Yael Zigelman – President, Mentoring Committee Co-Chair

Yael is an Associate Scientist at Orna Therapeutics, where she focuses on developing high-throughput processes to generate DNA templates for circular RNA (oRNA) production. She is a passionate Molecular biologist with a BSc in Biotechnology from Tel-Aviv University and an MSc in Molecular Genetics from The Weizmann Institute of Science. Yael joined MASS-AWIS in 2021 and is a graduate of the MASS-AWIS Leadership program. She wholeheartedly believes in the power of MASS-AWIS as a platform to forge meaningful connections among women in STEM. Yael is committed to nurturing an environment that offers unwavering support and inspiration to women pursuing their professional ambitions. Yael enjoys solving logic puzzles, Lindy-Hop dancing, and spending time with loved ones in her free time.



Marina Mattos – Vice President, Outreach and Engagement Co-Chair

Marina is an experienced engineer dedicated to optimizing global supply chains. She holds a Robotics and Automation Engineering degree from UFMG, a Master’s in Supply Chain Management from MIT, a Master’s in Transportation Engineering from UFMG, a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from UFMG, an MBA in Marketing from UFPR, and specialized training in Fashion and Luxury Management from MIT Sloan. Currently serving as the Director of Global Supply Chain Innovation at a multinational corporation, she has over 15 years of industry expertise encompassing retail, logistics, operations, technology, and academia. As a member of the MASS AWIS Chapter since 2019, Marina has experienced invaluable support from their mentoring circle and now aspires to give back by fostering growth and providing guidance to fellow colleagues.





Lianyan Xu- Vice-President, Outreach and Engagement Co-Chair

Dr. Lianyan Xu is a chemist, avid learner, and artist who made the move to Boston only a few years ago. She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying and developing methods to access rare carbohydrates via an efficient single photochemical reaction, versus a multi-step sequence. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, TN. Lianyan is committed to creating a space for a community that supports leadership, women and science to grow and flourish.   Outside of lab, she enjoys painting, traveling, and exploring the local restaurant scene.






Yolande Athaide – Treasurer

Yolande Athaide brings extensive expertise in formulating data-driven strategy and financial planning across diverse sectors, including nonprofits, businesses of varying scales, and higher education. With a background as an entrepreneur, she excels in overseeing operational functions, developing compliant policies, managing space administration plans and technologies, and creating budgets and multi-year forecasts for funds of up to $8 million annually. Yolande has a proven track record in mentoring teams, leveraging her early training in software engineering and systems analysis to innovate workflows and streamline business processes effectively. She holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from St. Xavier’s College of the University of Mumbai, an MBA in finance and accounting from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, and a JD from Purdue Global Law School. Additionally, she has earned certification from the Harvard Business Analytics Program, AWS, and Google Project Management, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst®.



Maya Britstein – Administrator

Maya Britstein is an experienced Research and Development Scientist and Project Manager with a PhD in Host-Microbiome Symbiosis from the University of Haifa. Her doctoral research focused on the symbiosis between sponges and microalgae. Maya has extensive experience in Agriculture Tech, Immunology, and Microbiology. Her passion lies in bridging science and technology to drive sustainable innovation and create collaborative environments.

In her previous roles, Maya demonstrated exceptional organizational skills, managed multiple projects, and mentored junior scientists, driving key initiatives to achieve core company milestones. Currently, she serves as the MCJ Collective Boston Community Host, where she passionately connects like-minded professionals to foster a more sustainable future. Committed to AWIS’s mission, Maya leverages her expertise to support connections among women in STEM and advance diversity and inclusion.

In her free time, Maya enjoys rock climbing and foraging for medicinal plants, activities that fuel her curiosity and appreciation for the natural world.


Erika Minetti  – Communications Committee Co-Chair

Erika Minetti is a researcher at Boston University School of Medicine, investigating vascular endothelial health in a translational setting. Her work delves into the impact of cardiometabolic diseases on vascular endothelial health, as well as the cardiovascular effects of using novel tobacco products. 

Erika graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in music performance, and an M.S. in Medical Sciences. She has been serving as the MASS AWIS Communications Committee Co-Chair since 2023 and contributes as a writer for the AWIS Magazine. In her free time, she plays the violin with the Harvard Griffin GSAS Student Center Orchestra and enjoys lifting at the gym.




Diviya Sinha – Communications Committee Co-Chair

Diviya works on the Purification and Cell Culture Operations Biologics Team at AbbVie and recently graduated from MIT’s PhD program in Chemical Engineering. Her research interests are drug delivery, focusing on immune engineering and T-cell therapy.
She obtained her Bachelor’s in Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India, and followed it with a Master’s in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT.
Outside of her professional life, Diviya is an active member of MASS AWIS (Boston), cherishing the support system, mentorship, and empathetic inclusive community it offers. In her leisure time, she finds joy in dancing, swimming, and occasionally indulging in series and classic films.



Seda Salar – Events Committee Co-Chair 

Seda works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Neuroscience Department of Tufts University School of Medicine since her move to Boston in September’22. She obtained her BS in Medical Biology from Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine (Istanbul, Turkey), her MS in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey) and her PhD in Medical Neurosciences from Charite Medical Faculty of Humboldt University (Berlin, Germany). After receiving her PhD, she worked as a researcher in Germany and in USA, and as an instructor in Turkey. Her research focuses on the neurophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly epilepsy and, learning and memory disorders. She volunteered as a mentor in New York Academy of Sciences’ STEM programs (USA) to encourage young fellows to study STEM fields and in Cekirdek Academy (Turkey) to empower women by providing accessible scientific knowledge. Along with doing research, she enjoys reading science fiction and rock & ice climbing.

