Kene Anumba is a second-year Ph.D. student in physics, where he currently works with Professor Dan Scolnic. His research focuses on Type Ia Supernovae (SNe) Cosmology, developing simulation-based methods to understand the expansion history of the universe and measurement of distances across cosmic time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Prior to his doctoral studies at Duke, he worked as an enterprise architect for a financial services firm. Additionally, he is an involved member of the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG). In his leisure time, he enjoys playing the piano and has a keen interest in traveling.
Odmaa Bayaraa is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Genetics and Genomics program (UPGG). As a member of the Gregory lab, she investigates the susceptibility of specific brain regions to Alzheimer’s disease using single-cell and spatial genomic methods. She is originally from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and received her B.S. in biology from New York University Abu Dhabi. Outside of the lab, she explores her passion for STEM outreach through programs like BOOST Beyond and DOinGG. In her free time, Odmaa enjoys painting and drawing, doing yoga, and climbing at the Wilson wall.
Qifeng Cheng, a first-year physics graduate student, bridges the realms of cosmology and art. From biomedical engineering to astronomy, her journey is fueled by interdisciplinary innovation. She leads research on dwarf novae, using data-driven models to unveil cosmic mysteries. Committed to merging diverse ideas, she’s passionate about starting an interdisciplinary club at Duke. Outside academics, she creatively merges her love for astronomy with artistic expressions like her “Harry Potter Astronomy” narrative and enjoys K-pop dancing. Her path exemplifies the synergy of scientific inquiry and artistic creativity, fostering unique insights and inspiring new perspectives.
Paula Collado is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology. She is originally from Spain, and she received her bachelor’s degree in both biochemistry/molecular biology and mathematics from Rollins College, FL, where she also played on the tennis team. At Duke, she joined the He Lab, and her research focuses on the effects of salt stress on plant immunity. She is also the Outreach Coordinator of Duke F1RSTS and works on climate change initiatives in the Biology Department. Outside of the lab, she likes playing tennis, going to the gym, reading, and traveling.
Dakota Douglas T’22 is passionate about promoting equity in healthcare for marginalized communities. Her experiences living with family and friends with disabilities influence her understanding of the challenges associated with vulnerable communities, specifically in healthcare. She's worked with local, state, and national health policy organizations to research health equity interventions. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke in biology and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Bioethics and Science Policy, during which she's learning to leverage equity in health policy through mindful AI usage, health law reform, and policy advocacy. Her goal is to earn both an M.D. and a J.D. and work in medical-legal advocacy.
Edmund Handby, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Political Science. He completed his Ph.D. at the Australian National University in 2023. His research examines methodological questions in the history of political thought, empirically informed political theory, and politics, philosophy, and economics. His work has appeared in The Journal of Politics and The Journal of the Philosophy of History. He has also guest-edited a special issue on Jonathan Floyd’s “Is Political Philosophy Impossible,” out in Political Studies Review.
Greg Hernandez is a third-year Ph.D. student in Dr. Steven Cummer’s group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Before arriving at Duke, Greg earned a B.S. in Audio and Music Engineering from the University of Rochester as well as an M.S. in Acoustical Engineering from the University of Southampton while studying abroad on a Fulbright Scholarship. Supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Greg’s research focuses on the application of acoustic metamaterials and electroacoustics, such as completely removing noise from an environment or making sound clearer from a source. Outside of academia, Greg enjoys teaching and outreach, powerlifting, kayaking, building loudspeakers, and performing as an electronic musician.
Ningjie Hu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Earth and Climate Sciences program. Her research centers on the river and delta dynamics in the coastal zone and their responses to climate changes. She is also enrolled in the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate program and hopes to use the certificate program to sharpen her skills in connecting science and business to solve sustainable challenges. She received her M.S. in geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin before coming to Duke. In her free time, Ningjie enjoys baking, hiking and playing board games. She also operates an Etsy shop selling wedding-related products.
Christopher Kaminski is a second-year Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering and materials science. Christopher studies in the Aeroelasticity group under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Hall. He works on harmonic balance analysis for unsteady aerodynamic phenomena in turbomachinery. He hopes that this research will lead to a greater theoretical and practical understanding of phenomena such as Non-Synchronous Vibration for turbomachinery blades, leading to longer turbofan engine lifespans and greater reliability. Christopher received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Central Florida, and then he worked briefly in the aerospace industry on Florida’s Space Coast.
Jarrett Mansergh is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in chemistry in the Therien lab studying bioenergetic charge transfer mechanisms via molecular and de novo protein constructs. After graduating this spring, Jarrett wants to work at the intersection of business and science with research objectives centered around energy harvesting, carbon sequestering, and environmental sustainability. Outside of lab, Jarrett has sought to improve graduate student life through his past roles as Graduate Chemistry Council President and Graduate and Professional Student Representative. In his spare time, Jarrett enjoys running, craft beer, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Alessandro Martinino, M.D. is a first-generation medical doctor and current postdoctoral associate. He is driven by three fundamental principles: ambition, devotion, and passion. These guiding values have played a pivotal role in his journey towards becoming an aspiring academic surgeon. Serving as the president of the Junior Researchers Committee at AISNA and as a trustee for TUGSS reflects his commitment to academic excellence and leadership. He is dedicated to going the extra mile, investing the necessary time and effort to achieve his life goals. In his free time, he channels his enthusiasm into culinary arts and sports.
Shonagh Russell, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral associate in Dr. McDonnell’s lab in the Pharmacology and Cancer Biology Department. Since high school, she has been interested in cancer biology; during her Ph.D., she studied the tumor microenvironment, and in her postdoc she focuses on therapeutic resistance in ovarian cancer. She has undertaken professional development activities with the support of her mentor, including project management internships with Duke OASIS and CTSI. With her oncology background and dedication to professional development, she plans to become a team leader successfully conducting oncology clinical trials.
Yicheng (Catherine) Wang is a first-year M.S. student in statistical science. Over the past three years, she has contributed to climate change research projects, employing data science and operations research methodologies. Before coming to Duke, she earned her B.S. in mathematics and economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At Duke, she serves on the Climate Commitment Advisory Council Research Subcommittee, Graduate and Professional Young Trustee Nominating Committee, and Statistical Science Graduate Consultative Committee. She’s also passionate about diverse jazz fusion dance styles, specializing in Chinese-style jazz and contemporary jazz and studying at HELLODANCE, one of the top Chinese street dance studios.
Jing Yuan, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Population Health Sciences, studying clinical outcome assessments to ensure that the voices of patients and caregivers are heard. She received her Ph.D. in lifespan developmental psychology from NC State University in 2021, where she developed her quantitative and theoretical expertise in examining the developmental trajectories and the social determinants of cognitive and psychological health across the adult lifespan. During her postdoctoral research at NC state, she leveraged her knowledge and skills in developing cognitive assessment during walking and understanding amputee patients' preferences on medical devices using a mixed-method approach.
Amir Pasha Zamani, Ph.D. describes himself as having embarked on an interdisciplinary journey, seamlessly merging engineering methodologies across mental, biological, and social systems. With an engineering master’s from SRTTU University of Tehran, a second master's in cognitive sciences from HSE University of Moscow, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Barcelona, he explores mind-body enigmas through both reductionist and holistic approaches. As a postdoctoral researcher at Duke, Amir contributes to a Computational Social Neuroscience project in the SSRI department, investigating intricacies of interactional synchrony. Beyond academia, he likes to share insights through public engagement, envisioning positive transformations in regions like the Middle East.