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Chair: Muthukumar Karuppasamy, Ph.D.

Muthukumar Karuppasamy, Ph.D.

Dr. Muthukumar Karuppasamy (Muthu) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Alexander Neuromuscular Disease Research Lab (Dr. Matthew Alexander) in the Department of Pediatrics, UAB. Muthu focuses on the drug discovery and mechanistic signaling pathways of neuromuscular disorders.

He completed his Bachelors in Pharmacy at RVS College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Coimbatore, India), Masters in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry from the Birla Institute of Technology (Ranchi, India), and Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore (NUS).

Muthu worked in the research institutions and pharma/biotech industries in India and abroad for more than 5 years. When he is not in the lab, he spends time with his daughters and participates in community outreach activities.

As a chair, Muthu hopes to liaise with the postdocs and UAB Postdoc Association (PDA) and assist the PDA-related events.

Vice Chair: Harshad Panikkaveettil Ashraf, Ph.D.

Vice Chair:
Harshad Panikkaveettil Ashraf, Ph.D.

Originally from Kerala, India. I received a B.Sc. (Biophysics) from Calicut University and a M.Sc. (Biophysics) from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala. Then went on to earn a doctorate (Dr.rer.nat) in molecular neuroscience from the University of Tuebingen, Germany, having studied the "Pathophysiology of KCNA2-mediated epileptic encephalopathies and the effect of SCN1A variants on thalamocortical up-states".

Dr. Panikkaveettil Ashraf is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Linda Wadiche in the Department of Neurobiology, UAB School of Medicine. My research focuses on understanding the physiological and pathophysiological roles of inhibitory and excitatory neurons in the dentate gyrus.

In addition to his research, as the newly elected Vice-Chair of the UAB Postdoctoral Association, I hope to promote camaraderie and support among fellow postdocs, as well as develop new opportunities for professional development.

Outside of the lab, Harshad enjoys cooking, playing chess and watching movies with his family.

I am excited to be a part of the UAB community and I look forward to contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field of neuroscience.

Secretary: Blessy Joseph, Ph.D.

Blessy Joseph, Ph.D.

Dr. Blessy Joseph is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Mechanical and Materials Engineering (Prof. Mark Banaszak Holl Lab), UAB focusing on identifying drug distribution in aerosols using Nanospectroscopy analysis.

She completed her Bachelor's in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering and her Master’s in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering (Molecular Medicine) from the University of Kerala, India. She also received PhD in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. She has published many articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited several books. During her PhD, she was a visiting researcher at the University of South Bretagne, France and the University of Lorraine, France.

As the new Secretary, Blessy hopes to assist the initiatives of PDA and expand her social and professional network. Blessy prefers to spend quality time with her husband and son outside of work.

Postdoc Research Day Chair: Nestor Prieto-Dominguez, Ph.D.

Postdoc Research Day Chair:
Nestor Prieto-Dominguez, Ph.D.

Dr. Nestor Prieto-Dominguez received his BS in Biotechnology and his PhD in Biomedicine and Health Science from the University of Leon (Universidad de Leon) in Spain. He started his postdoctoral period in the UAB Department of Microbiology in October 2019.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Ubil, he is studying the suppressive mechanisms that cancer cells use to modulate macrophage activation in the tumor microenvironment. The understanding of these new mechanisms would serve to either improve the antitumoral effects of regular chemotherapy or develop new immunotherapy drugs.

He hopes to promote a supportive environment for all UAB postdoctoral fellows during the period that he will serve as Postdoc Research Day Chair.

Peer Group Chair: Nazia Nazam, Ph.D.

Peer Group Chair:
Nazia Nazam, Ph.D.

Nazia Nazam is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatric Surgery, School of Medicine at UAB. In the Beierle Lab (Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Beierle) she is working towards developing novel therapeutics for children with high-risk neuroblastoma and Group 3 medulloblastoma. Her major focus is to provide critical preclinical evidence with protein phosphatase 2A activator in pediatric solid tumors as novel therapeutics.

Prior coming to UAB, Nazia was working to bring out therapeutic potential of epigenetic targets in ovarian cancer chemoresistance at Molecular Medicine and Stem Cell Inst., Amity University, India. She obtained a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Zoology (Specialization in Genetics) from Aligarh Muslim University, India. Her research projects were at the interface of genetic toxicology and cancer.

In her free time and out of lab, Nazia enjoys cooking and spending time with friends. She loves listening to motivational talks and watching movies/dramas when alone.

As a PDA peer group chair, she would strive to improve the experience of UAB postdocs through open interactions and better community building. Bringing up the needs and concerns of postdocs in the PDA group meet would be her prime emphasis.

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