Board Members


President: Jacqueline Graniel (


Year: 3rd year MSTP
Major/Program:Medical Science Training Program (MSTP)
Research Interest/Project: Since undergrad, I’ve been fascinated with the biology of aging. I have experience studying aging in fruit flies, worms, and cells. During my PhD, I plan to work on understanding telomere biology better, especially the happenings at the ends of our chromosomes (shelterin complex, teeheehee). I plan on studying biology of aging research and train to become a geriatrician.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I am originally from Los Angeles, California (oh, how I miss you hot sun).
  2. I am the first in my family to graduate high school, let alone attend college and pursue education.
  3. Soy mulata. My dad is from Mexico and my mom is from Nicaragua and through my years of training I’ve totally embraced being a Latina Scientist.
  4. I am the oldest of three children. My siblings are like my own children. Family is incredibly important to me.
  5. SACNAS has been a part of my identity since 2011. It has helped me explore the kind of scientist I want to be and help me form communities near and far from home.

Vice-President: Yanay Alonso Caraballo


Year:3rd year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Neuroscience
Research Interest/Project: My research is focused in understanding the neural mechanisms of obesity in selectively-bred obesity prone (OP) and obesity resistant (OR) rats. Specifically, I’m interested in elucidating the role of the estrous cycle and the gonadal hormones in motivated behaviors in the selectively-bred female OP and OR rats.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchanment 
  2. I did my undergrad at the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce. 
  3. My favorite and main hobby is playing volleyball! 
  4. I always wanted to be a veterinarian.
  5. I love food… except french fries!

Treasurer: Carlos Puentes


Year:3rd year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Neuroscience
Research Interest/Project: Sleep occurs nearly ubiquitously among animals, implying that it serves a basic and crucial function. However, the nature of this function remains a black box. My research is focused on interrogating the function of sleep and its relationship to  memory consolidation.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States at Age 5
  2. My favorite movie is raging bull.
  3. My favorite movie that I never want to watch again is melancholia.
  4. I had a cat named cat.
  5. My favorite book is Of Human Bondage

Fundraising Coordinator: Christian WernerWebsite_CW

Year:Year: Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Student

Major/Program: Radiation Oncology
Research Interest/Project: Targeting abnormal cancer metabolism to sensitize glioblastomas, which are very aggressive brain cancers, to radiation therapy.
Five Facts:
  1. I am originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I’ve never actually seen Breaking Bad.
  2. I have seven nieces and nephews, and the oldest is starting high school this year!
  3. I have a science birthday (3-14): it’s Pi Day and also the day that Einstein was born.
  4. The woolly mammoth is my favorite animal. I know they’re extinct, but they look so majestic in artistic renderings.
  5. After finishing PREP, I hope to be admitted to an MSTP program.

Fundraising Coordinator: Sofia Lopez (

Year: 2nd Year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Neuroscience
Research Interest/Project:My research focuses on the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying individual differences in cue-driven behavior. Particularly, in understanding the basis of motivated behavior and uncovering the mechanisms driving maladaptive patterns of behavior such as addiction. My work will aim to elucidate the interaction between stress and dopamine in a model of individual variation in cue-motivated behaviors.
Five Facts:
  1. The El Paso-Juarez border area is what I call home.
  2. I played the cello growing up (9 years total).
  3. My undergraduate major was Psychology.
  4. I began to train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu here in Ann Arbor
  5. My biggest expense is delicious food

Fundraising CoordinatorCristina E. María Ríos

cristinamariarios.jpgYear: 2nd Year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Neuroscience
Research Interest/Project:My research focuses on individual differences in learned behavior responses to both appetitive and aversive cues. I am particularly interested in the associations and implications of these differential learning phenotypes with vulnerability to addiction and PTSD. 
 Five Quick Facts:
  1. I got my B.S. in Cellular-Molecular Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.
  2. I was raised in a small town in the mountains of Puerto Rico and used to sing Puerto Rican folk music as a kid.
  3. For my tenth birthday I asked my parents for a microscope (and I got it!).
  4. I love food… especially French fries!
  5. I’ve had a pet bird named Tina for 13 years.

Assistant Fundraising Coordinator: Jose Martinez
Year: Postbac Education Research Program (PREP) Student
Major/Program: Neuroscience
Research Interest/Project: Post Stroke Neuroregeneration
 Five Quick Facts:
  1. I am an avid baker. (Make a killer chocoflan)
  2. Growing up I played the trombone. (10 Years total, just bought a trombone to get back into it)
  3. Im originally from Watsonville, CA. Same place Martinelli’s Apple Cider comes from.
  4. My former school mascot is the Banana Slug! UC Santa Cruz 14’ Majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  5. After undergrad, I spent two years working as a clinic supervisor/administrator. I helped run a community health center.

Outreach Coordinator: Nick Silva


Year:5th year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Neuroscience
Research Interest/Project: My research interest include inflammation following photoreceptor injury and the specific functions of mmp9 in Muller glia regeneration.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I am originally from California, Los Angeles.
  2. I did my undergrad and masters at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Thus, I left my heart in San Francisco.
  3. I like to cook various types of food.
  4. I started OrangeTheory (Fitness Studio) and LOVE IT!
  5. I’m kinda obsessed with plants (any), nature, fish, and elephants.

