Current Executive Council

  President: Richard Kanyo, Department of Biological Sciences

Richard is a postdoctoral fellow in Biological Sciences and the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases investigating the role of prion proteins in Alzheimer’s disease. Last year, as the former VP Academic (PDFA), he pushed for recognition in the Post-Secondary Learning Act. This year, his objective is to further improve benefits, such as Parental Leave, Employment Insurance and Canadian Pension Plan. With a German-Hungarian background and having lived in three different countries, he can relate well with the challenges Postdocs face. As the current Vice-President of the Hungarian Cultural Society in Edmonton and having past experience with the Graduate Student Association, he has learned to coordinate programs and develop by-laws and policies. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his daughter, friends and colleagues. With his experience, he is excited to contribute to the postdoctoral community.
  VP Academic: Jessica Lieffers, School of Public Health

My name is Jessica Lieffers and I have been postdoctoral fellow in the School of Public Health since July 2016.  I am working in the area of nutrition economics.  During my PhD at the University of Waterloo, I was involved with several initiatives to help improve the graduate student experience (e.g., residence life team member, various executive positions with the Canadian Obesity Network Students and New Professionals initiative, reviewing funding applications to enhance graduate student life). I am now passionate about channeling my efforts to help improve the experience of postdoctoral fellows at the University of Alberta.


VP Finance: Camille Dejos, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Hi, I’m Camille, postdoc in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences since January 2015. I obtained my PhD in Cell Biology at the University of Poitiers (France). My research focuses on deciphering mechanisms triggering retinal degeneration. I’m VP-finance for the PDFA for a second year. I will again do my best to secure funding so we can organize events dedicated to professional and social development of postdocs. It has been really inspiring for me to work with all the dedicated members of the PDFA last year and I’m looking forward to collaborate with the new members in 2017! I’m hoping my contribution will support a positive postdoctoral experience for everybody at the UofA!


VP Social: Wei Zheng, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Wei received her Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from China. She moved to Edmonton to pursue her scientific dream in nanotechnology. She completed her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta in August 2016. Prior to joining PDFA, Wei served as executive member for WISER (Women in Science, Engineering & Research) and ECEGSA (Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Students' Association). In her role as VP Social of PDFA, Wei organizes social and connecting events for postdoc communities, including Christmas parity, BBQ and coffee mixer. Wei is honored to have the opportunity to serve the postdoc community.
  VP-Communications: Anni Hämäläinen, Department of Biological Sciences

I have worked at U of A as a post doc for two years, after getting my PhD from the University of Göttingen in Germany. My research deals with life history evolution (currently using red squirrels as my study system). I look forward to contributing to the work of the PDFA by helping organize events that build the post doc community and create professional development opportunities. My main task will be to keep U of A post docs informed about the work of the PDFA and upcoming events!

Member at Large : Abhilash Rakkunedeth, Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging

I have been working as a postdoc in medical image analysis at the department of Radiology since May 2014. I completed my undergrad in Electronics and Communication from India and my PhD from NTU Singapore. I am happy to be a part of the PDFA as it offers a great platform for postdocs to come together, share their ideas, speak about their concerns and above all have fun! As a PDFA Member at Large I would do my best to make sure that our voices are heard in the appropriate forums.
  Member at Large: Dr. Kate R. St.Onge, Department of Biological Sciences

Hello, I’m Kate St.Onge, a postdoc in the Cooke lab in the department of biological sciences. As a plant genomicist I am interested in discovering genetic variation responsible for the phenotypic variation we see nature. I received my PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden, but Im originally from Edmonton and did my undergraduate here at UAlberta. I am a new member of the PDFA executive board for 2017 and I look forward to assisting the VP’s in achieving the goals the PDFA sets out for itself this year.
  Member at Large, Zoey Zhang, Department of Educational Psychology

My name is Zoey Zhang. I have been working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Educational Psychology, U of A since July 2016. I have been working in community-based research for quite a few years. I have been inspired by academic research in this area and also would like to contribute my time and efforts to the community building practices. In my spare time, I love visiting museums, playing Chinese folk musical instrument and all kinds of sports games. I would love to share one of my favorites old saying “we were not sisters and brothers by birth, but we knew from the start, fate brought us…“.
 Bing Cao  Member at Large, Bing Cao

Hello! My name is Bing Cao, I am now a postdoc in Department of Chemistry in September 2016 after I finished PhD program in the same department. My research is focused on nanomaterials for solar cell applications. During my PhD, I was an executive member in University of Alberta Nanotechology Group, organizing group events for spreading nanotechnology and educating young students. I am very happy to be a member of PDFA executive board this year and I am happy to help with all the activities and programs this year.