Grad Slam 2022 Screening Judges

These preliminary judges will review the video presentations submitted by students and choose the finalists for the Grad Slam contest in 2022. A different set of final judges will choose the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners at the live event on March 31.


Vincanne Adams, PhD is a professor of medical anthropology in UCSF's Department of Humanities & Social Sciences. She has worked for 22 years on medical anthropology topics such as medical pluralism, medicine and social change, the politics of clinical trials research in the Himalayan region (Nepal and Tibet), and more recently on life disruption and disaster as a way of life in post Katrina New Orleans. Her most recent book (with Michelle Perro) is What's Making Our Children Sick? How Industrial Food Is Causing an Epidemic of Chronic Illness, and What Parents (and Doctors) Can Do About It. Adams earned her PhD from the UC Berkeley/UCSF joint program in Medical Anthropology.

Nina Bai, MA has been a web writer for the UCSF Office of Communications since 2016. She has written about science and health for publications such as Scientific American, Discover, The Scientist, and Lucky Peach, and for a variety of academic and research institutions. She has a BS from Yale University and an MA in science writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Navneet Matharu, PhD has a joint appointment as an assistant professor and associate researcher in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, where her research focuses on regulating gene expression to treat genetic disorders. She earned her PhD from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology at Jawarhalal Nehru University in India, and later did postdoctoral work with mentor Nadav Ahituv here at UCSF. Navneet was People's Choice Award winner in the inaugural UCSF Postdoc Slam in 2016, and has been a Slam advocate and supporter ever since.

Jeanne Paz, PhD, is an associate investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and an associate professor of neurology at UCSF. Research in the Paz lab aims to improve the outcome for patients with epilepsy by studying the disorder in animal models and identifying potential targets for new therapeutic interventions. A signature approach in her lab is optogenetics, which allows her team to disrupt the function of specific brain cells in live animals. Dr. Paz Paz earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, and later did postdoctoral research at Stanford University. She was a 2019 recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science.

Barbara Sanchez serves as manager of marketing and communications for the UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach. She is responsible for communicating the vision, tactics, and achievements of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism efforts at UCSF. Prior to joining the university, she served as director of marketing for a healthcare analytics company specializing in cardiovascular services. She holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley, where she focused on 18th- and 19th-century American literature, and where she first developed her interest in whose stories get told, how, why, and by whom – an interest that continues to inform her work today.

Jason Sello, PhD, is a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at UCSF and an investigator at the CZ Biohub. His research is focused on developing chemical tools for the study of complex biological phenomena, with the goal of creating new therapeutics for the treatment of infectious diseases, cancers, and neurological disorders. Dr. Sello is also associate director of diversity in basic science faculty at UCSF, and serves as Co-PI of the Graduate Division's Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program. He earned his PhD in biophysics at Harvard University, and did postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School.

Isaac JT Strong, PhD is director of Graduate Faculty Development in the Graduate Division, where he is responsible for the development of new resources and workshops, targeted to faculty, to improve the training, education, and supervision of basic science PhD students. Isaac earned a PhD in Cellular Biology from UCSF, where he was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Before his return to UCSF in 2019, Isaac was a high school educator in San Francisco as well as the chief program officer at a local non-profit mentoring organization.