2017 Conference Speakers

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Marla FellerMarla Feller

Marla Feller is a Professor at UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology Department where she is the Head of the Neurobiology Division and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Feller received an AB in Physics in 1985 and a Ph. D. in Physics in 1992, both from UC Berkeley. Dr. Feller transitioned into the field of Neurobiology across two post-doctoral positions, the first at AT&T Bell Laboratories with David Tank and the second at UC Berkeley with Carla Shatz. Dr. Feller’s first academic position was as an intramural scientist at NIH. She then moved to UC San Diego in 2000 where she received tenure. Dr. Feller moved to UC Berkeley in 2008. Dr. Feller’s research program is focused on the mechanisms that underlie the development of functional neuronal circuits in the retina.

Eugene CorderoEugene Cordero

Eugene Cordero is a climate scientist and professor in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San José State University. His science research is focused on understanding the processes responsible for long-term changes in climate through the use of observations and atmospheric models. Eugene is also interested in the design of educational experiences that encourage social change in students to produce environmental benefits. Currently, Eugene is the founder and director of Green Ninja (www.greenninja.org), an enterprise that creates educational experiences that help students design a more sustainable world.


Traci GrzymalaTraci Grzymala

Traci Grzymala is the Program Manager for the Bay Area Scientists In Schools (BASIS), a science outreach program run by the non-profit Community Resources for Science. BASIS connects graduate students and postdocs from UC Berkeley with local classrooms where they serve as role models and teach hands-on science and engineering lessons to elementary students. Traci specifically focuses on recruitment and training of new volunteers, the development of lesson plans, and the implementation of professional development workshops. Traci received her PhD from UC Berkeley in the department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management and her dissertation focused on beetle phylogenetics. While a graduate student, she was a BASIS volunteer, helped to organize the East Bay Science Cafe, volunteered at CalDay, presented during NightLife at California Academy of Sciences, taught outdoor science as an NSF GK-12 fellow, and served as the project coordinator for a middle school science outreach program. She loves working with students of all ages and engaging them in the process of scientific inquiry!

Michael MayhewMichael Mayhew

Michael Mayhew has been working at the interface of computational and biological sciences for more than a decade. In that time, he went to Ohio, worked at the NIH, went to Canada, got way too cold, came back to the US, got some self-aggrandizing sheets of paper (read degrees), and learned a lot about himself and how he wanted to do science. He holds graduate degrees in computational biology and bioinformatics, statistics, and computer science from Duke and McGill universities and is currently a project leader and staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (the “other” Lawrence laboratory). In his spare time, Michael is a passionate advocate for providing STEM education opportunities to as many communities as will give him the time of day. He currently develops and leads project-based computer programming apprenticeships for middle schoolers in East San Jose with the non-profit, Citizen Schools.


Stephen WhitelamStephen Whitelam

Stephen Whitelam is a staff scientist at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His group uses statistical mechanics to study pattern formation and self-assembly at the nanoscale. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Oxford University in 2004, where he worked with Juan P. Garrahan and David Sherrington. He did postdoctoral work from 2004 to 2007 with Phillip L. Geissler at University of California, Berkeley, and from 2007 to 2008 with Nigel Burroughs at Warwick University.



Lior PachterLior Pachter

Lior Pachter was born in Ramat Gan, Israel, and grew up in Pretoria, South Africa where he attended Pretoria Boys High School. After receiving a B.S. in Mathematics from Caltech in 1994, he left for MIT where he was awarded a PhD in applied mathematics in 1999. He then moved to the University of California at Berkeley where he was a postdoctoral researcher (1999-2001), assistant professor (2001-2005), associate professor (2005-2009), and until 2017 the Raymond and Beverly Sackler professor of computational biology and professor of mathematics and molecular and cellular biology with a joint appointment in computer science. Since January 2017 he has been the Bren professor of computational biology at Caltech.

His research interests span the mathematical and biological sciences, and he has authored over 100 research articles in the areas of algorithms, combinatorics, comparative genomics, algebraic statistics, molecular biology and evolution. He has taught a wide range of courses in mathematics, computational biology and genomics. He has also been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, the Miller Professorship, and a Federal Laboratory Consortium award for the successful technology transfer of widely used sequence alignment software developed in his group. He is married to Ingileif B. Hallgrímsdóttir and has three daughters.