WISH Members

  • Marlene Belfort

    Ivana Alexandrova

    I am originally from Bulgaria and received my Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. I have held a postdoctoral position at the University of Toronto and visiting appointments at the Universite de Paris Sud, Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Paris, and the University of Tokyo. My research is in the areas of partial differential equations, scattering theory, semi-classical and microlocal analysis, magnetic Hamiltonians, and the Aharonov-Bohm effect. I am also interested in helping to improve the mathematics education in American high schools and to that effect I maintain a webpage with math problems for high school students and have given a lecture in the Albany Area Math Circle.

  • Marlene Belfort

    Marlene Belfort

    I am a microbial geneticist and biochemist with a career-long interest in host-parasite relationships. I continue to strive for balance between my professional and domestic lives and enjoy sharing my perspectives with the next generation of juggling-act scientists. Achieving a wholesome balance is difficult for all professionals but particularly for young women, whom I try to encourage by sharing my views on the mutually reinforcing roles of parenting and mentoring.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIR9rn9Mg8w)

  • Kristen Corbosiero

    Kristen Corbosiero

    I am an atmospheric scientist who studies the structure and intensity change of tropical cyclones. I am passionate about getting girls excited about STEM fields from a young age and mentoring female graduate students to plug the "leaky pipeline".

  • Gabriele Fuchs

    Gabriele Fuchs

    I am an RNA biologist working at the interface of cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics and virology. As a scientist I have been fascinated by one of the largest cellular protein-RNA complexes called ribosomes. Until recently it had been assumed that ribosomes within an organism and within a cell were identical. Now we know that ribosomes are not identical. I am trying to understand what function particular ribosome subsets have during protein biosynthesis. In the future this knowledge might be used to combat a viral infection and cancer progression.

  • Andrea Lang

    Andrea Lang

    I am an atmospheric scientist and my research focuses on understanding how variability in the jet stream and tropopause level flow impacts weather and forecasts. My enthusiasm for science developed by participating in extracurricular and outreach activities from a young age. I hope that I can pass that enthusiasm along to others young women and be a role model for other young women not only in science but those trying to find a work-life balance.

  • Melinda Larsen

    Melinda Larsen

    I am a cell and developmental biologist with a primary interest in how organs form. In my lab, we are studying the basic processes required for salivary gland development using cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry and imaging techniques together with systems biology analysis methods and computation. We are also collaborating with engineers to apply basic principles to develop a bioengineered salivary gland and to learn how to stimulate regeneration of diseased salivary gland. I am a researcher today because I was mentored by excellent female (and male) scientists, and I want to in turn help the new generation of scientists achieve their career goals.

  • Elizabeth Munch

    Elizabeth Munch

    I am a mathematician specializing in applied topology and topological data analysis. My research focuses on finding and quantifying structure in data which can be used to answer questions for the domain providing the data.

  • Rabi Musah

    Rabi Musah

    I am a natural products chemist whose primary research interests lie in how plants synthesize and deploy molecules that are used in chemical defense and signaling, and the development of methods that can be used to study these chemicals in plants. I also conduct research in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in higher education, with the goal of developing intervention strategies that can be used to enhance interest in and retention of students in STEM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTmjunNXVPg). I believe that all students, irrespective of race/ethnicity, disability status, creed, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation (and other diversity indicators), should have ready access to any assistance needed to perform optimally in STEM courses. In this regard, I am able to provide academic and mentoring support to students taking gateway STEM courses through programs offered by the Center for Achievement, Retention and Student Success (CARSS), where I serve as Director.

  • Cara Ocobock

    Cara Ocobock

    Key Words/Interests: Human biology, biological anthropology, energetics, humans in the extremes
    Areas: North America and Finland

    My research program integrates human biology and anthropology with a focus on the interaction between anatomy, physiology, the environment, and evolution. I explore the physiological and behavioral mechanisms necessary to cope with and adapt to extremes. Specifically, my research involves the study and modeling of human energy expenditure at extreme climates, altitudes, and physical activities. I am currently developing a field site in the Sápmi region of Finland to work among the Sámi. The overarching goals of this project are to assess life ways, life history patterns, and cold climate adaptations among the Sámi as well as address the numerous health disparities they face.

