Executive Council

The USC Postdoctoral Association (or PDA) is governed by an executive council composed of postdoctoral scholars. The executives are elected each year, in late June, for a one-year term, based on nominations from active members of the PDA. The executive team for the 2016-2017 term is:


Dr. Stephanie Shishido, President, is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience focusing on the identification and characterization of circulating tumor cells from the liquid biopsy received from clinical trial cancer patients. Her interests focus on the interactions between the neoplastic cell and the microenvironment, specifically in relation to adhesion and intracellular communication, with an emphasis on cellular imaging, animal modeling, and molecular analyses.



Dr. Sara Rivero-Calle, Treasurer, is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Marine and Environmental Biology. Sara is interested in the intersection of biology and physics and how this affects global biogeochemical cycles and Earth’s climate. Her work at USC has focused on the fine scale variability and bridging the gap between the spatio-temporal scales of phytoplankton physiology processes (hours and micrometers) and the scales used to monitor and model the global ocean (days to months and kilometers to degrees).



Dr. Lee Gibbs, USC HSC Representative, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Translational Genomics at Keck School of Medicine. His research focuses on clinical translation validation of important molecular determinants of triple negative breast cancer in patients of African descent, as well as other rare and aggressive cancers that affect minorities and medically undeserved populations. He works with a multi-disciplinary team to evaluate genomic alterations acquired during tumor development and understand the functional significance of these events.


Dr. Marta Kubala, USC CHLA Representative, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She studies tumor microenvironment, specifically tumor associated macrophages and the role of plasminogen activation system in their migration and polarization.




Dr. Anna Kamitakahara, CHLA Representative, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Her research focuses on understanding the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of commonly co-occuring gastrointestial problems in children with autism spectrum disorder. LinkedIn

Dr. Novella Guidi, Professional Development Chair

Dr. Inna Arnaudova, Communications Chair 

Dr. Federico Pozzi, USC HSC Representative 


 Non-Executive Advisors

In addition to the executive team, the PDA solicits input from a few non-executive advisors, who represent various units within the university or provide continuity to new executive teams. Current non-executive advisors are:


Mr. Dan Carino, Associate Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. He enables the PDA to coordinate its activities with those of the university administration, and provides essential logistical support. In addition, he serves as a non-executive advisor to the PDA on all issues and activities, and provides continuity for incoming executive teams.





The PDA is seeking representatives from all USC postdoc constituencies. Representatives form a valuable link between the PDA and individual communities (such as departments, schools, or campuses). In addition, they allow under-represented postdocs to leverage the PDA’s resources and visibility to issues that are relevant to their communities.


Join the Council

The PDA’s Executive Council seeks out nominations for all positions at the beginning of every summer, and elections follow after a month. For vacant positions, nominations are encouraged and accepted year-round. Interested postdocs are strongly encouraged to inquire with the Executive Council about ways to get involved prior to the nomination period. There are numerous ways to contribute.