Past Council Members

We would like to acknowledge some of the past PDC council members for the their contributions.

Aswin Sundarakrishnan was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering and worked under the mentorship of Prof. Celeste Nelson. His research is focused on understanding developmental mechanisms and control processes perturbed by cancer and other diseases towards elucidating new therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.  Aswin received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering under the mentorship of Prof. David Kaplan at Tufts University (Medford, MA). Aswin enjoys spending time outdoors. Aswin’s hobbies include running, high altitude hiking, scuba diving and walking his dog Zinc.

Cesar Carrasco-Lopez was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department (CBE). After getting his PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the Autonomous University of Madrid in 2012, while working in Protein Crystallography at the IQFR, he had a postdoctoral appointment at New York University in its new campus in Abu Dhabi. Here at CBE, his work is focused in Structural Biology applied to characterize and develop new biotechnological tools in Metabolic Engineering. Cesar is quite eclectic about reading but especially loves social Sci-Fi, and any precious free time, he would like to expend it in his native Caribbean.

Sarah A Port was a postdoc in the Department of Molecular Biology. Sarah studied in Germany, Switzerland and Singapore and received her PhD from the University of Goettingen, Germany. Her research focuses on the structure-function analysis of macromolecular complexes involved in intracellular transport. Sarah loves to travel and discover the world, as well as photography, hiking, music and spending time with friends.

Sandra Lemke was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) Department from 2019-2021. She studied Chemistry and Biochemistry in Munich, Germany, and conducted her PhD research at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. Sandra’s postdoctoral research is focused on the interplay between biomechanics and signaling during epithelial tissue morphogenesis.

Christian Arenz graduated with a degree in theoretical physics from the University of Saarbrücken (Germany) in 2012. Afterwards he worked for half a year as a teaching- and research assistant at the same university. In 2013 he started with a "Doctoral Career Development Scholarship" a PhD in mathematical physics at Aberystwyth University (Wales). His research was mainly focused on the analyzation and the control of open quantum systems using methods from control theory. Meanwhile he held a part-time lecturer position. He obtained his PhD in 2016. From July 2016 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Herschel Rabitz where he continued working on quantum control theory, the theory of open quantum systems and quantum information science. He is, since January 2022, an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University.

Moritz Kütt is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Program on Science and Global Security since Fall 2017. He received a PhD in physics (2016) from the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany. His research simulation of nuclear reactors, nuclear warhead verification technologies, application of virtual reality for arms control and disarmament, and the verification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Mike Galvinhas been a staff researcher since 2012 for the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department (from which he also received his Master's degree). As part of Princeton's High Contrast Imaging Lab, he designs instrumentation for space and ground telescopes, with the goal of directly imaging and characterizing exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system).  His holy grail is to find another Earth! Mike enjoys anything active (especially soccer and skiing), film, makerspaces, and design (in many forms).  He is serving as a liaison between the PDC and Princeton's staff researcher community.

Srishti Nayakhas been a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program since Fall 2017. She studied Cognitive Science in Canada and Singapore, and went on to earn her PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University in 2017. She currently teaches the writing seminar "Being and Becoming", about the complex forces that shape human development, and is part of an initiative to increase quantitative and statistical reasoning within the writing seminars. In parallel, her current research pertains to the cognitive and neural development of bilingual children, using Electroencephalography (EEG) methods. In her free time - and also for her teaching - Srishti reads a lot of non-fiction comic books.

Tirthankar Royjoined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a Postdoc in August 2017, right after completing his PhD at the University of Arizona. He did his bachelor’s and master’s studies in India, from BCKV (State Agricultural University) and IIT Kanpur respectively. He carried out his master’s thesis work at TU Dresden, Germany. Tirthankar is interested in addressing different scientific and engineering aspects of Hydrology.   

Fernanda Sofio is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. She got her MA in Clinical Psychology at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (2007) and her doctoral degree in Social Psychology at the University of São Paulo (2013). She is currently a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate in Portuguese and Spanish at Princeton University since February 2017. Fernanda has published books, journal articles, and book chapters about Psychoanalysis and the interpretive method.

