Leadership 2023-2024

Jessica Palalay

Hi! I’m Jessica and I’m excited to be the MCB GSA President! I’m a fourth-year in Joe Sanfilippo’s lab and I am interested in understanding P. aeruginosa surface adhesion in a dynamic environment. Outside of the lab, you can probably find me on my scooter or walking my puppy on campus.
Rachel Martini
Hello! My name is Rachel and I am very excited to be serving as Vice-President for the MCB GSA! Currently, I am a 6th-year student in Dr. Van Der Donk lab. Outside of lab, I enjoy dancing and baking.
Communications Coordinator
Temirlan Shilikbay
Hi! My name is Temirlan Shilikbay, and I am a 5th-year Ph.D. student at Stephanie Ceman’s lab. I’m studying a gene called Mov10 and how its absence affects mouse brain structure and functioning. In the GSA, I help organize various fantastic events for graduate students and advertise them on our website and social media. Outside of work, I like to climb, play badminton and soccer, watch YouTube and Netflix, and hang out with my friends.
Outreach Coordinators
Caroline Vermilya

Rayeed Ihsan
Hey, I’m Caroline! I am a third year PhD candidate in the Kehl-Fie laboratory within the Microbiology Department. I am very excited to be an Outreach Coordinator for the MCB GSA. Outside of doing science, I enjoy weightlifting and taking care of my “zoo” (I have seven pets).
Social Events Coordinators
Tori Boyle

Suhail Chhakara
Hi, my name is Tori Boyle, and I’m a microbiology graduate student in Asma Hatoum-Aslan’s lab. Our lab studies the arsenal of defense systems that prokaryotes harbor in response to invading bacteriophages, and my work is focused on discovering novel immune strategies in staphylococci. In my free time, I love hanging out with my dog and two cats and singing in one of the UIUC choirs. I’m excited to serve as your social events coordinator!

General Board Members

Saika Hossain Courtney Hill
Mireille Farjo
Vanessa Jones
Hi! My name is TJ and it is my first time serving GSA! I am a 6th-year student in Kai Zhang’s lab and I study a cell death pathway called necroptosis using an optogenetic approach. Aside from lab activities, I like to watch YouTube and spend time with my family!

First-year board members
Brooke Bouwens

Abigail Spaulding

Gracious Donkor
Madhusree Seal
Diptika Raut
Gabe McKenna
Lucy Liu
Shengyi Fei
I am interested in biochemistry in my future Ph.D. studies. I am from Michigan and am excited to move to UC. Some of my favorite things to do are make coffee and work out!

Hello! My name is Abigail Spaulding, and I am a first year in the MCB program. I hope to join a biochemistry lab that focuses on molecular pathways and signaling. In my free time, I enjoy reading, trying new restaurants, and spending time with my cat!