Panel 1: Preparing for Jobs Outside Academia

Dr. Britt Dahlberg, Director, Center for Applied History, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Dr. Britt Dahlberg
Dr. Britt Dahlberg

Britt Dahlberg (PhD, Anthropology) is Director of the Center for Applied History, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, a history of science nonprofit in Philadelphia which includes a museum, magazine, library, public programs, and institute for research. Her center hosts a team of staff and postdoctoral fellows who do research on the history and anthropology of science and use their research to foster dialogues on science in society with scholarly, public, and practitioner audiences. Her current research focuses on how environmental health scientists, government staff, and residents each make sense of potential environmental threats in the context of urban planning and redevelopment efforts. She has worked in interdisciplinary settings for over ten years, using research to improve understandings and communications around health care and science, and consults on mixed methods research design at Johns Hopkins and in national training programs.


Dr. Paul-André Genest, Senior Editor, Wiley Publishing

Dr. Paul-André Genest
Dr. Paul-André Genest

Dr. Paul-André Genest is a Senior Editor at Wiley, where he is responsible for the management of 11 journals in Life Sciences. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University where he teaches a yearly course on scholarly publishing. Previously, he worked as a Publisher at Elsevier where he managed a portfolio of journals in Life Sciences. In that capacity, he co-organized in 2015 a conference on the Impact of Environmental Changes on Infectious Diseases (IECID 2015) in Sitges, Spain, and launched the journals Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications and Current Opinion in Systems Biology. He was also the project manager for the Elsevier Atlas award. Prior to this function, he held the position of Managing Editor at Elsevier for the International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance (IJP:DDR), the International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife (IJP:PAW) and the Malaria Nexus web portal. Dr. Genest has a BSc (Biology) degree and a MSc (Microbiology-Immunology) degree from the Université Laval in Québec City, Canada, and a PhD (Molecular Parasitology) from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He held two postdoc research positions at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.


Dr. Jun Huang, Research & Development Manager, Admera Health

Dr. Jun Huang
Dr. Jun Huang

Dr. Huang is the manager of R&D at Admera Health. Admera Health is a healthcare company that focuses on personalized medicine. The company works with physicians to provide cost-effective tests and accurate analyses to guide patient care. Admera has launched three major product lines to help patients choose the most effective drugs based on their genetic makeup, to help cancer patients choose the therapy that works best for them, and to help screen for inherited heart diseases to avoid sudden tragedy. Previously, Dr. Huang served as a scientist in the Department of Development in GENEWIZ. Prior to joining GENEWIZ, Dr. Huang studied chromosomal restructuring and transposon-induced mutations in maize at the Waksman Institute at Rutgers as both a graduate student and postdoc.


Dr. Ina Nikolaeva, Medical Writer, ClinicalThinking

Dr. Ina Nikolaeva

As a medical writer, I work on a team dedicated to assisting pharma companies with publications efforts. Although my graduate work focused on neuroscience, I am now primarily involved with oncology therapeutics. My responsibilities include producing a number of deliverables, including primary and review manuscripts, oral presentation slide decks, and posters. As Nucleus Global is an independent medical communications company, maintaining factual accuracy and high-quality standards are of the utmost importance. Furthermore, I work with both our pharma clients and key thought leaders in the field, making customer service another important part of my job. Finally, keeping abreast of the research literature is a key component of my daily life, since clinical trial results are being published all the time and we must always be aware of new data that is relevant to our current projects.


Panel 2: Preparing for Jobs Within Academia

Dr. Asher Ghertner, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Rutgers University

Dr. Asher Ghertner
Dr. Asher Ghertner

D. Asher Ghertner is an interdisciplinary human geographer whose research focuses on urbanization and urban politics in India. He received his MSc and PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at UC-Berkeley, before becoming Assistant Professor of Human Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2010. He joined the Rutgers Department of Geography in 2012 and, since 2013, has also served as Director of the South Asian Studies Program. His book, Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi (Oxford, 2015), uses the case of Delhi’s millennial effort to become a world-class city to show how aesthetic norms can replace the procedures of mapping and surveying typically considered necessary to administer space. He has published widely in geography, urban studies, and interdisciplinary social science journals.


Dr. Diana Roopchand, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, Rutgers University

Dr. Diana Roopchand

Diana Roopchand is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science at Rutgers – New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health. Her research aims to understand how plant secondary metabolites may benefit human health and provide resilience to metabolic and digestive disease. Dr. Roopchand received her doctorate from the Biochemistry Department of McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and completed a NIH-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Rutgers-PBRC-LSU Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center. She has also worked in the pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries. Dr. Roopchand’s research training has been funded by both Canadian and US granting agencies. Current NIH-funded projects investigate how interactions between dietary components, gut microbiota, and intestinal epithelium may impact host health.


Dr. Premal Shah, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Rutgers University

Dr. Premal Shah

Born and raised in India, as per cultural norm, I first became an engineer/technologist. I received my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from Anna University in Chennai. I then received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, advised by Dr. Mike Gilchrist. During this time, I built models to understand the evolution of codon usage patterns. I then did a postdoc with Dr. Josh Plotkin at the University of Pennsylvania, where I worked on whole-cell models of protein translation, the role of epistasis in protein evolution, codon substitution models, and methods for identifying rate variation in phylogenetic trees.


