Leaders for the Future
Yamile Mennah-Govela is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in biological systems engineering. She earned a B.S. in food engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico and a M.S. in biological systems engineering from UC Davis. Her research uses in vitro digestion models to explore how food properties and processing influence food breakdown and nutrient release.
Shunda Chen is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry at UC Davis and was previously at the Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems at the University of Insubria in Italy. He holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in physics.
Chen serves as secretary of the UC Davis Postdoctoral Scholars Association (PSA), steward of the UC Davis Postdoc Union and vice-chair of the UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium’s organizing committee.
Healthier, happier lives for people living with obesity, diabetes and other digestion-related diseases
Silvia Keppler received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Birmingham (UK). Over the last 12 years, she visited academia and industry around the world to gain experience in process and food engineering.
Keppler is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, investigating the human digestion process from an engineering point of view. She was a Leaders for the Future Fellow in spring 2019.
Rylie Ellison is a Ph.D. student in the Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group. She works closely with industry professionals in her research, where she is developing a manure converter to turn dairy waste into a better fertilizer and reduce the environmental impacts of dairy manure management. She is also interested in science communication and environmental policy and hopes to pursue a career in state government after graduation.
Shanaya Shah is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the biochemistry, molecular, cellular and developmental biology program. Her work focuses on DNA repair mechanisms that prevent genomic instability and cancer. Shah uses third-generation sequencing technology, genetics and biochemistry to reveal novel factors affecting genome integrity. Her work has implications for cancer therapy and improvement of CRISPR technology.
Alireza Tafazzol is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the UC Davis Genome Center, and a 2018/19 Keller Pathway Fellow.
In his current research, he uses computational techniques and quantum chemistry equations to design novel therapeutic drugs for various diseases such as cancer. He designs potent drugs to activate patients’ immune cells to fight back cancerous cells.
Helping people see and think about energy in new ways to find lasting solutions to climate change
Bridget Clark is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis. Her research focuses on innovation, economic sociology and sustainable energy transitions. Her dissertation uses a comparative case study of controversial energy transport infrastructure projects in the U.S.