Mary Traester

June 1, 2016

Dr. Mary Traester is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities for Humanities Core. Her fellowship is supported by the Mellon Foundation. At UCI, Mary is developing and integrating digital technologies for use in large lectures and smaller discussion sections, collaborating on a series of workshops and training in emerging methods and tools, developing and expanding student and instructor websites, and evaluating the impact that new technologies and digital reading have on student engagement and learning.

Mary received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, where she researched the ethics and politics of identity formation in modern poetry through the present day. Before coming to UCI, she worked on the pilot program of FemTechNet—a network of scholars, students, and artists interested in technology, science, and feminism—to create an alternative format to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).


Melinda Petre

June 1, 2016

Dr. Melinda Petre works with Dr. Greg Duncan, Dr. Marianne Bitler and Dr. Maria Rosales Rueda in the School of Education. Melinda’s research focuses on the returns to cognitive and non-cognitive skills in various labor market contexts, gender in the workplace and educational responses to economic conditions.

Melinda received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in Mathematics & Statistics and Economics from Swarthmore College. Her postdoctoral fellowship is supported by the Irvine Network on Interventions in Development. Before coming to UCI, she spent a year as a national Poverty Fellow, working with the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty and the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation under the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services.


Sonali Nashine

May 22, 2016

Dr. Sonali Nashine works in Dr. Cristina Kenney’s laboratory at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at UC Irvine. Sonali’s research is focused on the causes of dry AMD, with an emphasis on identification of potential therapeutic targets that may prolong the longevity of retinal cells. Her research goal is to screen and identify peptides and drugs that will rescue damaged AMD mitochondria and thereby improve the health and function of retinal cells in AMD patients. Sonali’s poster ‘Humanin G (HNG) reduces mitochondrial (mt) DNA-mediated apoptosis and autophagy in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) ARPE-19 cybrids: implications for therapeutics’ won third place award at the recent ‘Bench to Bedside’ Symposium at UC Irvine.

Sonali received her Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. She currently holds the Arnold and Mabel Beckman postdoctoral fellowship and will be presenting her research findings at ARVO (The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) 2016 annual meeting in Seattle, for which she recently received a postdoctoral travel award.


Birendra Mishra

April 19, 2016

Dr. Birendra Mishra works with Dr. Ulrike Luderer, MD., PhD. in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine. Birendra is working on the effect of space radiation on the ovarian functions of women astronauts which is funded by NASA. He is also a recipient of National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) First Award Fellowship to establish his independent research program on the effects of space radiation on the reproductive health of women astronauts.

This research is important because about 15% percent of astronauts are women, and women made up half of the 2013 NASA astronaut class, but the risks of space radiation to women’s reproductive health remain poorly understood. Radiotherapy for cancer treatment is known to damage ovarian follicles, which increases the risk of infertility, osteoporosis, bone loss, and cognition impairment. Therefore, it is important to understand the reproductive risk associated with space radiation.

Outside of his research, he has been volunteering with different professional and social organizations including as Co-president of the PDA, which have helped him to develop his interpersonal relationship, scientific collaboration and networking. His advice for success to a Postdoc or graduate student in academia, includes: i) keep asking yourself what would you do if you get your own research laboratory, and ii) try to write any kinds of grant/fellowship at your stage which will help you in updating your ideas, collaboration, and scientific needs.


Lee Cabatingan

April 1, 2016

Dr. Lee Cabatingan is a Chancellor’s ADVANCE postdoctoral fellow. Lee works with Dr. Mona Lynch in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society, within the School of Social Ecology.

Lee seeks to explore how public debates over race, crime, and (under)development in Trinidad challenge classic theories of sovereignty. She hopes that this research will lead to a rethinking of the relationship between law and sovereignty and allow for a globally southern perspective to find a voice amongst predominantly globally northern theories.