Dr. Ileana Soto, Assistant Professor, Departments of Biologic Sciences and Biomedical & Translational Sciences, Rowan University

Dr. Ileana Soto

Dr. Soto’s research interests include determining the role of inflammation in the neurological disorder Niemann Pick type-C disease (NPC). NPC is an inherited disease that causes childhood dementia and premature death. In neurodegenerative diseases, neurological symptoms are the consequence of severe neuronal cell loss, and by the time they appear it is too late to stop disease progression or treat to cure. Using a mouse model of the disease, the Soto laboratory is investigating how inflammation in the brain contributes to the progression of the disease by looking at what happens before neurons die (and before symptoms present). Preliminary data in her laboratory suggest that early inflammatory responses in the brain occur in the absence of any evident neurological symptoms in mouse NPC, suggesting that inflammation precedes and contributes to the loss of neurons in the brain.


Panel 3: Polishing Your Communication Style

Dr. Patricia Irizarry, Manager of Academic Programs and Director of Outreach, Rutgers University

Dr. Patricia Irizarry

Dr. Patricia Irizarry has a BA in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a PhD in molecular biosciences from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. For her work on multiple programs with the K-12 community, including BioLinks and the NSF GK-12 program, she was awarded the GSBS Outstanding Teaching and Service Award in 2012. Since then she has devoted her time to science communication in a variety of learning environments and to training and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students at Rutgers. She is currently the program director for the Rutgers Science Explorer Bus and associate director of the Rutgers Geology Museum. She also coordinates the RUP-IMSD Program funded by the NIH to increase student diversity in molecular biosciences. Dr. Irizarry is also on the board of directors of the Mobile Laboratory Coalition, a national organization committed to the advancement of STEM education. Since 2011, Dr. Irizarry has worked with over 30,000 K-12 students, 150 undergraduates, and over 45 graduate students to engage in STEM-related activities and to foster understanding of scientific concepts.


Patricia Munoz, Media Specialist, Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Rutgers University

Ms. Patricia Munoz

Patricia Munoz has 28 years of experience in the areas of journalism, management, and media. From 2003 to 2008 she served as the editor of Nuestra Comunidad, a Spanish-language Gannett weekly publication covering the Latino community in Central New Jersey. Previously, Patricia worked as a copyreader at Dow Jones Newswires. A native of Argentina, she received her journalism degree from La Plata University in 1989. She has worked in broadcasting production and as a concert producer, a radio producer, TV anchor, and press secretary in Angostura City Hall. Her academic achievements include a post-degree investigation at Navarra University in Pamplona, Spain, and being named an Honorific Ambassador by her hometown, Mar del Plata. She is married to Sebastian Nieto, an Argentinean chef, and has two daughters, Sophie (21) and Emily (17).


Dr. Nicholas M. Ponzio, Professor and Master Educator, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Nicholas M. Ponzio

Nicholas M. Ponzio, Ph.D., is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He is a graduate of Seton Hall University (B.A. and M.S.) and SUNY Downstate Medical School (Ph.D.), and performed postdoctoral studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY) and New York University Medical Center (New York, NY). Prior to coming to Rutgers, Dr. Ponzio was a faculty member at Northwestern University Medical School (Chicago, IL). He has made numerous and significant contributions to the educational programs of these universities in their medical, dental, and graduate school training programs. His teaching and mentoring skills were recognized by his induction into the Stuart D. Cook, M.D., Master Educators’ Guild of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences in 2003, and by numerous excellence in teaching and research awards.

Dr. Ponzio has maintained an active research program in medically related areas for his entire career at Northwestern and Rutgers, including investigations into the etiology and immunotherapy of B cell lymphomas, therapeutic use of human umbilical cord blood stem cells, and immunological aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Most recently, Dr. Ponzio has focused his efforts on areas of interprofessional education to enhance interdisciplinary activities among students in science-related training programs at Rutgers University. One such ongoing effort is the development of a course titled Communicating Science. This course is designed to teach Ph.D. trainees how to create easy-to-understand presentations that avoid technical jargon and clearly explain the significance and potential benefits of their research.

Christen Pruitt, Assistant Editor, Wiley Publishing

Christen Pruitt

Christen Pruitt, B.A., exists solely for the production of knowledge. She began her publishing career at Wiley as a summer intern for the American Geophysical Union portfolio in 2013. After several mismatched attempts to join Wiley full-time, she was brought on as an Editorial Program Assistant, moving to Coordinator a year later. She now works as an Assistant Editor on the Society Management team. She is also an active member of the American Association of Publisher’s Professional and Scholarly Publishing division’s Journals Committee, a member of the Committee on Publishing Ethics, and a member of the Society for Scholarly Publishing.

Christen pursued academic publishing at the City College of New York after realizing the Ph.D. track in English Literature was not right for her at the time. She now revels in the noble cause of supporting authors, reviewers, and academic societies. An avid consumer of all things subversive and satirical, she welcomes challenging ideas and has been known to challenge ideas herself. Ask her about bibliometrics, peer review, or academic society membership.