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Event Speakers Announced

The March for Science San Diego is proud to announce our April 22nd event speakers. These individuals are a diverse group ranging from research leaders in important scientific research, to students we have chosen based on their desire to pursue science as a discipline. Speakers will present short summaries of their reasons for supporting the March for Science both before the march from 10:00-10:35 at the Civic Center Plaza (1200 Third Ave.) and after the march between 12:30 and 2:00 on the west side of the County Administration Building (1600 Pacific Hwy). Biographies for speakers are listed below and click here for the detailed schedule. Please note that only a subset of the below speakers will present at 10:00 a.m. before the march for 35 minutes, we plan to begin marching at 11:00 (we've allotted ~25 minutes for delays etc.).


Ralph Keeling, PhD

Scripps CO2 Director, University of California, San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)

Dr. Keeling is the current program director of the Scripps CO2 Program, the measurement program behind the Keeling curve, which was started by his father Charles David Keeling in 1958. Dr. Keeling is also a Professor and the Principal Investigator for the Atmospheric Oxygen Research Group at SIO. His research interests include measurements of variations in atmospheric oxygen, recent perturbations to the global carbon cycle, air-sea gas exchange, detection of ocean heat storage and transport using atmospheric gases, and paleoclimate theory. Dr. Keeling received his B.S.

Kevin Tenerelli

Patient Advocate, Undergraduate Researcher, California State University San Marcos

Kevin will share his inspiring path to the MD/PhD which includes a story of how pursuing a career in research is providing him, and others, with the key to understanding his daughter's rare neurodegenerative disorder. He will touch on the importance of science funding for medical advances. Kevin is a Maximizing Access to Research Careers Scholar at Cal State Univ San Marcos. He has participated in several research internships, including the UCSD Medical Scientist Training Program summer research program and CIRM Bridges to STEM Cell Research Training Program at UCSD. In the latter, he used human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to mimic developmental cues to drive retinal ganglion cell differentiation, a precursor for avenues of stem cell-based therapy in blinding eye diseases such as glaucoma. He is a co-author on a manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience. Kevin will be starting an MD/PhD program at UCSD in the fall. 

Lynne Talley, PhD

Distinguished Professor, University of California, San DiegoScripps Institution of Oceanography

Dr. Talley is a distinguished professor of oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Her research focuses on the general circulation of the ocean and the role of various oceanic and atmospheric conditions that affect ocean currents and property distributions, including salinity. Her work involves analysis of data from most of the world’s oceans, depicting the movement of heat, salinity, and water masses, and the formation of water masses, particularly in subpolar regions. Her research combines analysis of ocean observations with advanced theoretical work to describe and map large-scale circulation. She was a lead author of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (Working Group I chapter “Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level,”), which earned contributing scientists a share of the Nobel Peace Prize, and a lead author on the same topic for the Fifth Assessment Report. ‍

V.S. Ramachandran, MD, PhD

Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego

V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. Ramachandran initially trained as a doctor (MBBS) at Stanley Medical College, Madras, India, and subsequently obtained a Ph.D. from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. After that, he received an honorary FRCP; London (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians) and two honorary doctorates (DSc; honorus causa). Ramachandran’s early work was on visual perception but he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology which, despite their apparent simplicity, have had a profound impact on the way we think about the brain. He has been called “The Marco Polo of neuroscience” by Richard Dawkins and “The modern Paul Broca” by Eric Kandel. His many awards include the BBC Reith lectureship, the Gifford Lectures (Scotland), and the annual Henry Dale medal and election to its membership by the Royal Institution of London. 

Bianca Mothé, PhD

Associate Dean and Professor, California State University at San Marcos, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Mothé is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and a prominent professor of Biological Sciences at California State University San Marcos. Her research focuses on immunology and virology as she has helped design novel vaccines for rapidly mutating pathogens, including HIV and Ebola. Her research has taken her to Brazil where she studies immune-system responses in tuberculosis patients. She also serves as on the National Institute of Health’s Vaccines Against Microbial Pathogens study section that reviews novel vaccine proposals. She is the principal investigator for the Bridges to the Stem Cell Research Training Grant that provides stem cell science opportunities for undergraduate scholars and including patient advocacy and community outreach. Through her service-learning STEM courses, she engages college students in outreach to the community teaching young scholars in local elementary and middle schools to think critically about topics from a variety of STEM disciplines. ‍

Stephen Mayfield, PhD

Director, California Center for Algae Biotechnology, University of California San Diego

Dr. Mayfield is the director of the California Center for Algae Biotechonology, co-director of Food & Fuel for the 21st Century, and a professor of Molecular Biology at the University of California San Diego. His research focuses on gene regulation in eukaryotic algae and the use of this alga for the production of human therapeutic proteins and as a platform for biofuel production. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Berkeley and B.S. in Biochemistry and Plant Biology from the California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo.  