Pamela Klecki – Events Committee Co-Chair 

Pamela is a Senior Research Technologist at Massachusetts General Hospital where she coordinates and manages a lab whose research focuses on the role of Stem cells in normal development and disease.   

She holds a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Vienna, a Master’s in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine from the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna and a Master’s in Experimental and Medical Biosciences from Linkoping University, where she trained in several technical and theoretical aspects of Cell and Developmental biology.  

Apart from her engagement in the field of regenerative medicine she is passionate about developing and supporting the next generation of women in STEM. Pamela began volunteering for the AWIS Events Committee in 2022. She is also a member of the community- based group of the Young Professionals of the American Cancer Society, an organization leading the fight for a world without cancer.  

In her free time she enjoys reading a great biography, spending time with friends, salsa dancing and practicing yoga.  

Laura Chipman – Events Committee Co-Chair 

Laura is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Pfizer where she researches the role of non-coding RNA in neurological disorders. Laura received her BSc from the University of Washington in Biochemistry and PhD from the University of California, San Diego on Biological Sciences. Upon her move to Boston in 2022 to start her Postdoc, she joined the MASS AWIS chapter and participated in the Mentoring Circle. Shortly after she joined the MASS AWIS Events committee as a volunteer. In her free time, she loves to bike, ski, read, cook, garden, and cuddle in her cat.




Jessica Desmond –Mentoring Committee Co-Chair 

Jessica Desmond is currently an Associate Scientist at Tessera Therapeutics working on in vivo CART gene therapies. Her contributions involve preparing for and performing in vivo studies as well as analyzing samples ex vivo. Previously, Jessica was a Senior Associate Scientist at 2Seventy Bio working on gene therapy solutions for Hemophilia A. Jessica was also a senior research assistant in the Patti Lab at the Joslin Diabetes Center for 5 years after completing a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at WPI. Her major focus in the Patti Lab was understanding the transgenerational effects of paternal catch-up growth caused by prenatal undernutrition. During this time, she also completed a Master’s degree in biology at the Harvard Extension School culminating in a thesis centered around identifying the effects of postnatal undernutrition on pancreatic flexibility and gut intrinsic factors later in life. Jessica started as a mentee with MASS AWIS in 2019 and began volunteering for the Mentorship Committee in 2021.



Lorena Pantano – Mentoring Committee Co-Chair 

Lorena Pantano serves as the Director of the Bioinformatics Platform at Harvard Chan Bioinformatics Core. She is responsible for leading the integration of new technologies to expedite the decision-making process in research projects for HCBC collaborators. With 13 years of experience in computational biology, Lorena has established herself as a visionary leader in the field, excelling in genomic and data visualization to accelerate decision-making processes. Lorena’s educational background is in Biochemistry, and she holds a Ph.D. in Biomedicine. During that time, she developed the first tool for discovering small ncRNAs in brain samples using NGS data. Following this, Lorena utilized her genomics expertise to conduct research at the Harvard School of Public Health for 5 years. In 2019, she transitioned to the biotech industry and has worked with innovative companies since, such as cell gene-editing of pig genomes for xenotransplantation at eGenesis, and target discovery of novel non-coding RNA at NextRNA. Additionally, in 2016, Lorena founded the ‘Women in Bioinformatics’ Meetup, aimed at fostering collaboration and networking in the computational biology field in the Boston area. In her free time, she spends time meeting other women in the field to support them in any way they need, as a mentor, colleague, and friend.


Diane Rigos – Leadership Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Angeliki Diane Rigos is a scientist, educator, and consultant interested in working across disciplines to promote sustainable solutions to global problems. She is the founder and president of Epistimi, Inc, a non profit organization to empower women in STEMM to lead a better world.

Dr. Rigos began her career as a Principal Scientist at Physical Sciences Inc. where she worked on defense and energy contracts. She transitioned to an academic position as Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Merrimack College where she served as President of the Faculty Senate, Chair of her department, Director of Women’s Studies and Associate Director of the National Microscale Chemistry Center. 

For twelve years, she also worked as an energy consultant at Levitan & Associates, Inc. with a focus on power price forecasting, LNG, fuel cells, and renewable technologies including onshore / offshore wind and solar photovoltaics. In 2017, she became the Executive Director of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design.  In 2021, she founded the nonprofit Epistimi, Inc to expand the leadership training of women in STEMM globally.  She also teaches a leadership course in the MIT LEAdership and Professional Skills and Strategies (LEAPS) Program.

Dr. Rigos received a B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University and is an alumna of HERS Denver 2015.

Leila Deravi – Leadership Committee Co-Chair

Leila Deravi, is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University and co-Founder of a new startup, Seaspire Skincare. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s early CAREER award, the American Chemical Society Polymer Materials Science and Engineering Young Investigator Award, and the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award in Chemistry, Chemical Biology. Before she started her independent faculty career, Leila received her BS in Chemistry at the University of Alabama, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Vanderbilt University. She subsequently completed her postdoc in Bioengineering at Harvard University





Maru Colbert – DEI Committee Chair

Professor Colbert is an engineer, educator, performer and activist. Her research areas in industry and academia are chemical, environmental and materials engineering and include small-scale process chemistry, reactionware, phytoremediation, nanosensors and atmospheric modeling.  She meets professional challenges as she continually adds research and practice elements to her chemical engineering, STEM education and social justice endeavors.  Work she began decades ago as multiculturalism and relational education is included in her DEI emphasis with respect to general working and specific learning environments and related policies that reinforce equity.