Current YGCC Leadership

Gannon Connor, Co-President

Gannon is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Chemistry, studying new, sustainable methods to convert nitrogen in the air into ammonia or nitric acid for fertilizer production. He is also passionate about science outreach and developing new chemistry outreach programs in the greater New Haven area in collaboration with Common Ground High School and Yale Pathways to Science. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he studied water-stable catalysts to generate hydrogen fuel using electricity. Despite growing up in Virginia Beach, he has never learned to surf, but he does enjoy long walks on the beach, as well as cooking, playing soccer, and watching scary movies.

Ema Tanovic, Co-Vice President of Content

Ema is a sixth-year PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology. Her research focuses on the neural and cognitive mechanisms of how people respond to uncertainty. She performs psychotherapy and assessment with patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and neurodegenerative disorders. Before coming to Yale, Ema graduated from Wesleyan University with high honors. She loves animals and meat-based cuisine, a tension that has made her passionate about the business of plant-based and lab-grown meat. After graduation, Ema will be joining the Boston Consulting Group as a Consultant. 

Chun Hu, Co-Vice President of Pro Bono Activities

Chun is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Pharmacology at the Yale School of Medicine and Cancer Biology Institute.  Coming from a neuroscience background, Chun is now studying the oncogenic mechanisms of glioblastoma to understand how cells encode dynamic inputs to make cell fate decisions.  Chun is also a Canaan-Yale Venture Fellow, helping a $5B VC firm conduct due diligence for early-stage investments.  In his free time, he enjoys cooking all things Asian, kickboxing, and film photography.

Woo Young Cho, Vice President of Communications

Woo Young is a fifth-year Ph.D candidate in Chemistry. Her research involves discovering and characterizing small molecules produced by human microbiota that modulate the immune system. She enjoys mentoring future scientists through the Yale Science Festival, CT STEM Fair, and 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures. She also likes going on long road trips, hiking, and practicing calligraphy.

Niraja Chopade, Vice President of Activities

Niraja is a first year Master of Environmental Management student at Yale. She studies the nexus of business, energy and the environment and is passionate about corporate sustainability and renewable energy. Prior to Yale, Niraja, who was a recipient of the prestigious Chief Minister’s Fellowship, worked with the Government of Maharashtra on the strategy and execution of various government schemes and initiatives. In her free time Niraja loves going to the gym, cooking, reading and watching movies.

Colleen Lopez, Ph.D., Vice President of Programming

Colleen is a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center in the School of Medicine.  Her research focuses on cardiac stem cells and tissue engineering approaches to test cardiovascular repair and regeneration with the goal of understanding cardiovascular disease mechanisms, as well as, development of novel therapeutic interventions.  Dr. Lopez is also a current Yale Accelerator for Innovation Development (Y-AID) Fellow and holds an NIH T32 training fellowship. Prior to Yale she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Oxford and has worked for over 10 years in research both in academic and Biotech settings. Her experience has provided extensive experience in research-based projects, technical writing, analytical thinking, and team management. When she is not in the lab, she loves playing soccer, traveling the world, dancing, and wine!  

Brian Bink, Co-president

Brian is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Social Psychology. His research focuses on communication patterns of goal-support within romantic relationships, and how various approaches to goal-support influence relationship satisfaction. In addition to his role at YGCC, Brian is a McDougal Career Fellow at the Office of Career Strategy where he helps students explore career paths in business and technology. Before coming to Yale, he served in the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer on a submarine. In his free time, Brian enjoys woodworking, and anything that allows him to be outdoors with his dog.

Xiruo Li, Co-Vice President of Content

Xiruo is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Cellular & Molecular Physiology and Internal Medicine/Endocrinology at the Yale School of Medicine. Xiruo focuses on applying stable isotope tracer methods to understand obesity-induced inflammation and the mechanisms by which adiponectin reverses insulin resistance. In addition to her role at YGCC, Xiruo also works at Office of Cooperative Research to help facilitate patent application and transfer of technology. In her free times, she enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking as well as watching anime.

Kendall Arslanian, Ph.D., Co-Vice President of Pro Bono Activities

Kendall just finished her PhD in Biological Anthropology from Yale and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Public Health. Her research focused on the genetic and biological basis of obesity in Pacific Islanders and she now works with this immigrant group in the US.   Before coming to Yale, Kendall graduated from the University of Michigan with honors. She's interested in applying her public health and biological expertise in the private sector through consulting. 

Koen Vanderschuren, Vice President of Outreach

Koen is a sixth-year PhD student in Molecular Biology and the Systems Biology Institute. His research aims to modify protein pharmaceuticals with unnatural amino acids to extend protein half-life and to lower their injection frequency. To explore the commercial opportunities of this technology, Koen is also working on customer discovery as part of a team in the Yale Accelerator for Innovation Development program. He also likes hiking, cooking Flemish mussels, and spending time with friends.    

Alisia Botthof, Assistant Vice President of Activities

Alisia is a second-year MS student in work and organizational psychology, planning to graduate in Germany next year, where she also did her bachelor's in psychology. During her master's she is attending Yale for one year. Her research here focuses on the association between self-esteem and emotion-expression in romantic couples. Outside school and work she loves sports like dancing and skiing. Good for her that her hometown Munich is close to the Alps. She also enjoys cooking and baking on lazier days.

Shubhra Verma, Associate Manager of Programming

Shubhra is currently pursuing Master in Environmental Management with a specialisation in Business and Environment and working as a Research Assistant on resource efficiency and circular economy policy review as part of International Resource Panel study. Prior to Yale, she was working as an Environment and Sustainability professional for the last 4 years’ and has worked on a wide range of projects based on Green Technology and Industrial ecology (electronic waste management, industrial pollution abatement and waste water treatment). With a background in Chemical Engineering, she has extensive experience in decision support tools (EIA and LCA), stakeholder management, financial analysis, project coordination, research-based projects and technical writing. Her professional experience has enabled her to acquire solid technical expertise in consulting services for environmental issues and sustainability. In her free time, she enjoys going to gym, cooking and yoga.

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