Outreach Coordinator: Kelsey Hallinen (


Year:4th year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Biophysics
Research Interest/Project: My research is focused on studying E. faecalis biofilm formation, spatial structure, and interaction dynamics. Biofilms of this species are known to cause many types of awful infections, such as medical device infections and bacterial endocarditis. The goal of my project is to better understand how these biofilms form and organize themselves, particularly if there is a resistant strain present. I’m personally interested in this project as I have congenital heart defects- bacterial endocarditis is a larger risk for patients like me who have extra scar tissue or artificial valves.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went to undergrad at Carnegie Mellon.
  2. I’m an avid runner- I was a 400 m hurdler in high school and college and now have switched to running 5Ks. My goal is to run the Ann Arbor Marathon the year I graduate.
  3. I volunteer at a camp every summer for children with congenital heart defects. I went there as an 8 year old and this next summer will be my 18th consecutive year there.
  4. I love playing board games and am constantly looking for new suggestions.
  5. I foster cats for the Humane Society of Huron Valley and I have a 19 year old cat named Gabrielle, that I affectionately call my old lady cat.

Media Manager: Ashley Velez Delgado


Year: 2nd year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Cell and Developmental Biology

Research Interest/Project: : Since the first time I did research, I became fascinated about studying the molecular mechanisms of diseases. At the University of Michigan, I found the perfect fit for my interests  by studying tumor microenvironment. Specifically, I study the fibroinflammatory response during pancreatic cancer, meaning that I’m trying to elucidate what do fibroblasts and immune cells do during pancreatic cancer.

Five Quick Facts:
  1. I’m a proud Puerto Rican whom after 22 years living in there decided to come to Michigan for her PhD. What a change!!
  2. I  enjoy meeting new people and making friends.
  3. For me listening music is like a therapy.
  4. I love salsa dancing. So, if you are planning to go, let me know!
  5. I really enjoy mentoring incoming student in the lab, I think is really cool passing your knowledge to others and see how they succeed.

Media Manager: Brenda Cisneros


Year: 2nd Year Ph.D. Candidate
Major/Program: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Research Interest/Project: Metabolism and Reproduction
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I’m originally from California and lived in San Francisco prior to coming to University of Michigan.
  2. I recently learned how to swim and my goal is to be good enough to swim in the ocean!
  3. I like to collect and pin insects.
  4. I’m always open to trying out new hobbies.
  5. I like to knit, do puzzles, play board games, cook, and read mystery novels during my free time!

Media Manager: Peter Cerda

PeterCerdaYear: 1st Year Ph.D. Student
Major/Program:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
Research Interest/Project: Generally I am interested in evolutionary biology, specifically in how organisms are able to adapt and diversify. My research focuses on the evolution of venom, a toxic cocktail that is highly variable both among and within species, in both snakes and marine cone snails (youtube it!).
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I was born in southwest Idaho, where I lived for ten years before moving to deep south Texas.
  2. I am the first in my family to graduate for college and earn a graduate degree (M.S. ’16 from Michigan)
  3. Huge Michigan football fan.
  4. Two days after my thesis defence I left to conduct field collections of cone snails in American Samoa.
  5. One hour into the first collection dive I almost flipped over a stone fish, which is very dangerous. I was then paranoid for the rest of the day.

Social Event Coordinator: Rosa Menjivar

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Year: 1st year Ph.D. Student
Major/Program: Cellular and Molecular Biology Program (CMB)
Research Interest/Project: Pancreatic cancer microenvironment
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I was born and raised in El Salvador
  2. I did my undergrad at UCLA
  3. I am the first in my family to go to college
  4. I have 2 sisters and one brother
  5. I do not know how to swim! Hope to learn in the near future 🙂

Co-Professional Development/Recruitment Chair & National Liaison: Katy Rico

Year: 4th year Ph.D Candidate
Major: Earth and Environmental Science
Research Interest: Nutrient and metal biogeochemical cycling in low-oxygen aquatic systems.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I have been to multiple Harry Potter conventions.
  2. I told myself if I was awarded the NSF GRFP, I would get a dog… so now my partner and I have a dog and her name is BeeBee.
  3. Cows are my favorite animal. I have an obnoxious amount of cow stuffed animals and things with cows on them.
  4. Despite my research interest and my department, I am not outdoorsy at all. I’d rather stay in a hotel and have a spa day than camp and hike.
  5. I was born and raised in Chicago; in the long-term, I hope to move back there to live out the rest of my life.

Co-Professional Development/Recruitment Chair & National Liaison: Stephanie Pistorius


Year: 1st year Ph.D. student
Major: Neuroscience
Research Interest: I am interested in studying the underlyi
ng mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Five Quick Facts:
  1. I grew up in the Bay Area but lived in Provo, Utah and Montreal, Québec before moving to Michigan.
  2. My favorite food is atol de elote. I would choose that over almost anything.
  3. My parents were both born and raised in El Salvador and I think it’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited.
  4.  I love water sports like water polo and swimming but I am terrified of pretty much any natural body of water.
  5. I will be an N’SYNC fan until the day that I die.

Chapter Adviser: Dr. Bob Fuller


Program: Dr. Fuller is a professor in Biological Chemistry and the director of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program.
Research Interest/Project:

My lab focuses in studying proteolytic processing and protein localization in the secretory pathway. In particular, our lab focuses on the specificity, efficiency, and location of protease Kex2 in yeast.

Five Quick Facts:
  1. Born in the year that Watson and Crick published the double-helical model of DNA structure.
  2. Grew up on Army/Air Force bases in Virginia, New Mexico, Kansas, Iceland, Texas & Alabama but went to high school and college in New England.
  3. Went to college intending to major in American History but took a 3 year leave to play in rock bands (1972-1975) and came back to major in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.
  4. Lived in the San Francisco Bay area for 16 years and got hooked on backpacking in the Sierra Nevada.
  5. I play electric guitar in the CMB band “Embryonic Lethality”