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Current Scholars

COHORT 1 Heading link



Dr. Britta E. Rued Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Microbiology | Michael Federle

PhD: Indiana University | Microbiology | Malcolm Winkler & David Giedroc

BS: University of Wisconsin-River Falls | Biology

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Racine, Wisconsin

My interests center around environmental sensing in pathogenic bacteria, specifically focusing on quorum sensing in Streptococcal species. I am also interested in how bacteria respond to the host and the factors they produce during colonization. My career goal is to be a professor at a university where I can teach and perform cutting-edge research. My hobbies include baking, drawing, and playing video games.

Federle Lab

COHORT 2 Heading link



Dr. Kelsey L. Alexander Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Natural Products Chemistry | Jimmy Orjala and Alessandra Eustaquio

PhD: University of California, San Diego | Chemistry | William Gerwick

BS: Point Loma Nazarene University | Chemistry/Biology

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Placentia, California

My research focuses on natural product discovery from cyanobacteria which produce a diverse array of bioactive compounds. I am interested in characterizing new compounds for their therapeutic potential. My professional goal is to be a professor at a university where I can teach and mentor both in the classroom and in a research lab. My hobbies include surfing, longboarding, scuba diving, snorkeling and photography.

Eustaquio Lab

Dr. Christopher A. J. Craddock Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Biomolecular Sciences | Alexander (Shura) Mankin and Nora Vazquez-Laslop

PhD: University of Chicago | Cell and Molecular Biology | Jonathan P. Staley

BS: Northeastern Illinois University | Biology/Interdisciplinary Studies

Pronouns: he/him

Hometown: Fort Washington, Maryland

I have always had an interest in the regulation of gene expression, particularly at the post-transcriptional level. Having studied the spliceosome as a grad student, I have an affinity for RNA and ribonucleoprotein machines. My research as a postdoc will focus on the regulation of gene expression at the level of translation by another ribonucleoprotein machine: the ribosome. My professional goal is to be a professor at a primarily undergraduate institution, working to expand access to STEM careers. Outside of the lab, I wrangle two children, occasionally take photographs, spend a fair amount of time making playlists, and complain a little too much about the Chicago Bulls’ front office.

Mankin/Vazquez-Laslop Lab

Dr. Elizabeth Kaweesa Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Ovarian cancer | Joanna Burdette

PhD: University of Florida | Chemistry | Sandra Loesgen

MS: Oregon State University | Chemistry | Sandra Loesgen

BS: St. Edward’s University | Biochemistry

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Kampala, Uganda

My research interests include screening natural products for anti-cancer activity and investigating their mechanism of action. My professional goal is to teach, mentor the next generation of researchers, and foster more representation of the underrepresented in academia and research. I enjoy singing, travelling, hiking, sight-seeing, visiting art galleries, and event planning.

Burdette Lab

Dr. KaReisha Robinson Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Medicine | Anatomy & Cell Biology | Sarah E. Lutz

PhD: Rush University | Biomedical Sciences | Lena Al-Harthi

MS: Northwestern University | Biotechnology | San Ming Wang

BS: Bradley University | Biochemistry

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

My research focuses on characterizing Wnt/β-catenin signaling in multiple sclerosis. My interest in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in neuroinflammation developed as a PhD candidate. My career goal is to become a professor and have my own laboratory. My hobbies include listening to music, cooking, exercising, and dancing!

Lutz Lab

COHORT 3 Heading link



Dr. A'Lester Allen Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Medicinal Chemistry | Terry Moore

PhD: University of California Santa Cruz | Chemistry | Jin Z. Zhang

BS: Stanford University | Chemistry

Pronouns: he/him

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

My research focuses on developing new antibiotics to counteract a growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. By modifying key amino acid residues in the pharmacophore region of Apidaecin, we hope to increase its antimicrobial activity. My professional goals include becoming a phenomenal writer, captivating teacher, and influential researcher. A few of my hobbies are reading fiction, cycling, and learning to prepare culinary masterpieces.

Moore Lab

Dr. Beatriz (Trizi) Ibarra Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Liberal Arts & Sciences | Biological Sciences | Ankur Saxena

PhD: Case Western Reserve University | Biological Sciences | Radhika Atit

MS: Northern Illinois University | Biology | Ana M. Calvo

BS: Benedictine University | Biology

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Elgin, Illinois

My research expertise lies within molecular genetics and developmental biology. My current focus as a postdoc is on cardiac development and disease in vivo. My goal is to improve our understanding of cardiac disease etiology and provide avenues toward the development of novel therapies. My professional goal is to teach at a primarily undergraduate institution to inspire and support a new generation of scientific thinkers. In my free time, I enjoy baking, playing video games, and relaxing with my family.

Saxena Lab

Dr. Diandra Vaval Taylor Heading link

IRACDA Postdoc: UIC College of Pharmacy | Pharmaceutical Sciences | Joanna Burdette

PhD: UIC College of Medicine | Microbiology and Immunology | Nancy Freitag

BS: Chicago State University | Chemistry w/ Biochemistry option

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

My research interest focuses on how imaging mass spectrometry can be used to unravel the small molecule communication that occurs during the metastatic process of high grade serous ovarian cancer. Among my career goals is being a professor at a university where I can teach and mentor budding scientists and do innovative research and outreach. Some of my hobbies include going to museums and aquariums, spending time with my husband and lovable dog, and trying out new recipes and restaurants.

Burdette Lab