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GSS Board

The Graduate Student Society (GSS) Executive Board members are listed below. Please contact us at

GSS Executive Board Members

Sydney SimpsonSydney Simpson

​Microbiology, Immunology and Virology (IMV) Representative

I am a PhD student in the Microbiology, Immunology and Virology (IMV) program. I am pursuing my PhD in Jian Zhu’s lab, and my thesis project is on understanding virus-host interactions of γ-Herpesviruses, particularly during co-infection with HIV. I graduated with a BS in Microbiology and a Certificate in Biotechnology from the University of Rochester before joining its PhD program. I am also a graduate student representative on the Committee for Graduate Studies (CGS).

Kelly Hanson

Kelly HansonVice President
​Toxicology Representative

As a Toxicology PhD student in the Finkelstein lab, I am studying the pathogenesis of radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Specifically, I am exploring the molecular mechanism of the onset of apoptosis resistance in fibrotic fibroblasts in this disease. Before joining the Toxicology program at URMC, I graduated with a BS in Biology from York College of Pennsylvania, where I studied African cichlids as part of an undergraduate research project. In addition to being a GSS representative, I have also served as TA for Organ Systems Toxicology and I am currently co-chairing the 2018 Toxicology Retreat Planning Committee.

Brianna Shares

Brianna SharesCell Biology of Disease (Pathology) Representative

Originally from Geneseo, I received a BS in Biology at the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2015. Immediately after my undergraduate career I began graduate school. I am a PhD student in the Cell Biology of Disease - Pathology program. I joined Dr. Roman Eliseev’s lab in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research focusing on determining the link between metabolism and bone formation using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). My goal is to help graduate students make the most of their graduate experience through engaging them in social events and professional development programs. In addition to GSS, I am a member of Pathology Student Council and a student representative for the Center for Professional Development.

Valeriia Sherina

Valeriia SherinaChief Financial Officer
Statistics Representative

I am a PhD Statistics candidate in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology (BST). For my thesis project I’m developing new statistical methods, including missing data methods, clustering, and dimension reduction for genomic data near the limit of detection under the guidance of Drs. Matthew McCall and Tanzy Love. Before coming to the US and starting my doctorate program, I worked as a lead engineer at the Donbass National Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Ukraine. In addition to GSS, I am currently a Co-chair of the BST Social Planning Committee. I enjoy travelling, exchanging ideas with the scientific community, and painting.

Elizabeth Belcher

Elizabeth BelcherTranslational Biomedical Science (TBS) Representative

I am a student in the Translational and Biomedical Science PhD program. I joined the neuroinflammation laboratories of Drs. John Olschowka and Kerry O’Banion, where I currently study the acute effect of low-dose irradiation on hippocampal neurogenesis. Before coming to Rochester, I received my BS in both neuroscience and psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, where I conducted research in the Translational Neuroscience Program. After graduation I worked in a clinical cognitive neuroscience lab for two years.

Holly Beaulac

Holly BeaulacNeuroscience Representative

I am a PhD student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). I am a member of Dr. Patricia White’s lab, studying genes that are involved in cochlear response to stress within a model of noise-induced hearing loss. Prior to my time at the University of Rochester, I completed my BS at the University of New England (UNE) and MS at Brandeis University, both degrees in Neuroscience. After graduation, I worked as a laboratory manager/technician within three of UNE’s biomedical science labs. I am a graduate student representative on the Committee for Graduate Studies (CGS) and serve as the President of the Pre-doctoral Organization for the Neurosciences (PONS).

Andrew MartinAndrew Martin

Microbiology, Immunology and Virology (IMV) Representative

I’m an Immunology PhD student in the Yarovinsky Lab. I'm in charge of organizing GSS Game Nights.

Zane HaynesZane Haynes

Microbiology, Immunology and Virology (IMV) Representative

I’m an IMV PhD student in Dr. Robert’s lab. As a member of the GSS Board, I’ve hosted several monthly coffee hours.

Chia-Hao (Bean) WuChia-Hao (Bean) Wu

Cell Biology of Disease (Pathology) Representative

I am a Pathology PhD student in the Lee lab. As a member of the GSS Board, I’ve helped organize the annual Halloween Party and design our event advertisements.

Josh HinkleJoshua Hinkle

Neuroscience Representative

I'm an NGP student in the O'Banion/Olschowka labs. I’ve helped organize the Rochester Brew Tour and design event fliers and tickets.

Anjali SinhaAnjali Sinha

Neuroscience Representative

I am a Neuroscience PhD student in Hugh Xia's lab. I help organize outdoor activities and I am contributing to student advocacy through GSS

GSS Alumni

  • Taylor Moon, PhD, President 2017-18
  • Laura Shum, PhD, Vice President 2017-18
  • Matthew Payea, PhD, President 2015-17
  • Aleta Steevens, PhD, Secretary 2015-16