Student Representatives

Molecular and Medical Pharmacology Student and Postdoc Representatives

Each year graduate students and postdocs are elected by their peers to representative positions. Students and postdocs will be selected both from the Molecular and Medical Pharmacology graduate program and the Interdepartmental Program in Biomedical Physics. These representatives play a critical role in enriching graduate student life through recruitment and orientation of new students, participation in Graduate Training Committee meetings, organization of the Pharmacology retreats, coordinating special events and communicating the needs of the graduate students to the Graduate Training Committee and the department chair. They also participate in faculty meetings. Through these activities, the student representatives gain valuable leadership experience, the ability to positively influence the department’s graduate program, and serve as an information conduit between the graduate students and the faculty.

Meet our current representatives:

Brian Truong

Brian is a 4th year graduate student in Dr. Gerald Lipshutz’s lab. He received his bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA in 2014. Brian’s research project focuses on developing patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell-based gene therapy strategies for treatment of urea cycle disorders such as arginase deficiency. When he is not in lab, he enjoys going to the gym to lift weights and box in addition to exploring the LA food and beer scene.    

Nebula Han

Nebula (Jiaying) Han is a 2nd year graduate student in Dr. Donald Kohn’s lab. She received her bachelor degree from Rice University in 2016, where she double majored in Biochemistry and Visual Arts. Nebula’s research project focuses on improving the efficiency of lentiviral transduction in hematopoietic stem cells for gene therapy. Outside of lab, Nebula likes to explore the art, music, and dance scenes of LA. She also loves to travel the world and learn about local culture and history. 

Mehrdad Balandeh

Mehrdad Balandeh obtained his BSc and MSc degrees in Materials Science and Engineering. His master’s thesis research was focused on the synthesis and characterization of LiNiO2 nanoparticles as cathode materials for Lithium-ion batteries. He conducted his PhD research in electrochemistry at University of Limerick, Ireland where his research was focused on the effects of electrochemical pretreatments on the kinetics of some electrode reactions on carbon and palladium. Dr. Balandeh demonstrated pronounced and exceedingly reproducible effects on the electro-catalytic activity of carbon surfaces due to cathodic or anodic pretreatments. Remarkably, he showed that quinone-hydroquinone, Fe3+-Fe2+ and VO4+-VO5+, electrode reactions are enhanced by cathodic pretreatment while others are enhanced by anodic pretreatment. These results are very important in the context of flow batteries and other systems using carbon electrodes. In 2016, he joined to the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to continue his postdoctoral research. His current research involves electrochemical fluorination and radiofluorination of organic molecules to develop new Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracers.