Previous Postdoc Slam Competitions

Click on a Postdoc Slam event to see details of that year's competition.

Postdoc Slam 2022

September 21, 2022 — Genentech Hall + Live Stream

Read the news story: Cellular Whodunnit Nabs Top Prize at 2022 Postdoc Slam

Watch video of the full 2022 event

Prize Winners:


  • Huong Kratochvil, PhD (William DeGrado, faculty mentor) - Going With the Flow: Protons on the Move
  • Jianlong Li, PhD (Sarah Knox, faculty mentor) - Nerve Against Gray Hair
  • Amanda McQuade, PhD (Martin Kampmann, faculty mentor) - Interfering With Interferon
  • David Moses, PhD (Edward Chang, faculty mentor) - Restoring Lost Words: Building a Brain Implant to Help Patients Speak Again
  • Irene Ojeda Naharros, PhD (Maxence Nachury, faculty mentor) - One Hair to Rule Them All
  • Neha Pincha Shroff, PhD (Ophir Klein, faculty mentor) - The Mechanics of Growth – May the Pressure Be With You 

Event Judges:

  • Peter Chin-Hong, MD, associate dean and professor in the School of Medicine, and infectious disease expert
  • Sona Chowdhury, PhD, specialist in the Department of Medicine at UCSF, and top prize winner in the 2018 UCSF Postdoc Slam
  • Mina Kim, award-winning reporter and anchor, and host of the 10 a.m. statewide hour of KQED public radio's Forum program
  • Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, vice chancellor of Diversity and Outreach, and professor of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care
  • Katherine Nielsen, MS, MA, director of UCSF's Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP), and co-founder of the Bay Area Science Festival

Postdoc Slam 2019

September 19, 2019 — Genentech Hall

Read the news story: "One-Eyed Sheep" Talk Takes Top Prize at 2019 Postdoc Slam

Watch video of the full 2019 event

Prize Winners:

  • Grand Prize: Ishan Deshpande, PhD (Aashish Manglik, faculty mentor) - From One-eyed Sheep to Anti-cancer Drugs
  • Second Prize: Aparna Bhaduri, PhD (Arnold Kriegstein, faculty mentor) - The Jumping Cells of Brain Cancer
  • Third Prize: Brian Chiou, PhD (Xianhua Piao, faculty mentor) - Myelin: Getting on My Nerves
  • People's Choice: Ziyang Zhang, PhD (Kevan Shokat, faculty mentor) - Always on My Mind – Guiding Drugs Into the Brain


  • Danielle Carroll, MD (Aenor Sawyer, faculty mentor) - Rocket Surgery: The Future of Medicine on the Moon and on Mars
  • Lisa Chesner, PhD (Felix Feng, faculty mentor) - How Do Prostate Cancer Cells Hide from the Immune System?
  • Joel Finbloom, PhD (Tejal Desai, faculty mentor) - Storming Bacterial Biofilm Fortresses with Nanotechnology
  • Sasha Gorrell, PhD (Daniel Le Grange and Linda Pfiffner, faculty mentors) - Eating Disorders and Exercise: Are You Running to Win or Get Thin?
  • Jessica Kotov, PhD (Jason Cyster, faculty mentor) - Plasma Cells: To Stay or Not to Stay
  • Nina Serwas, PhD (Matthew Krummel, faculty mentor) - Tasting the Difference: Big Eaters in the Immune System 

Event Judges:

  • Eric Evans, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Myriad Women's Health
  • B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, Dean, UCSF School of Pharmacy
  • Moira Gunn, PhD, Associate Professor, University of San Franisco, and host of NPR’s Tech Nation
  • Sara Kenkare-Mitra, PhD, Senior Vice President of Development Sciences, Genentech
  • Francesca Vega, Vice Chancellor, Community and Government Relations, UCSF

Postdoc Slam 2018

September 26, 2018 — Genentech Hall

Read the news story: Talk on "Butt Cancer" Tackles Taboo with Humor to Win 2018 Postdoc Slam

Watch video of the full 2018 event

Prize Winners:

  • Grand Prize: Sona Chowdhury, PhD (Joel Palefsky, faculty mentor) - But, the "Butt Cancer" that No One Talks About
  • Second Prize: Will Schuerman, PhD (Edward Chang and Matthew Leonard, faculty mentors) - Sparking Neural Plasticity
  • Third Prize: Lyndsay Murrow, PhD (Zev Gartner, faculty mentor) - Mapping Breast Cancer Risk
  • People's Choice: Sona Chowdhury, PhD