  • Cara Pager

    Cara Pager

    I am a molecular virologist fascinated by the amazing ways viruses interface and subvert the host cell to establish an infection and disease. In particular we study how RNA viruses, such as hepatitis C virus and dengue virus, commandeer the cell's protein synthesis and RNA regulation machinery to duplicate the viral genomes and assembly new virus particles. In understanding these fundamental mechanisms we are laying the foundation for the development of therapies that will reign in these scourges. As a mommy scientist my little boy provides that all important work-life balance (also microtube racks and conical tubes are great toys for tomorrow's scientist).

  • Jayanti Pande

    Jayanti Pande

    I am a biophysical chemist and an alumna – returning to UAlbany after many years of science exploration at various institutions (City College of NY, University of Zurich, Columbia University, and M.I.T). Our lab is involved in finding the molecular mechanisms by which genetic mutations, and posttranslational modifications that accompany aging, alter the proteins in the human eye and lead to diseases like cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration. We study phase transitions in proteins – which I think is pretty cool! Being a woman, and a chemist at heart with a background in physics, I find biochemical problems colorful and lots of fun to tackle. We have been lucky enough to train a small army of undergraduates – mostly women – some of whom became coauthors on publications. I am happiest when I succeed in conveying my love of science to young minds, and manage to find time to indulge in my love of music and the performing arts.

  • Marina A. Petrukhina

    Marina A. Petrukhina

    I am a chemist with research interests broadly spanning from synthetic and structural inorganic and organometallic chemistry of transition metal clusters and main group metals to the structures and reactivity, supramolecular chemistry and applications of novel nanocarbon materials.

    I love making new molecules and studying their unique structures and properties and try to pass this passion to all my students.

  • Annalisa Scimemi

    Annalisa Scimemi

    I am a synaptic physiologist, interested in determining the functional abnormalities that occur in the brain at the onset of various types of neuropsychiatric disease. Our lab is hands-on and brain-on: we assemble our own experimental equipment and bring together people with different expertise including (but not limited to): biology, physics, computer science, biomedical engineering, psychology. We love to talk science.

  • Wendy Turner

    Wendy Turner

    I am an animal and disease ecologist studying wildlife disease systems. My research focuses on parasites and pathogens that are transmitted indirectly and have a life stage or prolonged period in the environment. I’m particularly interested in how host, pathogen and environment together influence disease transmission and infection dynamics. My field-based approach integrates observational data with natural experiments, laboratory work in parasitology and microbiology, and draws upon related disciplines including physiology and immunology. I strongly value diversity in science and strive to support and train students from under-represented backgrounds.

  • Junhong (June) Wang

    Junhong (June) Wang

    I am an atmospheric scientist working on weather and climate observations and data analysis, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) measurements and applications, and climate variability and changes. At UAlbany, I am actively involved in building the first NYS Mesonet, a network of 125 weather stations across the state. It continues to be challenging to recognize who I am, a scientist, a mom, a wife, a Chinese, an American and so on. I would love to share my experience, mentor young women and learn from others and work together to strive for what we all love to do.

  • Sho-Ya Wang

    Sho Ya Wang

    I am a molecular pharmacologist using electrophysiological technology. My laboratory is interested in the structure-function relationship of Voltage-gated sodium channels. We study how various drugs and toxins interact with sodium channels. We applied the techniques mutagenesis, patch clamping and computer modeling in our research.

  • Joanna Workman

    Joanna Workman

    My research focuses on how maternal experience and lactation influence neurogenesis and neuron structure in the hippocampus. My goal is to understand biological bases of risk factors for postpartum depression shortly following giving birth and how these same factors alter hippocampus-dependent cognitive function across the lifespan. I find balance by playing co-ed recreational softball (I've been playing baseball/softball since I was 11!) and in other activities such as cooking and exploring the outdoors.