Officers and Advisors


New open position: Social Activities Manager - We are currently looking for a Social Activities Manager in ISU PDA to coordinate and manage our social events. Please email Muhammed Walugembe and Misty Treanor with a short bio about yourself and relevant experience if you are interested in this position.

Muhammed Walugembe

Position: President
Email:  mwalugem (at)

Bio-Sketch: I am currently a postdoctoral research associate in the department of Animal Science, Iowa State University (ISU). My research is focused on livestock disease genetics, and currently working on a Newcastle Disease Virus, a disease that is a major threat to global poultry production. I received a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda in 2011. Upon completion of undergrad, I joined ISU for graduate school and received a Masters (2013) and PhD (2017) in Animal Science under the mentorship of Drs. Michael Persia, Kenneth Stalder and Max Rothschild. Besides academics, I have served in various leadership positions, both at graduate school and during my time as postdoc.


Gabriella McLoughlin

Position: Vice President
Email: gmclough (at)

Bio-Sketch: Gabriella McLoughlin is a post-doctoral research associate in the department of Kinesiology in the college of Human Sciences. Her work addresses school-based health promotion and application of implementation science to understand how evidence-based obesity programs are taken to scale. She currently serves as the program coordinator for School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health (SWITCH), a USDA-funded program to disseminate comprehensive wellness programming across Iowa and to other states. In addition, she leads collaborative work with Active Schools to provide teachers with professional development on school-based physical activity promotion, in turn studying the processes by which they adopt best practices and the challenges faced by these stakeholders. Finally, she serves as the post-doctoral research fellow on the NOPREN School Wellness Working group, funded by the Centers for Disease Control prevention research program (Website). She is working toward a career in academia integrating rigorous research with application and dissemination to school settings.

Rahul Nelli

Position: Treasurer
Email: rknelli (at)

Bio-Sketch: Rahul Nelli is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, he is developing 3D cell-culture systems (Air-liquid interface respiratory cells and intestinal mini-guts) to evaluate innate/adaptive immune responses in porcine cell types treated with influenza and PEDV viruses. He is also developing a novel molecular diagnostic assay using flow cytometry. He is a veterinarian from India (Hyderabad) with masters and PhD degrees (microbiology and immunology) from UK. Over these years, he served as member-at-large for postdoc association in Michigan State University and was awarded “Scholar of the Semester” at second Annual International Scholar Showcase. He performed additional duties as postgraduate representative for lab-users committee and veterinary postgraduates while pursuing his Doctoral degree at University of Nottingham, UK. He also served as a senior resident warden at Glasgow university halls of accommodation during his master’s program. Rahul Nelli was an active university student member in India who performed secretary and joint secretary roles in various student unions and represented his veterinary college at National level (India). He loves to travel (former motor-biker and sky-diverL) and spend quality time with his family.

Aditi Sharma

Position: Secretary
Email: aditis (at)

Bio-Sketch: I completed my education in India before I moved to the National Institute of Animal Science, South Korea in 2012 where I worked as a Postdoc for 5 years. I moved to the US to join Dr. Phillip Gauger’s Lab in college of veterinary science as a postdoc research associate in 2018. I am currently working on epidemiology of Influenza.

Arpa Ghosh

Position: IT coordinator
Email: arpa (at)

Bio-Sketch: Arpa works as a Postdoc Research Associate at the Bioeconomy Institute to find new green and sustainable pathways to make renewable fuels and chemicals. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2018 from Iowa State and worked at Intel Corporation before joining back here. Her past research was focused on making biofuel precursor sugars from waste biomass using solvent liquefaction. Prior to being a Cyclone, she completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Chemical Engineering from India. She enjoyed serving as an officer in various student organization including GradSWE, Chemical Engineering Graduate Society, and Sankalp at Iowa State during her PhD program. Besides, she loves music, theater and films, photography.