  • Ivan Osokine, MD, PhD (Adrian Erlebacher, faculty mentor) - How Mom's Uterine Tissue Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Homa Majd, PhD (Faranak Fattahi, faculty mentor) - A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Neurons Go Down
  • Douglas Totten, PhD (Karunesh Ganguly, faculty mentor) - Coordinating Stroke Recovery: A Stimulating Approach
  • Melinda Barkhuizen, PhD (Dena Dubal, faculty mentor) - The X-factor in Parkinson's Disease
  • Erin Vogel, PhD (Daniel Ramo, faculty mentor) - Comparing and Despairing: How Social Media Affects Us and What We Can Do About It
  • Lydia Le Page, PhD (Myriam Chaumeil, faculty mentor) - Fuel for Thought
  • Colleen Carpenter, PhD (Scott Baraban, faculty mentor) - Zebrafish Tales: An Aquarium-to-Bedside Approach for Epilepsy

Event Judges:

  • Daniel Lowenstein, MD, UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
  • Michael Penn, MD, PhD, Director of Diversity in Basic Science Faculty, UCSF Office of Diversity & Outreach
  • Ann Reid, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education
  • Chris Shaffer, MS, UCSF University Librarian and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Information Management
  • Evelyn Strauss, PhD, Freelance Science Writer and Editor

Postdoc Slam 2017

September 19, 2017 — Genentech Hall

Read the news story: "Mighty Tooth" Talk Wins Second Annual Postdoc Slam Competition

Watch video of the full 2017 event

Prize Winners:

  • Grand Prize: Sarah Engelberth, PhD (Stefan Habelitz, faculty mentor) - The Tooth: Small But Mighty
  • Runner Up: Christy Sheehy, PhD (Ari Green, faculty mentor) - The Eye: A Window Into Our Brain
  • People's Choice: Christy Sheehy, PhD


  • Selim Boudoukha, PhD (Hiten Madhani, faculty mentor) - When a Loose Thread Becomes a Threat!
  • Sol Fereres-Rapoport, PhD (Tom Kornberg, faculty mentor) - Don't Talk to Your Neighbor
  • Leonardo Ferreira, PhD (Jeff Bluestone and Qizhi Tang, faculty mentors) - How to Cure Type 1 Diabetes Using Immunology
  • Aaron Hardin, PhD (Nadav Ahituv, faculty mentor) - Why Are Your Nipples There?
  • Yue Leng, PhD (Kristine Yaffe, faculty mentor) - Sleep to Save the Aging Brain
  • Melanie Morrison, PhD (Janine Lupo, faculty mentor) - Pediatric Brain Cancer and Radiation Therapy: The Good the Bad and the Ugly
  • Ana Ruiz-Saenz, PhD (Mark Moasser, faculty mentor) - Finding a New Achilles' Heel in Cancer
  • Yvette van der Eijk, PhD (Stella Bialous and Stan Glantz, faculty mentors) - Tobacco Control and Free Choice: An Oxymoron?

Event Judges:

  • Daniel Lowenstein, MD, UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
  • Pete Farley, Director of Communications for Research and Education, UCSF University Relations
  • Kishore Hari, Director, Bay Area Science Festival
  • Lesley McClurg, Science Correspondent for KQED and NPR
  • Jacob Ward, Writer and Television Correspondent

Postdoc Slam 2016

September 22, 2016 — Genentech Hall

Read the news story: Smoking Cessation Talk Wins Inaugural UCSF Postdoc Slam Competition

Watch video of the full 2016 event

Prize Winners:


  • Alba Gonzalez Junca, PhD (Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, faculty mentor), Why Do Astronauts Have Increased Risk of Cancer?
  • Burcu Hasdemir, PhD (Aditi Bhargava, faculty mentor) - Relaxed or Stressed? The Placenta Foretells the Fetal Future
  • Samantha Hindle, PhD (Roland Bainton, faculty mentor) - Controlling Hormonal Behavior of Flies, Mice and Men
  • Elena Minones-Moyano, PhD (Dena Dubal, faculty mentor) - We Could All Use a Bit More of Our X Chromosome
  • Jeremiah Osteen, PhD (David Julius, faculty mentor) - Painful Lessons: What a Tarantula Bite Teaches Us about Chronic Pain
  • Travis Ruch, PhD (Joanne Engel, faculty mentor) - Molecular Compass
  • Ana Ruiz-Saenz, PhD (Mark Moasser, faculty mentor) - Overcoming Resistance to Anti-Cancer Therapies
  • Anthony Rush, PhD (Michael Fischbach, faculty mentor) - Equipping Your Inner Pharmacist

Event Judges

  • Teaster Baird, PhD, Associate Professor, chemistry and biochemistry, San Francisco State University (and UCSF postdoc alum)
  • Sylvain Cases, PhD, Senior Director and head of External Science and Partnering for Sanofi US West in San Francisco (and UCSF/Gladstone postdoc alum)
  • Mark Dresser, PhD, head of Development Sciences at Denali Therapeutics (and UCSF PhD alum)
  • Jennifer O'Brien, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs at UCSF
  • Clifton Poodry, PhD, Senior Fellow for science education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute