Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellows at UC San Diego

2016-2017 Award Recipients and Continuing Fellows

Renee L. Hudson

  • Renee L. Hudson, Department of Literature

    Renee L. Hudson, Department of Literature

    Education:

    B.A., English, Stanford University; M.A., English, University of California, Los Angeles; Ph.D., English, University of California, Los Angeles

    Dissertation:

    Revolutionary Futures: Romance and the Limits of Transnational Forms, 1910-1986

    Thesis Advisor:

    Yogita Goyal, Professor of English, UC Los Angeles

    Research Topic:

    Genealogies of revolution in US literature within a Hemispheric framework

    Mentor:

    Shelley Streeby, Professor of Literature, UC San Diego

    Renee Hudson received her B.A. in English in 2005 from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in English in 2016 from UCLA. Her current project examines the revolutionary unconscious of US literature by exploring how genre depicts revolution and thereby mediates the production of new national imaginaries. Through readings of a range of authors, including Richard Wright, Cormac McCarthy, Jessica Hagedorn, and Junot Díaz, her project contends that failures of romance, which defy genre expectations, create new kinship structures and, in so doing, new political futures. By drawing upon literary criticism, critical race theory, and queer studies, her project reshapes how transnationalism and hemispheric studies conceptualize American literature by demonstrating how texts informed by the history of Spanish colonization and US intervention share political and narrative histories.

Brian León

  • Brian León, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Brian León, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

    Education:

    B.S., Chemistry, University of California, Irvine; Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

    Dissertation:

    Discovery, Development, and Applications of Natural Products: Abyssomicin 2, Quinoline Amino Alcohols, and Fluorinated Bile Acids

    Thesis Advisor:

    Roger G. Linington, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

    Research Topic:

    Identification and Assignment of Abyssomicin 2 and Spirohexenolide B [4+2] Cyclases

    Mentor:
    Michael D. Burkart, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC San Diego

    Brian León received his B.S in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine conducting undergraduate research in the laboratory of Professor Larry E. Overman. His research focused on the synthesis of the biologically active alkaloid Sieboldine A with his mentor David J. France. He then received his Ph.D from the University of California, Santa Cruz conducting graduate research in the laboratory of Professor Roger G. Linington. His research focused on the discovery, development, and applications of natural products in biomedically relevant disease states. Recently he began his Postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego conducting research in the laboratory of Professor Michael D. Burkart. His research focuses on a class of natural products, which has been shown to target the spliceosome. This is of particular significance because specific mutations within the spliceosome have been shown to be responsible for certain types of cancer.

    As a UC Chancellor’s Fellow, he will be studying the biosynthetic pathway of two biologically active natural products. These studies will have a particular emphasis on studying the specific gene responsible for the key complexity-generating step in their respective biosynthetic pathways. Identification, and isolation of the gene and enzyme will allow for a characterization of these enzymes to understand how they catalyze these transformations.

Kathryn Patras

  • Kathryn Patras. Department of Pediatrics

    Kathryn Patras. Department of Pediatrics

    Education:

    B.S., Animal Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Ph.D., Biology, San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego

    Dissertation:

    Analyzing Group B Streptococcal and Host Factors Influencing Vaginal Colonization and Exploring Therapeutic Interventions

    Thesis Advisor:

    Kelly Doran, Professor of Biology, San Diego State University

    Research Topic:

    The role of Tamm-Horsfall protein in the female urogenital tract

    Mentor:

    Victor Nizet, Professor of Pediatrics, UC San Diego

    Katy grew up in the Midwest where she received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and worked under Dr. Jennifer Wood studying the expression of the mitotic kinases Nek2 and Nek4 in the ovary during estrus. For her graduate research, Katy joined Dr. Kelly Doran’s laboratory at San Diego State University. Her dissertation focused on the interaction of group B Streptococcus (GBS), the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in neonates, with the human female vaginal tract, which is the primary environment where neonates are first exposed to the bacterium. Her primary goal was to develop and utilize a novel, relevant mouse model of GBS vaginal colonization to characterize the key host and bacterial factors that contribute to maternal vaginal colonization and transmission to the vulnerable newborn. During her graduate work, Katy was supported by an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholar Award, and an Inamori Fellowship.

    For her postdoctoral work in the Nizet lab, Katy is continuing to examine critical innate immune responses to microbial pathogens within the female urogenital tract, including uropathogenic E. coli and GBS, which are important to both maternal and neonatal health. Katy is also is a trainee in the UCSD Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences (PEG).

    During the UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship period, Katy will study the role of the most abundant protein in human urine, Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein (THP), during urinary tract infection (UTI). One out of every three women in the US is diagnosed with a UTI by the age of 24, with a lifetime risk greater than 50%. Treatment of female UTIs a medical economic burden, accounting for more than $2.4 billion in healthcare costs annually, thus, a better grasp of endogenous immune defenses within the urinary tract will reveal new pathways for preventative interventions. Preliminary data has revealed that THP is a critical host defense component against UTI through modulation of innate immune responses. Future experiments seek to confirm and characterize immune cell-THP signaling in vivo, which may identify THP as a potential pathway to be targeted by future therapeutics.

    After completing post-doctoral training, Katy will pursue a career as a tenure track professor studying basic biological mechanisms dictating interactions between mucosal immunity and the microbiota of the female urogenital tract, with applications in both disease pathogenesis and overall women’s health.

Rebecca Rakow-Penner

  • Rebecca Rakow-Penner. Department of Radiology

    Rebecca Rakow-Penner. Department of Radiology

    Education:

    S.B., Engineering Sciences, Harvard University; M.S. California Institute of Technology; Ph.D., Biophysics, Stanford University; M.D. Stanford University

    Dissertation:

    Advances in Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    Thesis Advisor:

    Gary H. Glover, Professor of Radiology, Stanford University

    Research Topic:

    Advanced Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Breast Cancer

    Mentor:

    Anders Dale, Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience, UC San Diego

    Rebecca Rakow-Penner earned her S.B. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University.  For her college thesis project she built an MRI coil dedicated for breast MRI under the direction of Professor Daniel Sodickson.  She then earned her M.S. in Bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology.  She continued her graduate studies at Stanford University in Professor Gary Glover’s lab focusing on developing functional MRI methods for breast cancer imaging.  She also earned her MD at Stanford.  After completing her MD/PhD studies, Rebecca transitioned to Santa Clara County Medical Center for her medical internship.  She then continued her Radiology residency at UCSD on the research track where she began research in Professor Anders Dale’s lab in advanced diffusion MRI.  As a UC Chancellor’s Fellow, Rebecca will apply advanced diffusion MRI to breast cancer with the goal of developing an improved imaging biomarker for breast cancer.