President Beth M. Hovey, Ph.D.
Beth completed her bachelors’ degrees in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology (MCDB) and Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She attended Boston University School of Medicine, completing her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine. Over the years, Beth has worked as a research associate in biotech, science editor and editorial director in science publishing and, now, as an analyst for the pharmaceutical industry. Beth has been a member of AWIS for many years, first joining as a graduate student. She has been a board member for MASS AWIS since 2011.
Vice President Tooba Cheema, Ph.D.
Tooba is currently a Scientist at Momenta Pharmaceuticals working to advance therapeutics for inflammation and cancer. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Prior to Momenta, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital under the fellowship from the American Brain Tumor Foundation. Tooba has been an active member of MASS AWIS since 2008. She has served as the co-chair of the Mentoring Committee for 2 years improving the mentoring circles program, and as a membership chair enhancing awareness and participation of women in science.
Treasurer Yoojin Chung, Ph.D.
Yoojin is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School. Her research interests include auditory neuroscience and new approaches to treating hearing loss and deafness. Yoojin received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. She has been a member of the MASS AWIS Events Committee since 2011. She also served as a member of Steering Committee of student, postdoc and medical resident chapter of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Yoojin has been an active AWIS member since 2007.
Administrator Maria Bartolini
Maria received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and M.Sc in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University in New York, NY. Her experience includes a Communications role at iGEM Foundation creating and executing a marketing communication plan to increase awareness and attendance of Regional and Championship Jamborees. She has over six years experience in the Life Science industry working as a Global Product Manager for protein sample preparation products and as a Technical Support Scientist troubleshooting cell signaling reagents and kits. She is an active member of MASS AWIS and has been a volunteer in the mentoring circle program for the past 2 years.
Membership Committee Chair Larissa Jarzylo, Ph.D.
Larissa is a Medical Writer at DynaMed-EBSCO and Lecturer in the Biology department at Boston University. She recently graduated from Boston University with a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During her graduate studies, she focused on the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the brain, a process believed to underlie such higher functions as memory and learning. During graduate school, she also served as the President of the Women in Biology organization of Boston University. Between undergrad and grad school she was a research assistant at Harvard University where she studied lipid biogenesis and membrane fusion in the cell. She earned her bachelors degree from Smith College with a special studies project on the transcriptional regulation in filarial parasite host infection. She has been an AWIS member for the past 3 years and has served on both the Membership and Mentoring committees. Outside of work you will find her on grand adventures with her pup and having fun with friends.
Events Committee Co-Chair Nadia Kulshina, Ph.D.
Nadia is currently a postdoctoral fellow at New England Biolabs, Inc., where she works on reengineering of restriction enzymes. She received her undergraduate degree in Biophysics from Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, and completed her Ph.D. research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and the University of Washington in Seattle. Her Ph.D. studies focused on the structure and biophysics of riboswitches. She has also completed a short research fellowship in protein crystallography at the FHCRC. During her time in Seattle Nadia was a Science Communication Fellow at the Pacific Science Center, where she presented her research to children and their parents. In 2011-2012 she served on the board of Seattle-AWIS as the Programs Committee co-chair, as well as on the board of the Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee at the FHCRC. Nadia joined MASS AWIS in 2012, and became the Events Committee co-chair in 2013. Outside of work Nadia enjoys traveling, SCUBA diving, cooking, and playing piano.
Events Committee Co-Chair Bethany Bracken, Ph.D.
Bethany Bracken is a Scientist at Charles River Analytics in Cambridge, where she applies her neuroscience expertise primarily to Department of Defense projects. Bethany got her bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2002, and her PhD from Brandeis University in 2008. Bethany then completed a postdoc at McLean Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She was promoted to the level of Instructor in 2012. Bethany has been a member of MASS AWIS since January of 2012 and started volunteering six months later.
Worcester Events Committee Co-Chair Holly Soutter, Ph.D.
Holly is a Senior Research Scientist at X-Chem in Waltham. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Clark University and completed post-doc work at Abbott Bioresearch Center and at the Scripps Research Institute. She has been a member of AWIS since 2002 and an active volunteer serving the San Diego, Connecticut and Massachusetts Chapters. In San Diego, she served on the Board of Directors and as a chair or co-chair of multiple committees. In Connecticut, she lead the chapter as their President and most recently in Massachusetts, she has served as a member of the mentoring and events committees. In addition, Holly has gotten involved at the National AWIS level, serving for the past two years as a co-chair of the Chapters Committee, which provides a supportive link for chapters around the country to the national organization.
Worcester Events Committee Co-Chair Elif M. Sikoglu, Ph.D.
Elif is currently a Post-doctoral Associate at Center for Comparative NeuroImaging, Massachusetts Medical School Psychiatry Department. She investigates various psychiatric disorders using multi-modal neuroimaging techniques in clinical and pre-clinical settings. Elif received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Isik University, Istanbul, Turkey and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. She has been taking part in MASS AWIS mentoring circles since 2011 and involved in organizing events around Worcester area since 2012. Elif enjoys cooking, hiking and traveling.
