lilly and Company as research scientist for 5 years with focus on preclinical drug development for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. In my spare time, I like swimming, running, playing badminton and hiking.
Head Steward – Adam Wier
I am a Postdoc at UC San Diego in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine department, where I study the regulation of DNA packaging in the cell, a process which when altered can give rise to disease in humans, including cancer. Outside of the sciences, I am interested in miniature-based board gaming, with a focus on building and painting miniatures. Further, I enjoy drawing and anything related to art.
Head Steward – Peter Ramirez
I am a Postdoctoral fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego. My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of viral replication, with an emphasis on HIV. I am also committed to increasing equality and diversity within the STEM work field. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, biking, running, playing guitar and being a singer/songwriter.
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 – Dima Lituiev
Head Steward – Ivory Dean
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 – Michelle Percharde
I’m a Postdoc at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at UCSF. My research focuses on understanding the transcriptional output and chromatin state of cells during early development. In particular I study embryonic stem cells and germ cells, with the hope towards understanding more about how these cells are regulated in early development, and are also affected by stress or in disease. In my free time I take as much advantage of the Bay outdoors as possible, hiking, biking and running.
Santa Barbara –
Unit Chair – Patrick Callahan
Recording Secretary – Kevin Brown
I am a Postdoctoral fellow in the Environmental Studies Program at UC-Santa Barbara. I am trained as an environmental historian–I earned my PhD from Carnegie Mellon University–and my work explores changing human relationships with wildlife and landscapes in the American West.
Santa Cruz –
Unit Chair – Mary Rose Gradoville
Recording Secretary – R. Deno Stelter
I am a Postdoc in the Astronomy & Astrophysics Department at UCSC. I design, build, and use astronomical instrumentation in order to better study the history of Galactic structure, X-ray binaries, and other high-energy phenomena. Most of the instrumentation I have been involved with work at infrared wavelengths, which are used because the interstellar gas and dust absorbs and scatters almost all visible light that these interesting objects emit. Currently I am working on the design of an exoplanet imaging spectrograph designed to look at faint, cold, and nearby exoplanets, which is about as far as you can get from accreting neutron stars or black holes. In my free time I like to homebrew, game, discuss politics and policy, and explore the beauty of the Bay Area. I am excited to have the opportunity to represent Postdocs from all walks of life and disciplines!


Elections Committee –
Campus Committee Person Alternate
Berkeley Zahra Hemmatian
LBL Thomas Koskela
Davis Gaurav Sharma
Irvine Maryam Zahiri Azar
Los Angeles Gokul Ramaswami, Chair Thiago Mosqueiro
Riverside Agustina De Francesco
San Diego
San Francisco Mariana Gomez Schiavon
Santa Barbara Caitlin Taylor Izel Tekin
Santa Cruz