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AWIS Central Massachusetts Board of Directors


Lindsey Smith, PhD 


Field Application Scientist

Aiforia Technologies 

Lindsey is an experienced neuroscience researcher with a strong background in synaptic physiology, the neuroendocrine system, and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  Since 2013, Lindsey’s research efforts have focused on elucidating mechanisms of synaptic decline, using preclinical animal models of AD. In her current role at Aiforia, Lindsey empowers researchers to create custom AI models that profoundly expedite data analysis for preclinical research, across a wide spectrum of human disease.

Ambily Abraham, PhD

Vice President –

Senior Scientist


Ambily Abraham is a senior scientist at the Cell and Protein Sciences division at AbbVie, Worcester. Previously she was a postdoctoral associate at the UMass medical school and worked on diverse translational projects including development of yeast microparticle based vaccine delivery platform and development of microbial crystals for the treatment of gastrointestinal nematodes. During her doctoral studies at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, she developed a novel virus-based intracellular antibody delivery vehicle. Apart from her scientific tinkering and hiking, she is interested in growing a network of curious minds and joined AWIS as a communication director in 2019.


Sarah Woodard 

Senior Treasurer-

Director Product Management

Invoice Cloud

Sarah currently works as a Director of Product Management at Invoice Cloud with a focus on solving customer pain points with clear business goals and product vision. She has previously worked as an applications engineer at Instron and founded an engineering and technical training program at IPG. 

Sarah holds a certification in project management and received a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She is passionate about inspiring and mentoring others to have fulfilling STEM careers. She is committed to helping grow a society that promotes women in STEM.


Heleen van ‘t Spijker, PhD

Treasurer - heleen.van'

Postdoctoral Associate – Molecular medicine

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Heleen van ‘t Spijker works as a post-doctoral associate in the lab of Joel Richter at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her research is focused on regulation of translation in autism models. Heleen grew up in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and studied in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where she received a BA in Literature and a BA in Biomedical Sciences. She continued to study in Utrecht for an MA in Neuroscience and Cognition. She then studied the regulation of neural plasticity by perineuronal nets at Cambridge University, UK, to receive her PhD in Clinical Neuroscience in 2019. Heleen joined AWIS in 2019.


Ishani Dasgupta, PhD 

Events director -

Senior  scientist, AbbVie

.Ishani Dasgupta works as a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School. Her research is focused on studying the role of mechanical tension in signaling pathways implicated in cancer, cell growth, differentiation and organ development. Prior to joining UMass in 2017, Dr. Dasgupta completed her PhD in molecular and cell biology from NTU, Singapore. During her doctoral studies, she studied the role of osmotic pressure in the regulation of cytoskeleton during mitosis. Dr. Dasgupta is interested in science communication and writing. She joined AWIS as the Events Director for the Central Massachusetts Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) in 2018. Besides, she also serves as a board member of Industry Exploration Program at UMass Medical School, which provides the opportunity for students and postdocs to explore careers in biotech industries and network with industry professionals.
She is a trained classical dancer and enjoys dancing, quilling and travelling when she is not doing science.

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Dimpi Mukhopadhyay 

Co-Events director -

PhD candidate

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dimpi Mukhopadhyay is a 5th year graduate student in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology at UMass Chan Medical School. Originally from Calcutta, India, she received her B.S. in Microbiology from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta and an M.S. in Cancer Biology from Drexel University School of Medicine. For her Masters, she worked on Lipid metabolic pathways that drive triple negative breast cancer and identified a pro-survival signalling pathway in Glioblastoma. Her current research interests are focused on mechanisms that contribute to the function of breast cancer stem cells with an emphasis on the role of specific calcium channels in the same. She aims to communicate science to people outside the scientific community and foster networking, mentoring, and collaborations withing the scientific community. She has joined AWIS in 2022 as an Events Co-director. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking, checking out new breweries, watching movies from all around the world, and being a full-time ‘dog mom’.

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Mohana Gupta

Mentorship chair -

PhD candidate

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Mohona Gupta is a graduate student at UMass Chan Medical School who joined the school in August 2018. She is studying disease pathogenesis of inherited blindness disorders such as X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa using multiple model systems from cell lines, smaller organisms like zebrafish and mice. She intends to continue to nurture her passion of being a discovery scientist while taking up leadership roles aligned to her professional goals. Along with being the Mentorship chair of AWIS Central Mass chapter, Mohona is also a serving GSBS ambassador at UMass Chan. In addition, she is a trained Indian classical dancer and performs at several community events.

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Peren Coskun 

Outreach and engagement

PhD candidate

University of Massachusetts Medical School


Peren is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. Her research focuses on post-transcriptional regulation in mRNAs in the germline. Before her graduate studies, Peren studied Biological Sciences and Bioengineering in Istanbul, Turkey, and received her Bachelor of Science degree with minor honor in Chemistry from Sabanci University. She is passionate about outreach and mentoring; she participated in several student organizations such as Graduate Student Body Committee and Peer Mentoring Committee in University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. She currently serves as the co-chair in the Industry Exploration Program’s executive board.

Snehalata Kadam, PhD

Brand ambassador-

Assistant Teaching Professor - Department of Physics
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Snehalata Kadam is the President and one of the founding members of the AWIS Central MA chapter. She is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Worcester. Dr. Kadam earned a B.S and M.S in Biology from India and her Ph.D in Animal Genetics from University of Tuebingen, Germany. She worked as a Post-Doctoral Scholar at California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), Pasadena where she studied how mechanics of cell migration affects developmental processes. Dr. Kadam joined WPI as a Physics faculty in 2014 with a goal of bridging Physical and Biological Sciences. She is passionate about creating a Physics loving atmosphere especially in female students and developing innovative learning strategies for students to adapt and apply their knowledge in diverse fields of science.

Dr. Kadam, an AWIS member since 2014 was involved in founding the AWIS affiliate group, which led to the establishment of the AWIS Central MA chapter. She currently lives in Shrewsbury with her husband and two sons. She is an active volunteer of the non-profit organization, India Society of Worcester (ISW) and helps coordinate cultural performances for the society. She is an avid dancer and loves performing the classical Indian dance style of Kathak.

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