Mentoring Committee Co-Chair Sharmistha Kundu, Ph.D.
Sharmistha is a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She studies genome organization and gene regulation mechanisms that underlie cell fate specification. Sharmistha is a molecular biologist with a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and M.S. from the Indian Institute of Science. Before working at MGH, she was a JDRF postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and HHMI. Sharmistha has been with AWIS since 2009, first as a mentee, and then also as a member of the Mentoring Committee at the Stanford University/Palo Alto chapter. After moving back to Boston, she joined MASS AWIS and now serves in the Mentoring and Sponsorship committees. When not thinking of science or volunteering, Sharmistha enjoys reading and practicing Indian classical dance.
Mentoring Committee Co-Chair Catherine Del Vecchio, Ph.D.
Catherine is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. Her work focuses on understanding the roles of stress signaling pathways in breast cancer, with the goal of improving long-term outcomes for breast cancer patients. Catherine grew up in Maine and received her B.A. in Biology from Bowdoin College. She moved across country for graduate school, receiving her M.S. in Medicine and Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Stanford University through a novel dual-degree program designed to promote bench-to-bedside translational research. As part of this, Catherine was immersed in full medical school curriculum for two years and completed a clinical rotation in pathology before beginning her graduate research. She has been an active member of AWIS since the start of graduate school, and became involved in MASS AWIS upon moving to Boston in 2012. She is also involved in organizing events for the Postdoc Association at the Whitehead Institute, and serves as an alumni interview volunteer for Bowdoin College. Outside of work Catherine is an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying running, biking, hiking, and skiing.
Communications Committee Co-Chair Kiki Chu, Ph.D.
Kiki is a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, investigating cellular signaling pathways in cancer biology and metabolism. Kiki attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI for her undergraduate study and received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. She recently joined MASS AWIS and immediately became active in both the Communications and Membership Committees as a volunteer. As the co-Chair of the Communications Committee, Kiki hopes to continue improving and building the MASS AWIS website and social media outlets to better serve the women in science and spread the work of the organization. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and exploring the culinary delights of Boston, as well as running along the Charles River and doing yoga.
Communications Committee Co-Chair Katherine Denison
Kate Denison is a Stem Cell Technologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Cell Manipulation Core Facility manufacturing an investigational product for BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics’s ALS phase II clinical trial. Prior to starting her career, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Wheaton College (MA). Kate has been an active member in MASS AWIS since 2012, serving as Website Administrator of the Communications Committee and participating as a mentee in our mentoring circle program. As an elementary school student, she was fortunate enough to participate in Science Club for Girls and be exposed to scientific exploration. In order to advance her professional career, she is interested in getting an advanced degree in management and public health.
Sponsorship Committee Co-Chair Haifa Ghandour, Ph.D.
Haifa is currently a Senior Principal Scientist and Group Leader at GnuBIO, Inc. a start-up biotech in Cambridge MA developing a novel next generation sequencing platform and applications for clinical diagnostic and applied research markets. Haifa is a Biochemist and Molecular Biologist, earned her B.A. in Biology, M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Haifa accomplished her postdoctoral trainings in Boston at the USDA-HNRCA of Tufts University and at the Pathology Department of Brigham’s and Women Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Haifa moved to Seattle WA to work as a Senior Scientist at AMRI, Inc. where she led several integrated drug discovery programs aimed at identifying small molecules therapeutic candidates targeting GPCRs, MAP Kinases, small GTPases, NFkB and microbial organisms, to investigate various therapeutic areas such as Huntington disease, cognition-related disorders, obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious diseases. Haifa has been a member of AWIS since 2007 and served previously on the boards of both MASS AWIS and Seattle AWIS. She established and coordinated the “group mentoring” program for the Seattle chapter in 2008 and since moving back to Boston Haifa has been serving as a mentor on the “mentoring circles” of MASS AWIS.
Sponsorship Committee Co-Chair Christa Van Dort, Ph.D.
Christa is an Instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital and research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Christa is a neuroscientist studying the brain circuitry involved in sleep-wake regulation. Christa received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Hope College in Holland, MI and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. Christa has been an active member of AWIS since 2010 working with the mentoring circle program and events committee. She has also helped bring group mentoring circles to Harvard faculty and staff through Harvard’s Joint Committee on the Status of Women.
Past President Karen M. Page, Ph.D.
Karen is a Clinical Scientist at Pfizer where she specializes in assay implementation and data delivery for biomarkers in early clinical studies. She has twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry focused primarily on ex vivo human cell models, in vitro assays, new target identification, and biomarker strategies in support of drug development efforts to treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. While working as a research associate at Genetics Institute and Wyeth, she earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine. For the past five years, she has been actively involved in the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (MASS AWIS). She has served as a mentor for multiple mentoring circles, as chair of the chapter’s Mentoring Committee, and most recently as chapter President. Karen is also a very active member of the Junior League of Boston, having served as Manager of Community and Director of Strategic Management and Planning for that organization. Her volunteer efforts reflect her commitment to the development of women as leaders and the health and education of girls in our community.