Tosaporn Sattasathuchana

Position: Graduate Council Representative
Email: tsatta (at)

Bio-Sketch: I was an undergraduate student at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand where I grew up. In 2011, I went to Switzerland for my master and doctoral degrees in computational chemistry at University of Zurich. After my graduation in October 2016, I had carried a short time research at Tianjin University, China. I start my postdoctoral research at Prof. Mark S. Gordon’s group in April 2017. I am currently working at Ames Laboratory on development of quantum chemistry program.

Shawana Tabassum

Position: College Representative
Email: tabassum (at)

Bio-Sketch: I am Dr. Shawana Tabassum, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Electrical and Computer Engineering department. I earned my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from ISU in December 2018 and have been a Postdoc since then. I completed my undergraduate degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in May 2014, the best university in the country, and I was the top female graduate of my class. I received Research Excellence Award for demonstrating excellence in research during my PhD. My research focuses on developing optical sensors at nanoscale for sustainable agriculture and biomedical applications. I served as the laboratory Instructor for 4 undergraduate level courses on Electric Circuits and Systems here at ISU and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the students. Currently I am acting as an immediate supervisor for a PhD student. I am also serving in the editorial board of ‘Journal of Nanoelectronic Devices’ and ‘American Journal of Optics and Photonics’.

Natalie Clark

Position: University Committee for Women and Gender Equity Representative
Email: nmclark2 (at)

Bio-Sketch: I earned my B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Richmond in May of 2013 and obtained my Ph.D. in Biomathematics from North Carolina State University in July of 2018. I recently joined ISU as a postdoc in February of 2019 in the lab of Dr. Justin Walley in Plant Pathology and Microbiology. My work involves integrating genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data into predictive networks of gene and protein regulation in maize. Outside of the lab, I am passionate about teaching younger generations about math and science. While I was at NC State, I developed an activity booth for elementary and middle school students introducing biology and engineering concepts. Additionally, I volunteered for the Brilliant and Beautiful Foundation (BBF) and the NC State Chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), which provide opportunities in math and science for students from underrepresented backgrounds. 


William Graves

Position: ISUPDA Advisor; Dean of Graduate College
Email: graves (at)

Bio-Sketch: Bill Graves was raised in a suburb of Chicago and completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Iowa State University and the doctorate at Purdue University. Bill took his initial faculty position at the University of Maryland. In 1992, Bill returned to Iowa State University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate classes. Bill is working with a team of researchers to develop sustainable alternatives to conventional plastics used in horticultural industries. He also studies the ecology, physiology, propagation, and genetics of rare plants and biological nitrogen fixation of trees and shrubs. For over a decade, Bill directed the graduate programs in horticulture at Iowa State University, and he was appointed associate dean of the university’s Graduate College in 2010. Bill and his colleagues have taught a graduate course for many years on the preparation of manuscripts for submission to refereed scientific journals, and Bill is co-author of a related book, Getting Published in the Life Sciences [John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. Bill has been privileged to hold sabbatical appointments at the University of Delaware and Stanford University to pursue his research. He’s received a Diversity Enhancement Award and the Margaret Ellen White Award for advising graduate students from Iowa State University, and the Norman J. Coleman Award for outstanding research from the American Nursery and Landscape Association.

Misty Treanor

Position: ISUPDA Advisor; Postdoctoral Coordinator, Graduate College
Email: mcarder (at)

Bio-Sketch: I am the Postdoctoral Coordinator in the Graduate College at Iowa State University.  My academic background is that I received my undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO and received my master’s degree from Des Moines University in Des Moines, IA. I switched from research to administrative work and I have enjoyed this move because of the people that I get to work with and represent on a daily basis.  Being raised in a small town in southern Illinois, I love the St. Louis Cardinals and I try to make it down to a game at least once a year.  Other interests of mine include bicycling with my family and enjoying time with my husband and our pets.  We have 2 cats and 2 dogs and I call it our “mini zoo” for fun.

Officer Position Descriptions