President: Anna Kowalkowski

I am a fourth year PhD student in the Physiology Graduate Training Program working in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Nichol. Our lab focuses on intestinal development. We are interested in the role of the extracellular matrix during intestinal organogenesis, both during normal development and when developmental defects cause a loss of intestinal continuity. Outside of the lab I enjoy spending time with friends and family, cooking, and reading scifi/fantasy books.


Vice-President: Anne Turco

I am a third year PhD student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology program working in the laboratory of Dr. Chad Vezina. Our lab focuses on identifying the developmental and environmental causes of urinary dysfunction in aging men. My project is specifically investigating how the ubiquitous environmental pollutant, dioxin, may predispose men to developing urinary dysfunction. Outside lab, I enjoy being active by swimming, hiking, camping, playing ultimate Frisbee, biking and finding local breweries.

Secretary: Amarilys (Lily) E. González Vázquez

I am a third year Ph.D. student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Program working in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Koch. Our lab is interested in developing methods and creating solutions to current issues affecting urban and suburban landscapes. Specifically, my project focuses on assessing the potential impact of turfgrass pesticides on human and environmental health by determining how seasonal variations alter the biotic mechanisms present in the soil, resulting in the formation of potential toxic transformations products. In my free time, I enjoy water sports, yoga, watching Hulu/Netflix TV shows, reading motivational books, and spending time with friends and my puppy!

Treasurer: Kati Seitz

I am a 4th year PhD student in the Genetics Program, working in the lab of Dr. Patrick J Krysan. We are focused on elucidating the role of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases in signaling networks within Arabidopsis. To achieve this, we have created a FRET Biosensor to measure MAPK activity in vivo. My research is focused on using this sensor to understand the role of MAPKs in stomata development. Outside of lab, I love to bake, play video games, and take walks with my dog Bagel.

Scholarship Coordinator : Megan Dowdle

MeganI am a sixth year PhD student in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry working in the laboratory of Prof. Michael Sheets. We are interested in a translational repressor called Bicaudal-C, which helps to establish cell identity in early development by regulating the expression of mRNAs. I am currently working to determine how Bicaudal-C recognizes its mRNA targets and identifying the proteins that Bicaudal-C interacts with to conduct its repression activity. When I am not in lab, I like going to concerts, reading comic books, and watching The CW.

Social Coordinators:

Tiaira Porter

I am a third year PhD student in the Physiology Graduate Training Program working in the laboratory of Dr. Darcie Moore. Our lab focuses on the mechanism of asymmetric protein inheritance in neural stem cells during division, and how this inheritance relates to aging. My research specifically focuses on delineating the role of these proteins within the adult brain in vivo. When I’m not in lab, I enjoy seeing live music, hiking, cooking, and I’m also a fan of happy hour.

Nicole Lane

I am a fifth year Ph.D. student in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Training Program, in Dr. Loren Denlinger’s lab. Our lab works to understand the mechanisms underlying asthma development and exacerbation. My project focuses on how Rhinovirus infection differentially impacts asthmatic and healthy individuals, with the goal of finding a therapeutic target to minimize the severity of Rhinovirus infection in asthmatics. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outdoors (hiking, rock climbing, camping, biking) or relaxing on the couch (reading, watching TV, cross stitching).

Outreach Coordinators :

Mary Spraggs


I currently a Master’s student and hope to get my degree this winter in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, after which I will go into a PhD program. I love nature and education, so I switched from astrophysics (my undergrad years) to air pollution management. I study different data products about the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere so consultants can fully understand what they provide to their stakeholders. One day, I hope to help develop a service to provide equitable access to computation resources and data storage for all state regulatory agencies and American Indian Tribes so everyone can trust that their air is clean.

Taylor Fields

I am a fourth year PhD student in the Neuroscience Training Program. I am co-advised by Dr. Ruth Litovsky, who runs the Binaural Hearing and Speech Lab, and Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo, who is part of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. I am interested in exploring whether deficits in auditory perception may be an early manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Outside of lab, I like playing cards, binge-watching TV, and seeing live music.


National Liaison: Caitlin Warwick-Short

I am a fifth year PhD student in the Neuroscience Training Program working in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Gomez. Our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms that regulate the development of the nervous system. Specifically we focus on how a structure called a growth cone at the tip of the growing axon responds to environmental signals to direct growth to the correct synaptic targets to form a functional network. Outside of lab I enjoy swimming, running, cooking and painting.


Seminar Coordinator: Samantha Knott

headshotKnottSamantha2I am a third year PhD student and NSF fellow in the Chemical Biology path within the Chemistry department. I work in the laboratory of Dr. Ying Ge where our lab focuses on developing and using methodologies for mass spectrometry-based top-down proteomics to study important post-translational modifications in disease. While Dr. Ge’s laboratory is well known for her studies of cardiac troponin I phosphorylation in heart disease, I collaborate with the Suzanne Ponik (formerly the Patricia Keely laboratory) to use top-down proteomics to increase our understanding of breast cancer metastasis.  When I’m not doing research I enjoy oil painting, cooking, running and feeding my online shopping addiction.