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Meet the advisor team

This team has two types of advisors—graduate and undergraduate students. Comprised of amazing individuals, they've volunteered their time to help answer any questions incoming or current transfer students might have about research in a specific area. Come chat with us on our discord server!

Graduate student advisors

Alyssa Maness — Psychology PhD student
Gabrielle Wyatt — Plant Biology PhD student
Aaron Beckner— Psychology PhD student
Jake Russin — Psychology PhD student
Winnie Zhuang — Psychology PhD student
Jill Oberski — Entomology PhD student
Christian Pratt — Physics PhD student
Lynnette Hersh- Psychology PHD student 

undergrad student advisors

Monica Ardon — Animal Biology

Sarai Jaime — Chemistry


Hi there! My name is Monica Ardon, I am a fifth year transfer student majoring in Animal Biology and minoring in Spanish. I currently do research at the MRLT Lab at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine where I work as a Veterinary Technician/Student Researcher. I am currently studying Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) in Brittany Spaniels. In my free time I love to draw and paint and have won several awards for my work from the California State Fair. After graduation I plan on doing the dual program (DVM/PhD) at UCD Vet School and eventually doing research in animal physiology in zoo animals. 

Feel free to reach out!

Kimberly Aguirre — Animal Biology


Hey y'all! My name is Kimberly, I'm a 4th year Animal Biology major with a minor in Public Health Sciences. Currently, I'm working on a practicum project in the Pires Urban Agriculture & Food Safety Lab at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. My project is looking at foodborne pathogen shedding in sheep during grazing events, and seeing if dietary shifts during these events impacts food safety/ public health. I just finished applying to vet schools and will hopefully be starting in a DVM program once I graduate this fall. Outside of the lab/ school, I enjoy spending time with family/ friends, watching horror movies, and working with educational equity-based programs.


Brandon Reyes-Chavez — Microbiology


Hello, I am Brandon, a current fourth-year undergraduate senior majoring in Microbiology. I have been in the Juliano Lab since my sophomore year at UCD, and currently part of the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) at UC Davis. My work in the Juliano lab focuses on understanding how Hydra vulgaris, a relative of jellyfish, can build its nervous system after injury. The cool thing about hydra is that all differentiated cells are replaced every ~21 days, including its entire nervous system. When I'm not in the lab or doing school work, I'm at the tennis courts rallying or making my homegrown kombucha. 

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions at

Mykyta Dementyev — Physics


Hello hello! My name is Mykyta, and I am a senior transfer Physics major and a Chemistry minor. Currently conducting research in an Experimental Condensed Matter Research Group under Dr. Yu. The research consists of analyzing the photovoltaic properties of organic/organic halide perovskite crystals. My current focus is the modification of the procedures for crystal growth for better chemical and physical stability. I also have recently joined an Inorganic Chemistry research laboratory under Dr. Velazquez Mojica. For when I am not in the lab, I love to cook and bake. These are my stress relievers for the times of midterms and finals. So shoot me an email if you have any questions regarding the research in the Physics department.


Hello everyone, my name is Sarai Jaime and I'm currently a 3rd year transfer. I'm majoring in chemistry certified by the American Chemical Society. Moreover, I work in an organic chemistry lab where I synthesis organic catalysts and run proton NMR binding studies with them. On the other hand, some of my hobbies include playing video games, reading, and hiking. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.



Chi Nguyen — Cell Biology


My name is Chi Nguyen. I’m currently a third-year transfer student in Cell Biology major originally from Mission College in Santa Clara, Bay Area. I’ve been in the Heyer lab since Jun 2021 doing research about the regulation of MSH6 protein during homologous recombination (HR) in repairing DNA damage. DNA repair is an important process to maintain genome stability and prevent DNA damage-related diseases, such as cancer. Among the pathways to repair DNA damage, HR is the only high-fidelity one. The faithfulness of DNA repair depends on numerous regulatory factors, including the protein that I am interested in, MSH6. My project has multiple stages, starting with making my mutant Yeast strains by cloning and testing my hypothesis (genetically). After that, I’ll work with my mentor to characterize MSH6 mutants of interest (biochemically). It was really hard during the shelter-in-place year; moreover, adapting to the new environment at UCD while keeping my study and research on track put a strain on me. Thus, I picked up a new hobby of gaming during my free time or when I need to relax. I play Genshin on PC, Zelda and Fire Emblem on Switch, some gacha card games on mobile. My main genres are JRPG, strategy, adventure, dating sims, otome games. I also love to have food tours around Davis, checking new restaurants and trying new cuisines. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested or have any questions about genetics/molecular biology/DNA research, or just because you would like to talk about games!

My student email is

Pramesh Sharma — Computer Science

Hi! My name is Pramesh Sharma and I'm a third year Computer Science major from Yuba City, CA. I'm currently interning at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on the High Performance Computing team and Genentech in Process Engineering under the manufacturing department. Some of my hobbies include reading science fiction and watching the UFC. I'm passionate about working in Biotechnology and the Pharmaceuticals industry.

