Alumni Panel

2008: Paul Berg, Ph.D., Nobel Prize 1980, Chemistry, Stanford University

Michael Hayes

Michael Hayes, M.D.

Research Scholar: 2008-2010

Faculty Mentor: Steven Suljak, Ph.D.

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Michael is finishing his final year of residency in internal medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. He is currently applying for faculty positions in general internal medicine in the Portland, OR area where he lives with his wife, Alex, and his 10-month old daughter, Harper. Michael's research interests have been wide-ranging since he was first introduced to basic science research through the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship. While completing his medical degree at the University of Chicago, his research focused on the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, resulting in a publication in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Michael's research focus has shifted somewhat while at Oregon Health & Science University where he has been interested in medical ethics related to drug development and teaching skills in compassionate communication.

Gregory Stettler

Gregory Stettler, M.D.

Research Scholar: 2008-2009

Faculty Mentor: Brian McNelis, Ph.D.

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

After graduating from Santa Clara in 2009, I spent one year working in the research lab of Dr. Suljak. Following that time, I moved to Chicago and attended medical school at Loyola University of Chicago, graduating in 2014. During my time in medical school I became interested in surgery and moved to Denver Colorado to begin my residency in General Surgery at the University of Colorado. I am currently in my fourth year of residency, the last year-and-a-half of which has been as a research fellow at the University of Colorado Trauma Research Center examining the mechanisms of bleeding in injured patients, more commonly referred to as trauma-induced coagulopathy. The DeNardo Science Scholarship has provided a great platform to begin my career in medicine. I was provided an excellent opportunity to work on research and learn the scientific process. I use the skills I developed during my research time at Santa Clara every day to analyze patient data, review new treatments, and develop evidence-based treatment plans. I am truly grateful to have been awarded the opportunity to be a DeNardo Science Scholar


2009: Stanley Prusiner, M.D., Nobel Prize 1997, Physiology or Medicine, UCSF

Michelle Pesce Dupic

Michelle Pesce Dupic, PMP

Senior Program Manager

Genentech – Drug Development

Senior Prize 2009

Faculty Mentor: Ángel Islas, Ph.D. – Department: Biology

Faculty Mentor: Margaret McLean, Ph.D. – Department: Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

As a student at SCU, Michelle studied Biology with a focus in cellular & molecular, and minored in Biotechnology. Her undergraduate research focused on the cloning, purification, and characterization of a bacterial DNA-polymerase. After graduating from SCU in 2009, Michelle completed a Master's program in the Business of Biotechnology from the Keck Graduate Institute in 2011, and headed for a career in the biotechnology industry. Michelle currently works in South San Francisco at Genentech in the Research and Development organization as a Program Manager in Portfolio Management and Operations. In this role, Michelle manages large teams of specialized experts from different disciplines (scientific, technical, clinical, and business) who are focused on one goal: bringing molecules from research and pre-clinical studies into the early stages of clinical development (phase 1 and 2 clinical studies) to ultimately become a therapeutic drug. Michelle leverages her scientific background and business training to enable teams to collaborate on the challenging questions in drug development.  Michelle has had the opportunity to attend events sponsored by the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship—both as a student and as a professional. The Lectureship brings in scientific and medical experts who are key influencers and catalysts in the fields of medical innovation. The spirit of the Lectureship has driven Michelle toward the mission of drug development and the passion for working with teams to develop innovative science into novel therapeutics that solve unmet medical needs.

Fernando Mesa Gutierrez

Fernando Meza Gutierrez

Ph.D. Candidate & Technology Analyst Intern at UCSF

Research Scholar: 2009-2011

Faculty Mentor: Leilani Miller, Ph.D.

