Meet Our Board

WISAY 2018 - 2019 Board

 Graduate Student Board Members:

Valerie Su - Graduate Student in Pharmacology

Valerie is a fourth year graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology.  She studies regulators of integrin adhesion receptors, which regulate how cells communicate with their environment.  In her free time, she enjoys baking, running, and swimming.

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

Evlyn Pless – Graduate Student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Evie studies the evolution and gene flow of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an important vector of tropical diseases. WISAY offers amazing mentoring and learning opportunities, and she loves helping to organize some of these events as a WISAY board member. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, sports, and traveling.

Nicole Sonnert - Graduate Student in Microbiology

Nicole, a native of Cambridge, MA, is a third 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.

Jing Qiu - Graduate Student in Genetics

Jing is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Genetics. She uses novel reporter system and high-throughput single-cell sequencing to study early blood cell development. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and studio art from University of Virginia, where she studied early eye development, oil painting, and darkroom photography.

Jennifer Troiana - Graduate Student in Chemistry  

Jennifer Troiana 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 teh 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.

Emily Briggs - Graduate Student in Forestry 

& Environmental Studies/Biological Anthropology 

Emily is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Forestry & Environmental Studies and Biological Anthropology. She studies how wild primates influence the composition and structure of tropical forests. Prior to Yale, she received her B.S. and M.S. in Biology at the University of Minnesota and has done field research in Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Argentina. In her free time, she loves to hike, go camping, and spend time with her cat.

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.

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! 

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 Kravitz is a second year PhD 

student in Experimental Pathology. She did her undergraduate work at Stanford University studying cell cycle control, and now works on the epigenetics of lung cancer metastasis in Nguyen Lab. Her passions include photography, creative writing, and hiking. If she’s not in the lab, you’ll find her either in avid pursuit of a cup of coffee or with her nose buried in a book.


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!