Old About Us

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 2015-2016 term is:



Dr. Prithivi Chellamuthu, President, is an environmental scientist, inspired by Rachel Carson, interested in addressing environmental and public health challenges. Currently, he works as a postdoc in a biophysics lab, where his research work focuses on gene regulation, green chemistry, and using synthetic biology approach to synthesize nanomaterials. He is also interested in science communication, sustainability, urban farming, fermentation (beers mostly), exploring our blue planet, and meeting wonderful homo sapiens and eco-entrepreneurs.LinkedIn



Dr. Hillary Plummer, Vice President, , is a postdoctoral research associate in the Clinical Biomechanics Orthopedic and Sports Outcomes Research lab in the Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy. Her research interests include investigating upper extremity injury mechanisms as well as developing and implementing training protocols for injury prevention and performance optimization in athletes. LinkedIn




hamedDr. Hamed Mirzaei, Professional Development Chair, is a postdoctoral research associate with the Davis School of Gerontology. His research focuses on dietary intervention as a treatment for aging-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Outside the world of academia, he has founded the Hamed Mirzaei Foundation for Arts and Sciences, which aims to advance the public understanding of knowledge in the community. LinkedIn



dominiqueDr. Dominique Duncan, Communications Chair, is a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Arthur Toga at the USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute. Her research focuses on developing mathematical methods to analyze neuroimaging data for applications such as Alzheimer’s Disease and epilepsy. LinkedIn




 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. Mohan Singh, USC PDA Council Member, is a postdoctoral research associate studying the Hedgehog signaling pathway in hematological malignancies at the Division of Hematology, Keck School of Medicine.




AKK HeadshotDr. 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. Furthermore, she is committed to mapping the complex neural connections between the developing brain and the gut  LinkedIn



NOTE: The position of Secretary is currently vacant! Contact the President for more details.

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 is the 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 operates through sub-committees, or groups focused on specific aspects of the PDA’s activities or postdoctoral life at USC. Our current sub-committees are:

Administrative Sub-Committee

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Treasurer

Events Sub-Committee

  • USC Networking Chair
  • HSC Networking Chair
  • Professional Development Chair
  • Treasurer

Planning, Structure and Policy Sub-Committee

  • President
  • Vice-President

Ad-hoc Sub-Committees

Ad-hoc subcommittees are also often used for specific projects or advocacy activities. They offer interested postdocs the chance to get involved in a manner that accommodates their schedule and work on topics that interest them.

If you would like to join (or form) a sub-committee, please let us know!


We are seeking representatives from all constituencies to serve alongside the Executive Council. Representatives can inform and guide the PDA’s policies and decisions by voicing the concerns of specific postdoc groups. In addition, they can communicate information about PDA activities and other opportunities within their own constituencies.

Currently, the PDA includes representatives for:

  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

If you are interested in becoming a representative for your constituency, please contact us at uscpda@usc.edu.


Click here to download the bylaws (PDF).