Department: Biology

The Gerald and Sally DeNardo Fellowship allowed me to gain a significant amount of exposure to research in a great lab with an amazing mentor. My undergraduate research experience, financed through the Fellowship, was the single most important factor that led me to pursue a career in science. The Fellowship supported my work in Dr. Leilani Miller's lab for several years, which allowed me to form a strong and meaningful relationship with Dr. Miller. This relationship was a crucial factor in encouraging me to pursue an advanced degree in science. To this day, I view Dr. Miller as the most influential mentor I have had. She made a huge impact in my life, an impact that has continued to shape my career several years after leaving Santa Clara. Without the long-term support from the DeNardo Fellowship, this would not have been possible. I applied, and was accepted to several PhD programs while in Dr. Miller's lab. I started my graduate career at UCSF in 2012, and am currently in my 6th year. I have a second-author publication, a first-author preview article, and I have submitted my first author paper for publication—we are awaiting reviews. I plan to graduate at the end of the 2018 spring quarter. 


2011: Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel Prize 2009, Physiology or Medicine, UCSF

Nicholas Giustini

Nicholas Giustini, M.D.

Senior Prize 2011

Faculty Mentor: Steven Suljak, Ph.D.

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

After my time I Santa Clara University, I attended the USC Keck School of Medicine and am currently completing my residency training in Internal Medicine at UCLA. In July I will be starting my three year fellowship in adult Hematology-Oncology at UCSD. The Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship and Senior Prize helped to fuel my interest in research and medicine, as well as a desire to understand the way the human body works. I remember meeting Dr. Blackburn in 2011 and appreciating both how passionate and driven she was about her work with telomeres/telomerase. For me, medicine, and oncology specifically, is a field in which we have a strong base of knowledge, but are constantly looking for the next breakthrough.  


2012: Abraham Verghese, M.D., MACP, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University

Emily Robinson

Emily Robinson

1st Year, University of Washington School of Medicine

Research Scholar: 2012-2014

Faculty Mentor: David Hess, Ph.D.

Department: Biology

After graduating from SCU in 2014, I moved home to Washington State. For nearly three years, I worked as a Research Technician at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on a clinical trial for CAR-T cell immunotherapy to treat leukemia and lymphoma. This past August, I started my first year of medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The generous support of the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship allowed me to pursue research with SCU faculty for most of my undergraduate career. My undergraduate research experience opened the door to other research opportunities after graduating, and the combination of these experiences helped me in my acceptance to medical school. I am forever grateful to the Lectureship for exposing me to areas of science and medicine that I was unfamiliar with. It is because of these experiences that I discovered my passion in science and confirmed my goal to pursue a career in medicine.


2013: David Kessler, M.D., Former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, UCSF

Katherine Bercovitz

Katherine Bercovitz

Ph.D. student in Psychology at Harvard University

Research Scholar: 2011-2013

Senior Prize: 2013

Faculty Mentor: Patti Simone, Ph.D.

Department: Psychology

Katherine is in her 5th year of a PhD program at Harvard University researching aging and mindfulness in the Department of Psychology. Katherine teaches a course about research methods and writing for sophomore students from Harvard College. The DeNardo scholarship enabled Katherine to learn about the best job in the world: pursuing the answers to empirical questions and passing along this joy to students.


2014: James E. Bradner, M.D., Harvard University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Nicole Mattson

Nicole Mattson

Associate Scientist at Pfizer

Research Scholar 2014-2016

Faculty Mentor: Ángel Islas, Ph.D.

Department: Biology

Post-graduation from SCU I moved down to San Diego and began working in Pfizer's Vaccines Research and Development Department. My first role at Pfizer was as a contracted Bench Scientist and I assisted in the development of a novel purification scheme of live flu virus using cutting edge purification technologies. Halfway through my contract I was hired on full time as an Associate Scientist to help support a new project centered on an oncolytic vaccine. My new role encompassed both the downstream purification, and also the upstream cell culture and generation of live virus. For both projects our group worked at a scale to produce material for definitive in-vivo studies and clinical trials. In addition to in-house virus supply we work closely with contract manufacturing organizations to ensure the process is fully scalable to manufacture the vaccine. The Gerald and Sally DeNardo Scholar program gave me the tools necessary to think critically about my research and come up with creative solutions. My training as an undergraduate, both from my research and from the rigorous course work, put me on the path to being the best scientist I can be. I have all the necessary tools and foundations that have put me at an advantage in my career. I strongly believe that the DeNardo Scholar program has taught me invaluable skills that I will carry with me throughout my scientific career. 