My email is

Julia Godinez - Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior

My name is Julia Godinez and I am a fourth year Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior major. I am in the LaSalle lab which researches the epigenetics of neurodevelopmental disorders. I am working on the genetic analysis of a transgenic mouse model for Dup15q, a neurodevelopmental disorder which results in autism. Some of my hobbies include painting, reading, and cooking. And my email is

Sarah Mark — Animal Biology

Amber Ellis - Global Disease Biology/Plant Genetics

Hi! I'm Amber (she/they), a junior at UC Davis! I'm a Global Disease Biology major. I'm a Clinical Research Associate for the EMRAP program, in the UC Davis School of Medicine's Emergency Department. I work on clinical research in the Trauma Level 1 Center and burn facility. I'm also currently doing plant biology/genetics research with Brady Labs, using CRISPR/Cas9 to edit two genes in tomato root cells to increase suberin production and drought resistance. Outside of lab, I love painting, card games, and spending time with my friends/family! I'm really interested in public health, genetics, plant pathology, and medical sciences. I'm hoping to pursue medicine by getting a dual PA-MPH degree after graduation. 


Feel free to reach out anytime!! My email is:

Hello! My name is Sarah and I’m an animal biology major and global disease biology minor. My current research is an experimental infection of canine distemper virus in macaque tissue explants at the Keel Laboratory. On my time off, I enjoy spending time in the outdoors, taking care of my pets, and reading.


Momina Nadeem — Psychology

Makenna Harrison — Statistics/Data Science

Hello! My name is Makenna Harrison, and I am a 5th year Statistics major. I transferred to UC Davis from Sierra College in Rocklin, CA. I am interested in survey methodology and the applications of statistics to the social sciences. Previously, I was involved with Hack for California, a research cluster within the UC Davis DataLab, where I worked on a project related to affordable housing. I am currently a student assistant for the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. In my free time, I like to read, go on hikes, and hang out with my dog.

Peyton Hilford — Biology

Hi. My name is Peyton Hilford. I am a third-year biochemistry student with a minor in math. I am doing plant biology research involving diterpenes and plant enzyme structure-function. When I’m not in the lab or studying for class, I enjoy trying new foods, laughing with friends, running, and attempting to make music. When COVID is over (will it ever be over?), I hope to travel more, both in and outside of the US. If you have any questions about plant biology research or want some to go on a run with, send me an email.

Hi! I'm Momina, and I'm doing the B.S. Psychology with Biology emphasis major and am minoring in education. I transferred to UC Davis from Mission College in 2020 and am on track to graduate in Spring 2022. I'm currently a research assistant in the Attitudes and Group Identity Lab as well as the Trainor Lab. After I graduate from UC Davis, I plan to take a gap year before pursuing graduate school (I'm still deciding what graduate program is best for me!). When I'm not in class or researching, you can find me hunting for my new favorite Netflix binge.


Austin Haddox — Economics

My name is Austin Haddox. I am a senior majoring in economics in the college of Letters and Sciences. My research specialties are microeconomics, behavioral economics, economic history, and game theory. My senior honors thesis is trending the tribalistic voting preferences of US citizens as well as how these preferences differ by demographic group. My goal is to study intertemporal decision theory and racial economic history in a PhD program.

Jill Oberski

Jill is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Entomology. She has a background in biology and German studies and started her research career as an undergraduate working on the evolution and biogeography of arachnids (daddy-long-legs). After spending a year as a lab tech (i.e., “junior specialist”) in an evolutionary developmental ("evo-devo") lab at UW Madison, Jill started her PhD at UC Davis, where she has specialized on the evolution, biogeography, and taxonomy of ants. She has expertise on the logistics of research in evolution and entomology, as well as grad school applications, fellowship/funding applications, coping with severe mental illness, and pro-tips on organizing your life.

Alana Luzzio

Thu Nguyen — Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Jose Samano Catalan — Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Education
Juan Alberto Melesio — Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Juliana Oliveira — International Relations and Education
Nicol Laura — Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

Ellaine Arroyo-Neurobiology

Hi! I’m Ellaine Arroyo (she/her). I’m majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology, and

Behavior and minoring in Community Development. I transferred to UC Davis from

Skyline College in Fall 2021 and I’m currently a second year transfer student. I’m

doing research in the Fioravante Lab at the UC Davis School of Medicine

Neurosciences, where I help use brain slicing histology and microscopy imaging

techniques to learn more about the cerebellum. After I graduate in Spring 2023, I

plan to take one or a few gap years before pursuing graduate school (I’m looking into

neuroscience graduate programs so far). In my free time I usually listen to music,

watch Netflix, or sometimes take pictures.

Fun fact: I love drinking fruit tea especially with boba pearls or lychee jelly!

Feel free to reach out with questions about research, studying, transfer advice, and

anything in general. My email is

My name is Alana I am a second year PhD student in the Genomic Variation Laboratory where I study conservation genetics of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. I am also interested in how desert fish, such as the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, will respond to climate change and drought.

My hobbies include hiking, skiing, pen and ink drawing, baking, and playing with my two cats Sabrina and Lucinda

 Kimberly Aguirre

Hello! My name is Kimberly Aguirre. I'm originally from Calexico, CA and am a first generation Latina college/ professional student. I graduated from UC Davis in 2022 with a BS in Animal Biology and minor in Public Health Sciences. I am currently a first year student at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. I previously worked in the Pires Urban Agriculture and Food Safety lab at the vet school, where I worked on a practicum involving grazing sheep and how diet can influence foodborne pathogen shedding during grazing events. Currently, my career and research interests lie in zoonotic disease prevention/ control, One Health and veterinary oncology. Please reach out if you have any questions about veterinary school, doing undergraduate research at a professional school, or anything else!

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