Scientific leaders of tomorrow present at 2023 Annual Trainee Symposium

| Written by Susan Gammon
People at 2023 Trainee Symposium poster session

An accomplished group of early-career researchers including postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and staff scientists showcased their work at Sanford Burnham Prebys’ 22nd Annual Trainee Research Symposium on Thursday, September 21st.

After introductory remarks by Sanford Burnham Prebys Professor Guy Salveson, Ph.D., former dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the scientists gave 20-minute podium presentations about their research, which were judged by a panel of Sanford Burnham Prebys faculty and staff.

Speakers included:

  • Patrick Hagan (Graduate Student, Cosford Lab)
  • Alessandra Cecchini, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Associate, Sacco Lab)
  • James Kent, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Associate, Osterman Lab)
  • Theophilos Tzaridis, M.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow, Adams Lab)
  • Jimmy Massenet, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Associate, Puri Lab)
  • Merve Demir, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Associate, Sergienko Lab/CPCCG)
  • Guillem Lambies Barjau, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Associate, Commisso Lab)
  • Michaela Romero (Graduate Student, Colas Lab)

After the first session of presentations, a keynote speech for the symposium was given by UC San Diego Professor Gene Yeo, Ph.D. professor at UC San Diego titled, “Challenges and opportunities in RNA biology for understanding and treating human diseases." Dr. Yeo is a leader in developing technology and algorithms to explore how RNA-binding proteins influence RNA processing and how dysfunction is associated with human disease.

Following closing remarks from Sanford Burnham Prebys CEO David A. Brenner, M.D., a poster session was held where more than 25 early-career scientists were given the chance to present their work.

A panel of judges selected the poster of Cynthia Lebeaupin, Ph.D. (Kaufman Lab) for the top prize. Dr. Lebeaupin’s research focuses on how fatty liver disease—an increasingly prevalent health condition—leads to liver cancer.

Cynthia Lebeaupin, Ph.D. headshot in lab
Cynthia Lebeaupin, Ph.D., Best Poster, Judges' Selection

Winner of the judges’ selection for “Best Podium Talk” was awarded to Michaela Romero for her presentation, “Novel role of proteoglycan sulfation as a barrier to direct cardiac reprogramming.”

Michaela Romero headshot
Michaela Romero, Best Podium Talk, Judges' Selection

The event also featured the presentation of Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Mentor of the Year Award to Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., who was recently named the new dean of the graduate school.

Aaron Havas presenting Alessandra Sacco with Mentor of the Year award
Aaron Havas, Ph.D. presenting Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D. with the 2023 Mentor of the Year award

Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s Symposium, and a special thank you to the staff at the Office of Education, Training, & International Services (OETIS) for organizing the event.

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