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VASE: Virtual Active Science Engagement

I started VASE because I saw a need for undergraduates to have small peer-network group discussions about science as a career, research experiences, and resources for success in science. I hope to unveil the hidden curriculum of academic science to prepare students to making decisions after graduating and success in their scientific life endeavors. 


Each week we will build confidence, gain knowledge, and practice talking about science. I host a guest speaker to share their research / life experiences nearly every week. I will share notes/lectures below here, if they are generally useful (highlighted in yellow). 


VASE is open to passionate undergraduates and recently graduate undergraduates who have not yet started postgraduate study. If you are interested in joining VASE, please fill out this brief google form. We would love to have you as part of our community.

If you are a STEM professional or graduate student/postdoc and want to speak to VASE to share your career, research, or other expertise, please fill out this form.

If you want to host a virtual itty project (VIP, a small research project for VASE students to gain exposure to your field / research tools, please fill out this form.  More about VIPs here

VASE 5.0 will will run October through December 2021, meeting on Sundays at 2p.m. PDT. 

Past VASE Topics & Speakers:

In the Summer of 2020, I put together structured mentoring and peer-networking time for a handful of undergraduates from across the country for 8 weeks. Due to the success of that program, we have continued VASE through 2020 and into 2021. 

VASE 1.0 Summer 2020

Week 01: How to Read a Scientific Paper  and follow-along worksheet for BIMM194
Week 02: Journal Club and Diving Deeper into a Paper

Week 03: Lightning Journal Club Presentations + How to Find a [Funded] Research Lab
Week 04: Visiting Speaker: Dr. Yusuf Tufail + Lab Share-Outs 

Week 05: Visiting Speaker: Sanjay Srivatsan (MD/PhD student) + introduction to MyIDP

Week 06: Visiting Speaker: Dr. Christine Vazquez (UPenn virologist) + myIDP Career Share-Outs

Week 07: Visiting Speaker: Rob Lampe  (PhD student in Oceanography) + the what/when/where/how of Grad School
Week 08: Visiting Speaker: Brooke Palus (Geneticist @ ClinGen) + Resource Share-Out /  Where to Go from Here 

VASE 2.0 Fall 2020

Week 01: Introductions & CV / Resume workshop

Week 02: Visiting Speaker: Dr. Seyma Katrinli, Postdoc @ Emory University studying psychiatric epigenetics + immunology 

Week 03:  Data Interpretation 01 | Figure Share-Outs | Invitation to do a Virtual Itty Project with Dr. Nimesha Tadepalle

Week 04: Visiting Speaker: Niba Nirmal, Plant Geneticist turned Science Communicator | mini-journal clubs

Week 04: Visiting Speaker: Jasmin Revanna, Neuroscience graduate student at UC-San Diego | mini journal clubs

Week 06: Visiting Speaker: Dr. Matthew F. Warren, postdoctoral researcher at University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying milk microbiome, immunology, and a bit of neurobio | how to find a research experience in the time of covid

Week 07: Dr. Josè Vargas-Muñiz, assistant professor @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale, fungal biologist | an introduction to imposter syndrome

Week 08: Research Experience Share-Outs [led by VASE students]

Week 09: Visiting Speakers: Arielle Fogle, Graduate Student in Evolutionary Anthropology @ Duke University & Mini Contreras, Graduate Student in Neuroscience @ UC-San Diego 

Week 10: Visiting Speaker: Kassandra Ford, graduate student @ University of Louisiana at Lafayette studying electric fishes | goal discussion groups 

VASE 3.0 Spring 2021 

Week 01: Dr. Cornelia Ding, MD/PhD Pathology Resident @ UCSF, former cancer geneticist 

Week 02: ​Dr. Ali Rosenberg, PhD, Scientist @ Bio Aesthetics, former biotech startup CEO, medical writer, neuroscientist/developmental biologist 

Week 03: Dr. Jimmy Chang, MD/PhD Candidate PhD in cardiology/cell biology, MD in pediatrics  at Northwestern

Week 04: Dr. Nirali M. Patel, MD - molecular pathologist overseeing the application of next generation sequencing for clinical use

Week 05: Dr. Marianne Hom, MD - OB/GYN specialty, research intern @ the Salk Institute in immunology/cancer biology

Week 06: Jess Haley, neuroscience PhD student who used to study neural activity in crabs, now studies behavior in worms using big  microscopes and complex computer programs.​

Week 07: Dr. Kayleigh O'Keeffe, PhD - postdoc @ UPenn studying ecological and evolutionary biology to better understand host-microbial interactions and disease 

Week08: Ivan Moreno, PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography who studies the the diversity of bacteria in extreme environments 🦠🧪 !​

Week 09: Dr. Helen McRae, PhD, postdoc @ Salk Institute in Immunology​/Cancer Biology

Week 10: Dr. Valerie Tornini, PhD, postdoc @ Yale studying developmental Biology, Cell Identity, Behavior, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Regeneration

VASE 4.0 Summer 2021

Week 01: Vivian Chiu, Graduate Student at CalTech in The David Anderson Research Group

Week 02: Me! 

Week 03: Cynthia Rodriguez, graduate student in Jennifer Martiny's lab in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Week 04: Dr. Laura Mydlarz, Professor, Biology UT-Arlington

Week 05: Dr. Ryoji Amamoto,Postdoc, Cepko Lab, Harvard Medical School. 

Week 06: Student presenters: Emily Morgan, Vanessa Langarica, Dawei Tang
Week 07: Dr. Casey Lindberg, Biologist at US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Week 08: Dr. Amy Hafez, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at NIH Office of Science Policy



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