Committee Members

President- Jon Kahn
Vice-President- Andrew Kirkley
Treasurer- John Barrett
Recruitment Chair- Andrew Belcher
Secretary- Marta Borowska
Events Committee Chair- Anna Dembo
External Advisory Board- Meng Chen
Media Committee- Alex Hoffman
Media Chair- Marianna Johnson
External Advisory Board- Lauren Mifflin
Events Committee- Chris Quintanilla
Media Committee- Ashley Sample
Liason- Alicja Santos


Version 2Jonathan Kahn

UCBA President
Jonathan Kahn oversees the UCBA’s long-term vision and works to empower fellow graduate students to make positive global impacts through non-academic careers. Kahn is dedicated to accelerating the translation of basic science discoveries into practical applications by spearheading 1) numerous campus- and Chicago-wide networking events 2) professional development workshops, and 3) events that diversify skill sets for biotech-related careers, e.g. 3D printing certification courses. As a doctoral candidate in Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition, Kahn researches potential targets for insulin-sensitizing therapies for Type II Diabetes and is pursuing a dual, HHMI-sponsored Master’s in Translational Science. Kahn also contributes to the University community as Executive Advisor for MyCHOICE, UChicago’s premier professional development program, and the Chicago Innovation Exchange.

Kirkley_2015Andrew Kirkley
UCBA Vice-President
Andrew is a fourth year PhD student in the committee for Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine (MPMM) within the Biological Sciences Division (BSD). His research in the lab is focused on understanding the mechanistic basis of how environmental pollutants and toxins influence the pathogenesis of metabolic dysfunction in vivo, particularly in the context of chronic disease states such as diabetes. Outside of lab he has participated in an HHMI Translational Science Masters program, worked as a fellow and liaison for the tech transfer office (UChicago Tech), and worked on a team-based biopharmaceutical consulting project through the Booth School of Business. Andrew believes that all graduate students should be exposed to a comprehensive set of career trajectories in order to make informed decisions about their future. Working with the UCBA has allowed him to gain broad knowledge and exposure to leaders in many diverse fields within the industry, and he wants to help bring these unique experiences to as many graduate students as possible.

1393927_10153339929730307_1849745263_nJohn Barrett
UCBA Treasurer
John is a PhD student in Biophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.  He currently works under the dual mentorship of Prof. Matt Tirrell in the Institute for Molecular Engineering and Prof. Joel Collier in the Department of Surgery.  His current research aims to study and characterize a potential peptide amphiphile micelle vaccine against Group A Streptococcus.

ProfessionalAndrew Belcher
UCBA Recruitment Chair
Andrew is a PhD candidate in the Committee on Medical Physics at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on improving treatment accuracy during high-dose radiation therapy treatments for brain disorders by mitigating the effects of sub-millimeter and sub-degree patient motion with robotics. In addition to research, he has served as co-chair for the Biological Sciences Dean’s Council, co-president for his department, and has developed and led instruction on lab experiments for the Space Explorers outreach program at Yerkes Observatory during his time in graduate school. Andrew is excited to translate these experiences to his role as the chair of recruitment for UCBA.

martaMarta Borowska
UCBA Secretary
Marta is a doctoral candidate in Erin Adams Laboratory in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics department. She combines a range of biochemical, genetic and cellular techniques to study γδ T cells signaling. And just like in research, she believes that broadening of professional skills is an important part of successful scientific training. As a team member of UCBA, through our projects, she connects graduate students with diverse academic and non-academic environments.

dembopicAnna Dembo
UCBA Events Committee Chair

As the UCBA Events Committee Chair, Anna Dembo is excited to engage graduate students in new experiences and interface with invited guests and speakers. Anna is a PhD candidate in the Committee on Cancer Biology (CCB) within the Biological Sciences Division (BSD). Her research in Geoffrey Greene’s lab is focused on studying how a new form of hormone replacement therapy affects the outgrowth of pre-existing breast cancer lesions in post-menopausal women. Anna has also received a M.S. in Translational Sciences through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med-into-Grad program. Outside of the lab, she participated in a Technology Transfer fellowship with UChicago Tech and interned at the Institute for Translational Medicine in Clinical Trials Management. In the fall of 2016 Anna will participate in the Booth Management Lab course in collaboration with AbbVie. Anna also serves as the co-chair for CCB in the BSD Dean’s Council as well as an Executive Advisor for myCHOICE, a professional development program at the University of Chicago. 

Meng Chen
UCBA External Advisory Board

Alex Hoffman
UCBA Media Committee

MJ photoboothMarianna (MJ) Johnson
UCBA Media Committee Chair
MJ is fourth year doctoral candidate in the Committee of Molecular Metabolism within the Biomedical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. She studies the molecular relationship between environmental stress and mammary gland development as it relates to later-life breast cancer risk. In tandem with her research, she is a Science Writer at the Institute of Translational Medicine and is completing her Master’s in Translational Science, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She has a keen interest in making biological research exciting and accessible to a broad audience. Working with the UCBA provided a unique opportunity to promote relationships across groups within the University and across the Chicagoland area.

Mifflin_Bio_PhotoLauren Mifflin
UCBA External Advisory Board
Lauren is pursuing her MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business focusing on entrepreneurship and finance. Prior to her graduate studies, Lauren was a strategy consultant focused on the healthcare space and she currently invests at Jump Capital in healthcare IT startups. Lauren completed her undergraduate studies in neurobiology and is deeply passionate about translational research on neurodegenerative disorders.

profile picChris Quintanilla
UCBA Events Committee
Christopher Quintanilla is a PhD candidate in the Committee of Development Regeneration and Stem Cell Biology. He earned his BA at UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology. His current research is focused on how limbs and fins are placed in the right location along the body during development. He is very eager to help organize events that are both informative and exciting.

Sample, Ashley_ucbaAshley Sample 
UCBA Media Committee
Ashley is a Ph.D. student in the Committee on Cancer Biology at the University of Chicago and is receiving an M.S. in Clinical Translational Sciences through Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Prior to graduate school, she received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University. Her current research investigates the mechanisms by which UVA radiation causes and promotes skin cancer development.

Capture0035 2Alicja Santos 
UCBA Liaison 
Alicja Santos is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Chicago, where she studies movement and self organization in cellular cytoskeleton. Her work focuses on identifying molecular targets to control cell motility, as occurs in wound healing and metastatic cancers. Her interests with the UCBA include fostering relationships among life science communities across Chicagoland as well as establishing and promoting dialogue between academia, biotech industry and business worlds.