Staff

The Executive Board

Poornima Tamma
Editor-in-Chief

Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Classification: Senior
Email: editor.in.chief@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Four
Highlights: Poornima loves reading science fiction and mystery novels. Her favorite shows are The West Wing, The Office, and Doctor Who. She will also be attending Baylor College of Medicine next year!

Kyungseok Jung
Managing Editor

Major(s): Biology
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Classification: Junior
Email: natural.sciences@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Three
Highlights: Kyungseok is a third-year biology major in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program. He is an undergraduate research assistant in the Taylor Lab and a mentor for the Functional Genomics Stream in the Freshman Research Initiative. He spends his free time practicing cello, playing Smash, and eating combination over rice at Halal Bros.

Senior Directors and Editors

Kierra Boyle
Director of Development

Major(s): Biochemistry
Hometown: Plano, Texas
Classification: Junior
Email: development@texasurj.com
Years in URJ:
 Three
Highlights: Kierra is spending her third year in Austin on the Undergraduate Research Journal staff leading the Development branch. In addition to the URJ, she serves as a member of the Fundraising Committee for the Science Undergraduates Research Group. When not studying or hanging out with friends, she enjoys experiencing the unique food and culture Austin has to offer as well as visiting South Mall to throw a Frisbee around or sit down with a good book.

Keerthana Chakka
Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Neuroscience & Plan II
Hometown: Katy, Texas
Classification: Sophomore
Email: campaign@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights: Keerthana is a sophomore from Katy, TX in the Dean’s Scholars Program and the Plan II Honors Program. She is currently working on a research project in the Pierce Lab concerning the epigenetics of alcoholism and treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. In the future, she plans to attend medical school and work in clinical neurological research and health policy. Keerthana likes to write, be outdoors, and play guitar in her free time.

Kavya Rajesh
Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Chemistry
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Classification: Junior
Years in URJ: Three
Highlights: Kavya is a third-year Chemistry major and a member of the Baiz group where she studies cryoprotectants using IR spectroscopy. She loves collecting Japanese pens and stationery, hiking, dog photography, and dark chocolate. Follow her dog at @archiegrey_sheltie on Instagram!

Tracy Zhang
Director of Communications

Major(s): Computer Science
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Classification: Sophomore
Email: communications@texasurj.com
Years in URJ: Two
Highlights: Tracy is a second-year computer science major from Scottsdale, Arizona. She loves creating side projects, writing about technology (she is a writer for the UTCS Department!), and roaming the great outdoors. In the time that Tracy is not working on programming assignments, she enjoys drawing and graphic design, beating her friends at MarioKart, getting ice cream, and obsessing over any cute dogs she encounters.

Assistants

Aishwarya Kotha
Assistant Director of Communications

Major(s): Public Health
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Aishwarya is a Public Health major from Houston, Texas. This is her first year working for URJ. She is also a member of the Luminators FRI stream. In her spare time, Aishwarya likes traveling, hand lettering, and graphic design.

Sanjana Nagaraja
Assistant Director of Communications

Major(s): Neuroscience
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Sanjana is a first-year Neuroscience major from Austin, Texas. (originally from California!) She has a passion for all things disease-related and hopes to have a medical career in the future. In her free time, Sanjana loves making terribly timed jokes, watching strange movies, and writing short stories. When she’s not pretending to do schoolwork or taking a nap, you’ll probably find her going on long Wikipedia research quests, searching for new obscure music, or drawing fun cartoons of everyone around her.

Aparna Kambhampati
Assistant Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Biochemistry
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights:
 Aparna is a freshman biochemistry major who is part of the Health Science Scholars program and plans to attend medical school. She loves research and is currently working with a lab at UT that deals with T-ALL growth. She is from Houston and spends most of her free time dancing, listening to music, or watching Netflix.

Sriranjani Darbha
Assistant Director of Campaigns

Hometown: College Station, Texas
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights:
Sri is a pre-med freshman from College Station, TX. She is an undergraduate research assistant for the Kim Lab and a member of the Vertebrate Interactive Mapping stream in the Freshman Research Initiative. Apart from academics, Sri is an Indian classical vocalist who travels almost every month to perform around the US! Her other interests include the violin, tennis, and calligraphy.

Abigail Hinojosa
Assistant Director of Campaigns

Major(s): Chemistry
Classification: Junior
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Abby is a McNair Scholar studying chemistry, and a member of the Que Lab. Her research interests include the use of fluorescent molecules for enzyme inhibition and brain imaging. Outside of school, she loves to visit her hometown -Reynosa, Mexico-, paint portraits and collect keychains.

Editors

Michael Zhao
Associate Editor

Major(s): Biology
Classification: Junior
Highlights: Besides URJ, Michael likes watching NBA basketball and enjoys playing basketball and swimming. His favorite part of playing is dunking on people!

Pranshu Adhikari
Assistant Editor of Natural Sciences

Major(s): Physics
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Pranshu is a freshman Physics major in the Polymathic Scholars Honors program. She was born in Nepal but moved to the United States when she was 10. Her interest in research began as a result of her involvement in the AP Capstone program at her high school, which exposed her to research in academia. She hopes to eventually continue on to graduate school and pursue a career in research.

Inki Lee
Assistant Editor

Major(s): Chemistry
Classification: Junior
Highlights: Inki loves watching basketball, football, and baseball. Inki also loves to cook, even though he’s not that good at it. Listening to all kinds of different music is a fun hobby; Country is the only genre that he doesn’t really listen to.

Vishnu (Sorin) Srinivasa
Assistant Editor

Major(s): Chemistry
Classification: Junior
Highlights:  Sorin is a third-year chemistry major in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program. He is also an undergraduate assistant in the Brodbelt research group in the chemistry department, where he uses new mass spectrometry methods to probe structural features in intact proteins. Outside of URJ, he is also an active member of Dean’s Scholars Council. In what little free time he has left, he enjoys reading mystery novels (talk to him about Agatha Christie), playing the piano, food photography, and exploring any of Austin’s many amazing coffee shops (feel free to hit him up for recommendations!).

Mahija Ginjupalli
Assistant Editor

Major(s): Neuroscience
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Mahija is a first-year Neuroscience major from Sugar Land, Texas. She was born in India and has since lived in 3 separate states after moving to the US. She currently works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Jha Lab, investigating entomological parasite transmission, and the Health Innovation Lab at Dell Medical School, studying the neurological basis of opioid addiction. When she has free time, you can find her writing stories about dragons, watching Studio Ghibli, and eating pancakes at 2 AM in Kerbey Lane Cafe.

Oishika Das
Assistant Editor

Major(s): Biochemistry
Classification: Freshman
Years in URJ: One
Highlights: Oishika is a first-year biochemistry major in the Dean’s Scholars Program. She began her interest in research in high school with an oncology mentorship at UT Southwestern and hopes to attend medical school in the future. In her free time, she enjoys learning languages, impulsively buying stationary, and spending time with her friends.

Oliver Zhao
Assistant Editor

Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico
Classification: Junior
Highlights: Oliver is a third-year biomedical engineering student with an interest in research, having been involved with stem cell/neural engineering, image processing and optimization, and silver nanoparticle characterization. He has also designed a clinical study examining the effectiveness of opioid use after knee replacement surgeries and is a research intern at a local startup. He spends his free time reading the news and falling into the black hole known as Wikipedia.

Nathalie Petit
Assistant Editor

Major(s): Chemical Engineering
Classification: Sophomore
Highlights: Currently doing research with the Computational Materials Lab, part of SEEK (do weekly engineering projects at elementary schools), likes to read classics books and try new restaurants in Austin during free time