Meet Our Board

WISAY 2020 - 2021 Board

Valerie Su - Graduate Student in Pharmacology

Valerie is a sixth year graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology.  Her research interests include Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Signal Transduction, Vascular Biology, and Cell Adhesion. Specifically, she studies the subcellular localization, interactions, and signaling pathways of proteins involved in cerebral cavernous malformations and integrin cell adhesion. In her free time, she enjoys baking, running, and swimming, baking, and reading.  Her favorite thing to do in New Haven is to run to the top of West Rock, followed by getting pistachio ice cream at Arethusa! You can follow her on twitter at  @ValerieLSu.

Nicole Sonnert - Graduate Student in Microbiology

Nicole, a native of Cambridge, MA, is a fourth year PhD student in the department of Microbial Pathogenesis. She studies the human gut microbiome at the interface of the host and microbe. She split her college years between Mount Holyoke College and Dartmouth College in pursuit of a 3-2 dual degree, where she studied Biomathematics and Chemical Engineering, respectively.  Before coming to Yale, Nicole worked at an antibody discovery company, doing early stage drug development in New Hampshire.  Outside of lab, Nicole likes rowing, cooking, crafting, and hiking.

Claire Cody - Graduate Student in Chemistry

Claire is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry. Her focus is on inorganic chemistry, and she is working on developing novel catalysts for water oxidation. Originally from the Chicago area, she received her B.A. in Chemistry from Knox College, IL, where she also studied dance. Beyond the lab, she enjoys traveling, reading books for fun, and anything outdoors.

Jennifer Troiano - Graduate Student in Chemistry

Jennifer Troiano is a graduate student in the Department of Chemisry, studying inorganic chemistry.  Her research focuses on surface attachment of homogeneous water oxidation catalysts for potential use in solar fuel cells.  Jennifer grew up in Westchester, New York, and completed her B.S. in Chemistry at SUNY Binghamton.  She joined the WISAY Board to get involved with planning and enjoying more WISAY events! 

Alexandra MacColl Garfinkel - Graduate Student in Genetics

Alexandra MacColl Garfinkel is a PhD candidate in the Genetics Department at Yale School of Medicine; she is interested in how cellular metabolism dictates cell fate decisions during vertebrate embryogenesis, and is currently exploring how abnormal cellular metabolism may be an underlying cause of structural birth defects. Alexandra earned her bachelors degree in Biology and Psychology/Neuroscience from Lewis & Clark College then worked with Connie Cepko at Harvard Medical School developing a gene therapy targeting Retinitis Pigmentosa, a form of genetic blindness. Alexandra lives in East Rock with her partner Robert, their dog Dutch, and their axolotl Kaiju. Outside of lab, Alexandra enjoys camping and hiking, and she is currently working to earn her pilots license for the first time.

Tina Su - Graduate Student in Immunobiology

Tina is a PhD student in the Department of Immunobiology at Yale studying regulatory molecules in the control of autoimmunity. She initially joined WISAY as part of the mentorship program, loved the community, and became part of the WISAY board to further promote the interests of women and gender minorities in STEM fields. Outside of academics, she serves on the board of Yale Swing Blues Fusion - you can probably find her dancing randomly somewhere around campus!

Anna Vinton - Graduate Student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Anna is a PhD candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department.  Her research broadly focuses on developing theory to improve the management of natural systems.  For her doctoral dissertation she is interested in investigating the effect of environmental change on population dynamics by developing eco-evolutionary models.  Feel free to tweet at her (@TheoreticalAnna) or email her ( with any questions

Julie Labau - Graduate Student in Neuroscience

Julie is currently pursuing a joint-PhD degree at Yale and Maastricht University (UM), Netherlands, in the Waxman lab. Her research focuses on understanding and modeling pharmacogenomics in neuropathic pain. Julie grew up in the south of France, and received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Greenwich University, UK, and her master’s degree in fundamental neuroscience from UM. She is a strong advocate for women’s rights and gender equality in STEM. When she is not hiding in the lab, Julie enjoys boxing, hiking and photography.

Caro Kravitz - Graduate Student in Experimental Pathology

Caro is a third year PhD student in Experimental Pathology. She did her undergraduate work at Stanford University studying cell cycle control, and now studies the epigenetics of lung cancer metastasis in the Nguyen Lab. Outside of the lab she enjoys photography, creative writing, hiking, and spending time with her horse. She got involved with WISAY during her second year of graduate school to help promote equality for women in STEM. You can follow her on twitter @thelunglorax.

