Blog Editorial Team: Outreach & Comms Committee

Our Blog is run by the Outreach & Communications Committee of the Columbia University Postdoc Society (CUPS). All members of the Committee run Outreach Events and also post on the blog with individual contributions.


Carlos Diaz SalazarAlbelda, Co-Chair of the Outreach & Comms Committee, Blog Individual Contributor

Carlos is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Zuckerman Institute. After obtaining his PhD in Immunology from Cornell University, he joined the Polleux Lab to study the role of microglia in synaptic development. He is passionate about making scientific knowledge accessible to the general public, building trust in the scientific process and inspiring communities along the way. Outside of lab, Carlos enjoys bouldering and tending to his numerous house plants. He currently serves as co-char of the Outreach & Communications Committee of CUPS.



Arpit Swain, Co-Chair of the Outreach & Comms Committee,

Arpit is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the field of (Theoretical) Immunology and is affiliated with the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. His current research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the generation and maintenance of memory T cells,  and on identifying decisions that determine their fate.He enjoys being able to communicate his work to people outside his field of study; drawing inspiration and new perspectives from these conversations to re-imagine something familiar. As the co-chair of CUPS O&C committee, he hopes to translate new pieces of current science for educational purposes and for entertainment. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, reading, cooking and spending time with friends.


Martina Proietti Onori, former Chair of the Outreach & Comms Committee, Blog Individual Contributor

Martina is an EMBO awardee and former postdoctoral research fellow at the Zuckerman Institute in the lab of Prof. Franck Polleux where she studied the contribution of human-specific gene duplications in the evolution of the human brain. She is currently a senior scientist at Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

In addition to her academic achievements, she is an advocate of equitable access to educational resources which she demonstrated through her commitment to mentorship and science outreach activities. She organized workshops to foster public enthusiasm for neuroscience research in the context of the Brain Awareness Week and she is actively seeking opportunities to engage with students to offer supervision and mentorship, including her latest contribution as a mentor in the BRAINYAC program.


Maaike Schilperoort,  former Co-President of CUPS, former Chair of the Outreach & Comms Committee, and Individual Contributor

After finishing her PhD in the Netherlands, Maaike joined the Tabas laboratory at the Department of Medicine of CUMC as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist. Her research focuses on mitochondrial dynamics and metabolic regulation of macrophages in the context of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Aside from being in the lab, she enjoys sports (fitness training, hiking, and biking), eating breakfast, and listening to podcasts.


Vikas Malik, Blog Individual Contributor

During his postdoc, Vikas has been working on multiple projects where he studies the underlying mechanism of intrinsic immunity of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) against viral infections. In addition, he tries to understand how sleep restriction affects regeneration potential of hESCs.

Vikas has a keen interest in bringing science to lay people. He has actively participated in yearly science communication programs like Science Slam Competition, Researchers Night etc. organized by EURAXESS, China. With CUPS, he plans to grow that interest further by participating in these events more frequently.


Tania Thimraj, Blog Individual Contributor

Tania is a postdoctoral research scientist focusing on the identification of developmental origins and fate of cell types in in-vitro lung models using high-throughput single-cell transcriptomic profiling and pseudotime analysis. Her long-term research interests involve development of a physiologically relevant model to efficiently analyse the role of lung developmental defects in susceptibility to neonatal and adult lung disease. 

At CUPS, Tania aims to use her scientific writing skills to communicate scientific research to a wider audience.


Samantha Rossano, Blog Individual Contributor

Sam completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Yale University and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain and the Department of Neurology. Her research focuses on using Positron Emission Tomography and other medical imaging technologies to elucidate the brain pathology in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease patients compared to Cognitively Normal subjects. 

Sam is very interested in Science Outreach and Communication, and looks forward to building the skills it takes to be an effective science communicator in the Press Office of CUPS! In her free time, she enjoys baking, spending time with friends and family, and is an avid Yankee fan!


Trang Nguyen, Blog Individual Contributor

Trang Nguyen is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Dr. Markus Siegelin’s laboratory at the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. Her work focuses on targeting tumor cell metabolism and the epigenome for brain tumor therapy. She graduated from KAIST, South Korea with her Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences, and not long after worked in the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland to identify novel signaling pathways and compounds contributing to resolution and recovery of lung injury for one and half years. Her current work at Columbia is focused on developing a rational therapeutic approach with improved central nervous system penetration to extend patient life expectancy.


Giulia Mezzadri, Blog Individual Contributor

Giulia completed their PhD in applied mathematics for cognitive science at the Université Côte d’Azur in France before joining the Cognition and Decision Lab at Columbia University as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist. They are currently investigating the cognitive mechanisms that underlie decision-making by using a combination of computational modeling and experimental tasks. Outside of work, Giulia enjoys exploring new restaurants and cuisines, spending time in the great outdoors, and experimenting with various art forms. They also serve as a board member of the AIRIcerca New York Chapter (an organization that strives to promote science communication and networking among Italian researchers), and they are a proud member of the LGBTQI+ community.

During their doctoral studies, Giulia discovered a passion for science communication, actively participating in events such as the Fête de la Science (French science festival) and Brain Awareness Week. They hope to further improve and expand their science communication skills as a member of the CUPS press office!

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