Hosted by the Human Genetics Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee

On May 16 2024, the UCLA Department of Human Genetics hosted an Emerging Genomic Scientist Symposium featuring research presentations from five Program Fellows who have been selected from around the country. Program Fellows are senior predoctoral students doing cutting edge research in genetics and genomics. In addition to the symposium, the fellows will participate in a year-long program of mentorship and collaboration with UCLA researchers.

If you are a UCLA postdoc or faculty member working in genomics, and are interested in being a mentor, contact

Meet the 2024 Fellows!

Norma Hylton, MD-PhD student, Harvard/MIT

PANX1 activity regulates fetal architecture across cortical development

Norma Hylton

is an MD-PhD student in the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program where she is a third-year PhD candidate in Christopher Walsh’s lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her research is centered on characterizing mutations in ion channel genes underlying brain malformations. She is broadly interested in using neurogenetics to investigate early brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Jasmine Mack, PhD candidate, University of Cambridge

Genetic architecture, environmental influence: understanding autoimmune disorders and cardiometabolic disorders of pregnancy

Jasmine Mack 

is a PhD candidate, and an American Society of Human Genetics Scholar, training between Professor Gordon Smith’s research group at the University of Cambridge Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and in the NIEHS Biostatistics and Computational Biology branch in Dr. Alison Motsinger-Reif’s research group. Jasmine’s research investigates genetic and environmental factors, broadly multi-omics, related to longitudinal measurements of placental proteins, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and autoimmune diseases, and how these factors may differ across genetic similarity groups. She is also interested in identifying efficient statistical methods for studying multi-ancestral and admixed populations. As an early-career researcher, Jasmine advocates for equitable representation of historically excluded people as researchers, as well as participants in research studies focused on women’s health.  Jasmine is a recipient of the Office of Women’s Health Research Autoimmune Disease Fellowship Award, and a recipient of the Young Investigator’s Award from the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy.

Nancy Paniagua, PhD student, Yale University

The Upstream Sequence Transcription Complex Dictates Nucleosome Environment at piRNA Genes in the C. elegans Germ Line

Nancy Paniagua 

(she/her) is a 6th year PhD student in Valerie Reinke's lab in the Genetics Department at Yale University. Her thesis work focused on understanding how local chromatin and transcriptional states coordinates germline expression of over 10,000 piRNA genes from two distinct megabase size clusters in C. elegans. Utilizing genomic approaches, she uncovered a mechanism establishing orderly nucleosome positioning across piRNA gene clusters to facilitate engagement by transcription machinery.  As an incoming Postdoctoral Scholar in the Laboratory of Aaron Straight at Stanford, Nancy is interested in understanding how genes from heterochromatic domains are regulated by chromatin associated RNAs. As a graduate student, Nancy developed the First Generation Low Income Mentorship Program to guide freshman and sophomore undergraduate students on navigating the "hidden curriculum" at Yale. Additionally, she played a key role as a founding member of the SACNAS chapter at Yale, aiding in increasing the retention and recruitment of disadvantaged and underrepresented students.


Roshni Patel, PhD student, Stanford University

Complex trait architecture across populations: opportunities and considerations

Roshni Patel

(she/her) is a Genetics PhD student at Stanford University. Advised by Jonathan Pritchard, her dissertation work has bridged statistical and population genetics to study the genetic architecture of human complex traits. Her research interests also include the ethical and social implications of human genetics; Roshni co-developed and taught a graduate-level course on genetics, ethics, and society during her PhD. She is deeply committed to improving equity in academic science through empathy-centered approaches to structural change. Prior to Stanford, Roshni grew up in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas and attended the University of California Berkeley for her Bachelor's degree.

eyes robson, PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley

Genomic Al: Benchmarking Approaches and Fairness Risks

eyes robson

(they/she) is a PhD Candidate at UC Berkeley researching models, benchmarks, and bioethics for genomic AI. They develop scalable algorithms for genome comprehension and sequence-to-function modeling, including the development of the large-scale genomic AI benchmark GUANinE. eyes's trans and neurodivergent lived experience informs every aspect of their research, from rethinking historically accepted definitions of informed consent to conscientiously designing benchmarks to avoid biases from socioeconomic confounders. Before Berkeley, eyes completed an MS in Statistics & Operations Research at UNC Chapel Hill.