Leah Puklin - Graduate Student in Public Health

Leah is a 1st year PhD student in Public Health-Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Her research interests include lifestyle interventions, nutrition, epidemiology, and breast cancer. Outside of research Leah enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and playing squash. Her favorite thing to do in New Haven is to climb up East Rock.

Yaqing Huang - Graduate Student in Experimental Pathology

Yaqing is a third year PhD student in Experimental Pathology where her research interests is the extracellular matrix in wound healing. Outside of lab she enjoys hiking, and her favorite place in New Haven is East Rock Park. She became involved with WISAY after participating in the mentoring program.

Brianna Jackson - Graduate Student in Nursing

Brianna is a second year Nursing PhD student with research interests focused on trauma, mental health, and resilience in marginalized youth. When not working on her thesis she enjoys crafting, camping, and cuddling with her cats. Her absolute favorite thing to do in New Haven is to eat pizza, of course! She became involved with WISAY after attending the WISAY Women’s Welcome and participating in the mentorship program. You can follow her science twitter @DrBri2Be.

Ketaki Joshi - Graduate Student in Computer Science

Ketaki is a 2nd-year Computer Science Ph.D. student interested in studying and developing novel operating system abstractions for accelerator-centric Operating Systems. Her non-research hobbies include oil pastel painting and hiking. She joined WISAY because she benefited from WISAY mentoring in her first year, and she looks forward to giving back to the community by planning and organizing activities through WISAY to further the interests of gender minorities in STEM. Her favorite thing to do in New Haven is to try out different ice-creams!

Postdoctoral Board Members:

Sarah Lichenstein - Postdoctoral Fellow in Radiology and Biomedical Engineering

Sarah is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Neuroimaging Sciences T32 Training Program (NISTP) in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at Yale School of Medicine.  She is interested in studying how developing neural network connectivity impacts risk for mood and substance use disorders in adolescence and emerging adulthood.  Sarah earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Bard College, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).  She recently completed her clinical internship in Yale’s Doctoral Internship in Clinical & Community Psychology, and then joined the Yale Imaging & Psychopharmacology (YIP) Lab as a postdoc.  Outside of the lab, Sarah likes to spend her time on food and fitness with family and friends.

Ruth Oliver - Postdoctoral Associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Ruth is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology working on understanding gaps in global biodiversity data.  Prior to coming to Yale she received her PhD at Columbia University studying migratory songbirds in the Arctic and earned her bachelors degree in Physics.  She joined the WISAY Board to be a part of their great work advocating for gender equality in STEM. 

Aditi Joshi - Postdoctoral Fellow in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Aditi is a Medical Doctor currently working as a Post Doc fellow in the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive sciences at Yale school of medicine.Her research mainly focuses on Women’s health and the effect of diabetes, obesity and various hormones like estradiol on the uterine pathology.She joined the WISAY board to help in planning and organizing various events and to collectively work to promote gender equality in STEM. In her free time Aditi enjoys photography, hiking up East Rock to watch sunsets and loves playing board games with her friends.

Maria Fernanda Forni - Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Maria Fernanda Forni (aka Nanda, she/her/hers) is a Pew Postdoctoral Fellow in the Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology Department. She studies how metabolism regulates cell fate decisions on stem cells and in the immune system. She is passionate about metabolic pathways and how they change during aging and in interventions that extend life span such as caloric restriction. She joined the WISAY board to help foster programs that promote gender equality in STEM fields. Outside the Lab, she loves to draw, paint, read, travel and cook for friends!

Kaitlin Snider - Postdoctoral Fellow in Cellular and Molecular Physiology

Kaitlin Snider is a third year postdoctoral fellow interested in cellular and circuit mechanisms of behavior. Her non-research hobbies include board games and dogs. Her favorite thing to do in New Haven is to meet friends at Koffee?. She joined WISAY in 2019. You can find her science twitter @KH_Snider.

Alexis Brieant - Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology

Alexis is a first year postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology. Her research interests are early adversity, brain development, and psychopathology in children and adolescents. When not pursuing her research projects Alexis enjoys hiking, camping, and baking. She got involved with WISAY to help foster a community that promotes gender equity in science. Her favorite thing to do in New Haven is to eat pizza! If you’d like to follow her on twitter, she can be found @a_brieant.

Undergraduate Board Members:

Aurora Grutman - Undergraduate ‘22

Aurora is the WISAY board’s liaison to the undergraduate community at Yale. Her research interests include addiction. Apart from WISAY she is involved with WYBC Yale Radio, Rocky Horror, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. After attending a virtual game night, she knew she wanted to get more involved with WISAY, and she has! Her favorite place in New Haven is Farnum Memorial Garden.