2016: Larry Brilliant, M.D., MPH, Skoll Foundation

Emily Fayram

Emily Fayram

Masters Applicant and Substitute Teacher

Senior Prize 2016

Faculty Mentor: Barbara Burns, Ph.D.

Department: Child Studies

Since graduating from SCU in 2016, I have been working in Copenhagen, Denmark, at DIS Study Abroad in Scandinavia. I am project manager for the DIS Refugee Action Committee, where I facilitate events and excursions for orphan asylum-seekers in Denmark to promote resiliency. Recently, I attended the International Society for Health and Human Rights conference “Mental health, mass people displacement and ethnic minorities” in Novi Sad, Serbia, where I met with doctors and psychologists from around the world who work with traumatized refugee populations to support mental health and resiliency. This experience reinforced my belief that healthcare professionals and psychologists must work together to support the whole person. I am so grateful for the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship, which has both inspired and enabled me to apply to graduate school to begin fall 2018. I look forward to continuing my education and conducting research to support mental health and resiliency in vulnerable populations.

Hayley Raquer

IRTA Research Fellow

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Senior Prize 2016

Faculty Mentor: Leilani Miller, Ph.D.

Department: Biology

I am currently an IRTA post-baccalaureate fellow in the Lenardo Lab at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) in Bethesda, MD. My current research involves whole genome and whole exome sequencing of patients with primary immunodeficiency (PID) to identify pathogenic gene variants. I will be attending Stanford University for my PhD in immunology beginning fall of 2018 as a member of the inaugural class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars. The DeNardo Lectureship was an incredible opportunity to share my senior thesis research with the Santa Clara community. Listening to the distinguished speakers every year was a highlight of my time at SCU and I was always inspired listening to their stories and learning about their commitment to solving global health problems. 

Amanda Dahl

Amanda Dahl

Medical Scribe at ScribeAmerica

Research Scholar 2016-2017

Faculty Mentor: Ángel Islas, Ph.D.

Department: Biology

After graduating in June 2017, I worked the summer in the Islas Lab, thanks to the DeNardo grant. Since then, I've been back in the Seattle area working as a medical scribe for both an orthopedic clinic and a hospital Emergency Department. I plan to apply to medical school for entry in fall 2019.  Although I have not been working very long since graduating, in the interview for my current job, the interviewer was extremely impressed that I had worked in a lab since my sophomore year and had received the DeNardo Scholar award. I believe that having both those items on my resume greatly helped lead to the interview invitation and subsequent employment offer.


2017: Brian Kobilka, M.D., Nobel Prize 2012, Chemistry, Stanford University

Zoe Amaris

Zoe Amaris

Process Development Rotational Program (PDRP); Technical Development Research Assistant at Genentech

Research Scholar: 2015-2017

Senior Prize: 2017

Faculty Mentor: Korin Wheeler, Ph.D.

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Post-graduation, I started a 6-month internship with Genentech in their Process Technical Development Department to learn more about the pharmaceutical industry as I applied for PharmD programs. During that time I was given an offer to continue working full time in their Process Development Rotational Program, where a handful of graduates rotate through four six-month projects all over the different departments in the pharmaceutical development process after which technical scientists are allowed to choose where they’d like to be placed. This opportunity, while unexpected, will give me the chance to explore industry further and hone my skills as an applied analytical scientist which will be invaluable when I ultimately decide to continue onto higher education. The DeNardo Lectureship has been an integral part of this decision as it allowed me to research with Dr. Wheeler and learn the importance of experiencing learning. My plans for graduate education have not wavered, and although I am taking a detour to explore industry and work full time, the opportunity is at its core an educational endeavor. This pursuit in understanding the process and fostering my curiosity stems from the support I felt with the DeNardo Lectureship.