Grad Slam 2020 Screening Judges

These preliminary judges will review the video presentations submitted by students and choose the finalists for the Grad Slam contest in 2020. A different set of final judges will choose the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners at the live event on March 19.

Yazmin Carrasco, PhD is assistant director at UCSF of SF BUILD, a partnership between SF State University and UCSF dedicated to enhancing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by transforming the teaching and research environments at SF State. Previously, Yazmin was an IRACDA postdoctoral scholar at UCSF in the lab of Jack Taunton, where she focused on utilizing small molecules as probes to understand a pathway that is essential for numerous cancers to survive. She earned her PhD at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from University of Texas at El Paso.

Lisa Cisneros is senior director of Strategic Communications in the UCSF Office of Communications, where she provides communications counsel to senior leadership, develops and implements major projects and initiatives, and manages emergency communications.  She also plans and executes major campuswide events such as the Chancellor's State of the University Address and UCSF's participation in the Precision Medicine World Conference and Dreamforce. Since 1994, she has served in a variety of communications roles at UCSF, including editor-in-chief of web communications, assistant director of internal communications and editor of the campus newspaper. She holds a BA degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor degree in Print Journalism from San Francisco State University. 

Ishan Deshpande, PhD is a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biotechnology at the University of Pune in India. He conducted his doctoral studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he worked on DNA damage signaling in the labs of Susan Gasser and Heinz Gut. With a growing interest in transmembrane signaling, Ishan decided to change fields and is currently working on Hedgehog signaling in the Manglik lab. Ishan was the grand prize winner of UCSF's 2019 Postdoc Slam, where he captivated the judges and audience with his talk "From One-Eyed Sheep to Anti-Cancer Drugs."

Linda Louie, PhD recently joined UCSF's Office of Career and Professional Development as the program director for career exploration, experiential learning, and employer engagement. She will be developing and implementing new strategies for experiential learning and employer engagement for all of UCSF’s graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars, in addition to leading our established career exploration programs, GSICE and MIND. Linda earned her PhD in Romance Languages and Literature at UC Berkeley. Following completion of her degree, Linda joined Cal’s Graduate Division as the professional development resource coordinator, where – in addition to other responsibilities – she was a key member of Cal’s Grad Slam organizing team.

Scott Maier is a senior public information representative on UCSF's Public Affairs team. In this capacity, he works to identify and then share newsworthy stories in basic research, clinical research, patient care, and education. He currently covers cardiology, orthopaedics, transplant medicine, the School of Dentistry, and the School of Nursing. A native Texan, he has more than 20 years experience as a newspaper reporter and higher education communications specialist. He received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Angelo State University. Read his recent reporting on UCSF research into the health impacts of JUUL e-cigs.

Michael Matrone, PhD is associate director of UCSF's Office of Career and Professional Development. He is also the program director for PhD Career and Professional Development, developing tailored programs and resources focused on non-academic career paths. He is also the current president of the Graduate Career Consortium (GCC), an international professional society dedicated to the advancement of the graduate-level career and professional development community. Prior to UCSF, Michael was the postdoctoral affairs officer at Oregon Health & Science University. He earned a PhD in Molecular Medicine from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and was a postdoctoral scholar at Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA, where he was awarded a three-year fellowship from the George E. Hewitt Foundation for Medical Research.

Elizabeth Silva, PhD is associate dean for graduate programs in the Graduate Division. Previously, she was manager of UCSF's MIND Program, and a senior editor at PLOS ONE. Liz earned a PhD in Developmental Biology at University College, London, and did a postdoc at UCSF with mentor Patrick O'Farrell. She has served as a panelist and speaker on a variety of topics in science policy, including reproducibility in research, ethical conduct in research and publishing, research communication and publishing for scientists, and career exploration and professional development for PhDs. As associate dean, Liz has spearheaded the collection and publication of career outcomes data for UCSF's graduate students and postdocs.

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.