2019 Postdoc Slam Finalists

The finalists in the 2019 Postdoc Slam competition at UC San Francisco have been announced! These ten postdocs, representing a wide range of disciplines, will compete to win a top prize of $3,000 at a lively event on September 19.


Modeled on the Grad Slam contest for graduate students now held across all ten campuses of the University of California, Postdoc Slam challenges postdoctoral scholars to present a compelling presentation of their research in just three minutes or less, using language that not only their peers – but also non-specialists – will understand. The September 19 event is a highlight of UCSF's celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week

The Finalists

photo of 7 of the finalists

(Carroll, Chesner and Serwas were not immediately available for photos.)

Aparna Bhaduri, PhD  
(Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, mentor)
Danielle Carroll, MD
(Aenor Sawyer, MD, MS mentor)
Lisa Chesner, PhD
(Felix Feng, MD, mentor)
Brian Chiou, PhD
(Xianhua Piao, MD, PhD, mentor)
Ishan Deshpande, PhD
(Aashish Manglik, MD, PhD, mentor)
Joel Finbloom, PhD
(Tejal Desai, PhD, mentor)
Sasha Gorrell, PhD 
(Daniel Le Grange, PhD, and Linda Pfiffner, PhD, mentors)
Jessica Kotov, PhD
(Jason Cyster, PhD, mentor)
Nina Serwas, PhD 
(Matthew Krummel, PhD, mentor)
Ziyang Zhang, PhD 
(Kevan Shokat, PhD, mentor)

This year's live event judges are: 

Eric Evans, PhD, chief scientific officer of Myriad Women’s Health
B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy
Moira Gunn, PhD, associate professor at the University of San Francisco and host of Tech Nation on National Public Radio
Sara Kenkare-Mitra, PhD, senior vice president of development sciences at Genentech
Francesca Vega, newly appointed vice chancellor of community and goverment relations at UCSF

(Read more about the judges.)

Twenty-four postdoctoral scholars submitted their talks on video to enter the Postdoc Slam contest. A team of seven preliminary judges, which included both faculty scientists as well as non-scientist staff members from across UCSF, reviewed the videos and chose the 10 finalists.

Anyone in the UCSF community is welcome to attend Postdoc Slam. The postdocs will present their research live in Byers Auditorium at Mission Bay, where Graduate Dean Elizabeth Watkins will emcee. The event will also be livestreamed to the  Parnassus campus (N 217), where Assistant Dean for Postdocs Gabriela Monsalve will host. There will be a trivia contest for the audience at Byers and a catered reception at both locations.

audience holds up sign at previous postdoc slam event

The event will conclude with an announcement of the winner, who will be awarded $3,000. The postdoc in 2nd place will receive $1,500, 3rd place – $1,000, and the “people’s choice” winner, chosen by the audience present, will get $750. Non-prize-winning finalists will each receive a $100 Amazon gift card.