Sharon Patray

Student Research Assistant, California State University San Marcos

Sharon will share her remarkable story of how perseverance and hard work pay off. She was born in Liberia and migrated as a refugee to Ghana during the civil war. She immigrated to the U.S. on a resettlement program during high school. After high school she served 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed to several countries. Sharon will discuss how defending your country and defending science are both important non-partisan issues. Sharon is a Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Scholar at Cal State Univ San Marcos. She received the Dean's Award in the College of Science and Mathematics, one of the highest honors given to a student in that college. She co-authored work from her laboratory that appeared in a top journal in her field. She is starting a PhD program at Johns Hopkins in the fall; the same university in which she conducted summer research isolating mycobacteriophages from the environment to help create a data base of phage genome for further research in various scientific fields.   

Keolu Fox, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

Dr. Keolu Fox's research interests include genome sequencing technologies, genome editing and indigenizing medical research. Dr. Fox is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. Previously, he was at the University of Washington, Department of Genome Sciences working with experts at Bloodworks Northwest, in Seattle, WA. His work focuses on the application of genome sequencing to increase compatibility for blood transfusion therapy and organ transplantation. Along with fellow indigenous geneticists Dr. Katrina Claw and Dr. Joe Yracheta, Dr. Fox co-founded IndiGenomics, a tribal non-profit organization with a mission of bringing genomic expertise to indigenous communities, empowering indigenous research capacity and positively contributing to health research with indigenous communities for present and future generations. Dr. Fox is an active member of SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science) where he serves as a mentor and speaker. Recently Dr. Fox's work has been in the international media spotlight, with recognition in outlets such as Wired, the BBC, CBC, NPR, The Atlantic, Forbes, Indian Country Today and others. He was named a TED Fellow in 2016 for his talk:

Peter Huang, PhD

Board Director and CFO, Sino-American Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Professional Association

Peter Huang currently heads up the chemistry department in a local biotech company and mainly focuses on discovering innovative drugs for life-extended oncology therapies. Previously, Peter worked at Pfizer and his major responsibility was to discover and develop drug-like small molecules for cancer treatment. During his career, Peter has contributed to over 50 scientific publications/patents and inventions of numbers of preclinical and clinical candidates for cancer treatment. Peter holds Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry. In the past a few years, Peter served as CFO of SABPA (Sino-American Biotechnology and Professional Association) and Board Director.

Amara Siva, PhD 

Laboratory Professional; Chair of the Native American Advisory Council at CSUSM

Dr. Siva has over 15 years of molecular diagnostic and therapeutic drug development experience, having served in leadership roles in research, clinical trials, and clinical laboratory operations at companies such as Millennium Health, Genoptix Inc., Gen-Probe Inc., and Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Her experience encompasses aspects of assay development from R&D to clinical validation, and the successful launch of molecular and immunologic diagnostic tests into the commercial laboratory and implementation into global clinical trials. She has also served as Associate Faculty in Biotechnology for MiraCosta College and currently serves a Chair

Cesar Sauceda

7th Grade Student

Cesar Sauceda is a 7th grade honor roll student student aspiring to become a scientist. A former president of his school’s Recycling Club, currently member of the Makerspace Club, and Robotics Club led by Debra Brice, Cesar hopes to one day partake in research in hopes of bettering the lives of others through his innovations. Although young, his vivid mind and creative thinking has surpassed his age and today he will share how science has helped color his world. ‍ ‍

Seney Larson Moreno

8th Grade Student, Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair Award Recipient

Seney is 14 year old 8th grader at St. Didacus Parish School who lives in Normal Heights. Seney has participated in the County Greater Science and Engineering Fair for two years and will continue on to the State Science Fair in a few weeks, this will also be my second year of participation. As a 7th grader she placed 1st at the County fair and 2nd in the State Science Fair. She also received 3 professional awards


Melissa Slawson is a California-barred attorney with nearly 10 years of experience in the telecommunications legal field.  With a focus toward public service, Melissa started her career at the California Public Utilities Commission and currently works for a socially-conscious wireless and technology company based out of Dallas, TX.  Melissa holds a J.D. from California Western School of law and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Melissa started the March for Science San Diego and has led the team since day 1 leveraging her leadership skills and engaging in countless hours of hands-on planning and work.

March information

April 22, 2017
Location: Civic Center
1100 Third Ave, San Diego, CA

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