We are a small team of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows at UConn Health in Farmington, CT with a wide range of skills and experience. We choose to volunteer our time to provide students with the resources and confidence to explore career paths that may be better suited to their needs.
Robert Pijewski, BS
Co-founder of AIOG/Graduate Student Liaison
I am currently a 4th year PhD candidate in Biomedical Science in the Department of Neuroscience at UConn Health in Farmington, CT. My research is on the role of cellular aging in neurodegenerative disease and healthy aging. However, my research is not the reason why I am here. During my studies, I found that there was a lack of education regarding careers beyond the traditional academic setting, i.e. becoming a tenure-track professor at a research institution. I’ve also heard dozens of PhD candidates just saying “I think I am more of an industry person”, but my question to them is “what kind of industry?”. With that question in mind, I started this group.
Giulia Vigone, PhD
I currently work in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University. Early in my scientific career I realized that life at the bench did not fit my personality and I started to become involved in science outreach, communication and education. I took an active role in my postdoc community and teamed with other fellows towards to establish the UConn Health and Jackson Lab joint Postdoctoral Association (UJPDA) in 2017 and soon after, I co-founded AIOG. Through these experiences I have discovered a passion for helping others succeed in their own careers. When I am not giving (unsolicited) advice on life/career issues, I am jogging, cooking or traveling around the world.
Britt Knight, PhD
Public relations, content manager, postdoc liaison
In August I completed my PhD in Biomedical science and since then I have begun a postdoctoral fellowship at UConn. I am studying novel therapeutic drug formulations for the management of oral facial pain. Long term, I am interested in how these potential therapeutics can be applied to musculoskeletal conditions. My hobbies include listening to movie soundtracks, watching nature documentaries, and cooking.
Dominique Martin, MS
I am currently a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Science program at UConn Health in Farmington, CT. My research involves understanding metabolic changes associated with aging. I originally thought that I wanted to be a veterinarian. However, after getting involved in undergraduate research, I found that I was more drawn to working in a lab and conducting exciting new experiments. Although I just started my PhD, I am interested in learning about the many opportunities within the biomedical science field.
Rachel Gilmore, BS
As a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Science program at UConn Health, I am working my way through lab rotations and classes, while trying to find some time to relax in between. I graduated in May of 2019 with a BS in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven in West Haven, CT. Though I am originally from Northeast PA, CT has basically claimed me as one of its own. My broad scientific interests include translational research and genetic/genomic modifications as they relate to gene expression & function. Outside of science, I love watching & attending sporting events, hiking, yoga, traveling, and spending time with my family & cats. I am not exactly sure what I want to be when I grow up, but working with AIOG is helping me figure it out!
Yuezhe (Li), MS
I am currently a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Science I am currently a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Science in the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling at UConn Health in Farmington, CT. My research aims to elucidate the link between diabetes and ciliopathy. I join AIOG because I want to help other graduate students find alternative careers. I personally benefit from past events hosted by AIOG. My hobbies include reading European and East Asia history and programming.
Natalie Sandlin, BS
Content Manager, AIOG Ambassador for Boston College
I am a third-year PhD candidate in Biology at Boston College. My research interests are in molecular microbiology and bioremediation. Currently, I am exploring mechanisms of microbial degradation of mycotoxins, common food contaminants. I joined AIOG to explore the variety of careers available to PhDs and help others navigate all of these options as well. Outside of research, I enjoy baking, reading crime thrillers, and playing card games.