People

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Our Team

Yari Fontebasso
Yari Fontebasso

President. Yari is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UCLA. Yari’s current research interest is focused on exploring drug targets that can interfere with metastatic disease in lung carcinogenesis. Yari holds a MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies from the University of Padova and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Sussex. In 2015, he joined BCLA as an Outreach and Marketing Lead, a role that gave him the opportunity to connect academic realities and industry in the

Carolina Amador
Carolina Amador

Vice President Carolina is a PhD student in medicinal chemistry at USC. Her research involves the synthesis of biomolecules that function as drug targets for a series of diseases. Carolina holds a MS in Chemistry and a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Aveiro in Portugal. During her masters, she conducted her dissertation research at Roche in Basel, Switzerland, which exposed her to the dynamic nature of the pharmaceutical industry. Carolina is passionate about entrepreneu

Stefanie Volland
Stefanie Volland

Co-Founder of BCLA Stefanie Volland is a postdoctoral scholar at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, focused on cutting edge imaging techniques. She previously received her PhD from the University of Salzburg, Austria and has a background in cell biology and ecology. Dr. Volland’s interest in the translation of research into meaningful solutions and products lead her to co-found BCLA with Dr. Katrina Choe. Dr. Volland served as the president of the organization for the past two years and was invol

Katrina Choe
Katrina Choe

Co-Founder of BCLA Katrina Choe is a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA in Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute, who received her PhD from McGill University. Her current research is focused on neuronal circuit abnormalities, which cause impaired social behaviors in autism. Dr. Choe co-founded BCLA because she was interested in fostering healthcare innovations. She served as the organization’s Event Lead for the last two years. During this time, Dr. Choe contributed to the rapid growth in the organization’

Arthela Osorio
Arthela Osorio

Outreach and Marketing Lead Arthela is a biotechnology professional who is currently working in the medical device industry. She received her MS in Biotechnology from Cal State Channel Islands and a BS in Medical Biology from UCR. Her primary focus is to bridge the gap between academia and industry to drive successful, novel innovations for technological advancements in healthcare. Through BCLA she hopes to facilitate collaborations between biotech companies and academics of Los Angeles.

Radhika Palkar
Radhika Palkar

Event Lead Radhika is currently a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Southern California. She studies the neural circuitry of temperature sensation and how it can be manipulated to alleviate itch-pathology. She is highly motivated by the translational nature of her work, and would like to spend the rest of her career bringing medical solutions from the bench to the bedside. As an the Event Lead for BCLA, she looks forward to working on increasing communica

Jacqueline Sayyah
Jacqueline Sayyah

Industry Ambassador Jacqueline Sayyah is a medical writer at Amgen with a background in cancer research. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at UCSD and her PhD at the University of Florida. Her postdoctoral work involved investigating the role of G protein-coupled receptors and their downstream targets in glioblastoma cell proliferation and tumor growth. As an Indusry Ambassador for BCLA, she is excited to help foster innovation in academia and the biotechnology sector.

Charles Caldwell
Charles Caldwell

Campus Ambassador Charles is a PhD student at USC School of Pharmacy pursuing a degree in clinical and experimental therapeutics. He is also working on a Masters in regulatory science. He previously graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Biochemistry. His future interests lie in building Los Angeles as the next biotech-hub and consulting with venture groups to help jump start the next entrepreneurs. Charles hopes to improve BCLA’s outreach efforts on the USC health sciences campus.

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Umesh Ahuja
Umesh Ahuja
Lisa Walter
Lisa Walter
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