Anja Metelmann is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Electrical Engineering since September 2015. Anja received her PhD in Physics from the Technical University in Berlin, Germany, and had her first postdoctoral position at the Physics Department of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her current research focuses on the theory of nonreciprocal photon propagation in open quantum systems. If she would have free time, she would spend it with books, b-ball and beautiful people.

Andreas Ritter graduated as Master of Physics at Potsdam University in Germany. He did his PhD in Physics and Astronomy at Macquarie University in Australia and had his first postdoc position at National Central University in Taiwan. In 2014 he joined the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. His hobbies include but are not limited to fishing, paragliding, hiking with his 3 dogs, and DJing.

Yan Shvartzshnaider is a visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Yan received his Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia. He is now working on privacy-preserving networked systems, such as Internet of Things and Fog computing. He is also interested in research commercialization, technology in general and the impossible!​

Bernhard Buchholz graduated as Diplom-Physiker (similar to Master of Physics) at “Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg” in Germany. He did his PhD “Development, primary validation and field deployment of novel calibration-free laser hygrometer for research aircraft” in the department of engineering at “Technische Universität Darmstadt” in Germany. In Jan 2016, he joined the department of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University. Besides his academia interests in other areas where he graduated as a Bachelor of Science in Business Informatics and as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Economics, he likes discussions, organizing, traveling, running, hiking and enjoying his life.

Vanisha Lakhina has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Lewis Sigler Institute of Integrative Genomics/Molecular Biology department since March, 2012. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied how zebrafish olfactory sensory axons navigate to their correct location in the brain. Vanisha is currently examining the molecular mechanisms of long-term memory and axonal regeneration upon injury in worms. She loves dancing, hiking and food!

Francois Laforge is an Associate Research Chemist. He received his Ph.D. from Queens College, New York in 2007. He is now working in Prof. Rabitz lab doing experimental research on optimal coherent control of quantum systems. Beside science, Francois likes Nature, camping, running, tennis, soccer, amateur electronics, woodworking and riding his awesome Yamaha WR250R motorcycle.

Denys Bondar is an Associate Research Scholar at the Department of Chemistry. Denys received his Ph.D. from University of Waterloo, Canada in 2011. He is currently working on developing novel theoretical and computational frameworks for non-equilibrium quantum statistical mechanics. In his free time, Denys likes to do something such that he does nothing.

Chaevia Clendinen​ received my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. While exploring alternative careers, I remain at Princeton as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. I enjoy the outdoors, video games, and spending time with family.

Laura Kraya was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. She arrived in Princeton in the summer of 2011 where she joined the Department of Electrical Engineering. Her research is in the area of surface and interface science, where her work has been focused on understanding the structure and property relationships in both organic and inorganic materials, with an emphasis on ferroelectric materials. She enjoys pilates, hiking, and theater!

Steph Weber is a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. She got her PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford, where she studied bacterial chromosome dynamics and polymer physics. Steph arrived at Princeton in Fall 2011 and is currently investigating mechanisms of size control in the nematode C. elegans. She enjoys hiking, running and watching worms grow!

Becky Sanders has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geosciences since July, 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University where she used solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to characterize the reactive surface area of clay minerals. She is currently researching changes to the carbon cycle of permafrost soils as the result of thawing conditions. She loves barre classes, watching football, and playing with her Havanese.

Pascal Diévart is an Associate Research Scholar in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Lille (France) where he studied the kinetic aspects of diesel fuel combustion. He joined Princeton University in March 2010. He currently investigates experimentally and theoretically the combustion properties of bio-fuels and jet-fuels. He likes baking and the color green.

Shani Elbaum was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Chemical and Bioengineering Department at Princeton. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University where she studied mechanisms of tau aggregation implicated in neurodegenerative disease. Shani is currently working on identifying the molecular forces underlying cellular phase transitions associated with RNA/protein granule assembly. These days she enjoys yoga, juicing and biking along the canal.