Jefferson Postdoctoral Association

2022-2023 Officers

Elham Javed, PhD


Elham Javed has a very diverse background; she is an Indian national born and raised in the Dubai, UAE, and came to the US for her master's in Molecular Medicine at Drexel University. She was doing an off-campus CPT at Thomas Jefferson University in the neuroscience department which is why following her master's graduation she pursed her PhD with Thomas Jefferson University at the Center for Translational Medicine. She is now currently working as postdoctoral fellow under Raymond Penn. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanism behind differential compartmentalized signaling induced by β2AR and PGE2 receptors in human ASM.

If time travel was a possibility, what era would you visit and why?
If I could, I would go back to the 90s - the simpler times - where the only issue was getting your homework done and listening to the Backstreet Boys. I finally understand why all the grown-ups said "don't wish to grow-up so soon."

Kristen C. Davis, PhD

Senior Vice President

Kristen is a Neuroscientist from central Virginia. She attended Longwood University in Farmville, VA, where she received a BS in Biology and Psychology. Before graduate school, she was a PREP scholar for one year at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. She received a PhD in Neuroscience from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. She completed her first postdoctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania. Kristen began her second postdoctoral position with Dr. Timothy Mosca at Thomas Jefferson University in 2020 to study the neural circuits that process olfactory stimuli in Drosophila melanogaster. Prior to her work in the Mosca lab, Kristen completed much of her training either working with humans or the microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Having just joined the lab, she is excited to learn a new model system and the techniques employed to best utilize the fly for neuroscientific discovery.

What is your favorite thing to do in Philly?
Get a drink and dinner with my friends at just about any outdoor bar in the Gayborhood or South Philly.

Mouadh Barbirou, PhD

Vice President, Career Development

Mouadh has been preparing for a career in biomedical science that includes the translation of science discoveries into clinical practice. Dr. Barbirou's general research interest is in the molecular etiology of cancer with a particular focus on mechanisms of cancer susceptibility. The profound problems of cancer research center on an inter-individual variance of the characterization of cancer, its symptoms, molecular mechanisms of development, response to treatments, and outcomes. Mouadh's ultimate objective is to seek and understand the molecular basis of that variation, establish scientific clarity of the causes and participate in the use of novel knowledge to improve detection, treatment, and outcomes. In addition, Dr. Barbirou's goal is to pursue the translation of scientific results and knowledge into clinical practice and patient health care, and thereby make applicable the potential of precision medicine.

What is your favorite place to visit in Philly?
I love visiting the Liberty Bell because it always reminds me of how free we are in this country, and how people have suffered to give us freedom. It also makes me feel how this country has improved over time, and what we should give to the next generation to be better than us. I also like shopping and clothes, and I often go to the King of Prussia and Philadelphia Mills Malls.

Arijita Ghosh, PhD

Vice President, Communications

Arijita hails from the city of Joy, Calcutta, located in eastern India. She earned a PhD in Cell Biology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 2019. Her PhD research focused on identifying a novel protein and its contribution in cellular calcium homeostasis. Chasing calcium brought Arijita to MitoCare in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy, & Cell Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. Here, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow studying calcium signaling and dynamics in mitochondria in Dr. Gyorgy Hajnoczky's laboratory. Arijita's PhD work was primarily in vitro involving cell lines. At TJU, she got the opportunity to gain in vivo skills, among many others, and work with animal models which was new and exciting to her to realize the physiological relevance of her research better.

Her post-doctoral research deals with calcium driven ER-mitochondria crosstalk in health and disease. Arijita has had opportunities to present her research at multiple international and national conferences, supported by travel grants, and best speaker and poster awards. She is passionate about science communication, reading novels, and traveling.

What is your favorite thing to do in Philly?
My favorite thing to do in Philly is to explore the city on foot and discover new, little things about the city, one walk at a time!

Nicole Mambelli-Lisboa, PhD

Vice President, Nomination & Elections

Nicole completed their Master's degree in Toxicology/Science and holds a PhD of Genetics at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2015, she participated in CAPES PDSE program resulting in a combined doctorate at Thomas Jefferson University. Nicole completed a Postdoctoral program at Cellavita Industry in partnership with the Butantan Institute, and then was hired for the same company to work as a Quality Control Manager and Technical Manager. Currently, she is pursuing Immunotherapeutic and Cancer Research work as a Research Fellow in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. Nicole joined the JPA board to share and hear different experiences in science through the great networking the board provides. She is always looking forward to helping others with the programs she is part of.

What is your favorite thing to do in Philly?
I love the idea of going to park. Living a big city, it is great to see how much outdoor space we have here. Every weekend, we go to different parks to have a nice picnic surrounded by nature.

Piyush Mishra, PhD


Piyush Mishra completed his PhD from Bengaluru, India. His doctoral work focused on identifying novel small molecule modulators of autophagy pathway and using those for different pathophysiological conditions involving autophagy. Piyush joined Thomas Jefferson University as a Postdoc in 2018. His research interest lies in the study of mitochondrial biology with respect to primary and metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma, and to develop effective and novel treatment strategies for the same.

What do you enjoy doing in Philly?
Over the weekends, I indulge in several sports activities - like soccer and cricket - and also explore the different gastronomical joints in and around Philly and neighboring states.

Melissa Molho Medina, PhD


Melissa Molho is originally from Mexico, where she got her bachelor's degree in Genomic Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 2014, she moved to the US to do her PhD in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Kentucky (UK). During her PhD, she studied virus-host interactions in plants, specifically the role of the actin network in viral infection. She was also part of the UK graduate Student Congress leadership team and advocate for international students.

In 2021, she joined Dr. Ramage's lab as a postdoctoral fellow in the Microbiology Department at Thomas Jefferson University. Currently, she is studying virus-host interactions of emerging infectious diseases focusing on flaviviruses such as Dengue, Zika, West Nile, and Powassan viruses.

What do you enjoy in your work, as well as life in Philly?
I enjoy doing outreach activities to talk about plant health, viruses, and inclusion in science. My favorite thing to do in Philly is walking around the parks or streets in Center City and South Philly, because there is always something new to find.

Joice Thomas Gavali, PhD

Vice President, Social Affairs

Joice Thomas Gavali, PhD, earned her doctorate in Pharmacology at the Centro de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV-IPN) in Mexico. Her graduate studies focused on regulation by reactive oxygen species of store-operated calcium release in adult rat cardiomyocytes preconditioned with diazoxide. She moved to the United States in October 2020. Before joining Thomas Jefferson University, she worked as a postdoctoral scientist at Smidt Heart Institute, Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Jianxin Sun's lab. Her research focuses on understanding the regulation of EC coupling in cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, and pulmonary artery hypertension.

Who do you most admire?
The person I admire most is my father because he's a great dad. He taught me everything I needed to know and helped me become who I am today.