PDA Leadership Biographies


Member Biography
Photo of Justine Renauld

Justine Renauld, PhD
~ Senior Co-President, PDA
~ Representative, Faculty Senate

Justine Renauld completed her PhD in cellular and tissue biology lab at GIGA Neurosciences in the University of Liege in her native Belgium. Her PhD thesis investigated the cytoskeletal development of the inner ear. She joined Dr. Basch's lab in 2017 to work on the development of cell therapy strategies to treat deafness caused by stria vascularis defects in children.

Outside the lab, her favorite pastimes are DIY projects such as crocheting or sewing and gardening. She joined the PDA group in 2018 to help address J1 visa issues postdocs often have. This year, she will serve as the Senior Co-President, representing the Postdoctoral Association within the Faculty Senate.

Erik Price - Man with beard and glasses in blue sweater with kitten on shoulder

Erik J. Price, PhD
~ Junior Co-president, PDA
~ Representative, Faculty Senate Committee on University Libraries
~ Chair, PDA Public Relations Committee

Erik J. Price is originally from Mt. Holly, New Jersey and completed his PhD from Case Western Reserve University in Macromolecular Science and Engineering in 2021. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the same department working to provide inexpensive, scalable material solutions for extreme-environment situations (e.g. fire, corrosion, ballistics, radiation, etc.). His non-academic hobbies include video games, sports (particularly watching the Florida Gators, where he is an alumnus), and hiking.

Erik joined PDA to further his professional development and help other postdoctoral scholars to do the same. He is excited to be the Junior Co-President of the Postdoc Association, the Chair of PDA Public Relations Committee, and PDA Representative on Faculty Senate Committee on University Libraries.

Katharina “Katie” Rynkiewich - woman with brown hair in black blouse

Katharina “Katie” Rynkiewich, PhD
~ Secretary, PDA
~ Co-Chair, PDA Women's Affairs Committee


Katharina “Katie” Rynkiewich is from Indiana and recently obtained her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. Katie also earned a master’s degree in social sciences from The University of Chicago and is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University where she uses ethnographic methods to study the social dynamics of antibiotic prescribing among hospital-based physician specialties. In 2021, she became Secretary of the PDA and Co-Chair of the Women’s Initiatives Committee. 

Outside of work, Katie’s interests include exploring Cleveland’s parks and walking trails, playing tennis, and cooking meals with family.

Photo of Lenka Hromadkova in a soda fountain shop

Lenka Hromadkova, PhD
~ Treasurer, PDA

Lenka Hromadkova is originally from the Czech Republic where she obtained her PhD in Animal Physiology at Charles University in Prague. During her PhD, she also attended several fellowships to work with neuronal cultures in Alzheimer’s disease lab at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Dr. Safar’s lab at the Department of Pathology working on cellular tau pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Outside the lab, she enjoyed sport activities like beach volleyball, yoga, and swimming. During her free time, she likes traveling and exploring different cultures, painting, cooking, and reading. She joined the PDA group in fall 2021 as a treasurer to be a part of postdoctoral scholar community.

Giacomo Maria Di Mauro - Man with beard in suit

Giacomo Maria Di Mauro, PhD
~ Representative, Faculty Senate Committee for Information, Communication and Technology
~ Chair, PDA Social Activities Committee

Born and raised in Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna, Giacomo Maria Di Mauro obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan. In Ann Arbor, MI, Giacomo studied chemistry and nanomaterials for NMR studies of membrane proteins. Recently moved to Cleveland, OH, Giacomo joined the Dr. Matthias Buck lab in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the Case Western Reserve University as a postdoc, where he studies protein-lipids and protein-protein interactions.

In 2021, he also joined the PDA serving as a representative on the Faculty Senate Committee for Information, Communication and Technology. In addition, Giacomo serves as a co-chair of the PDA Social Activities Committee to help postdocs at the CWRU expand their networks.

Photo of Postdoc Jeremy Didion with a dog by a lake

Jeremy Didion, PhD
~ Representative, Faculty Senate Committee on Graduate Studies
~ Co-Chair, PDA Benefits & Policy Committee


Jeremy Didion is originally from Northern Ohio and obtained his PhD from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio where he studied vision in fiddler crabs. Currently, Jeremy is a postdoc in Dr. Jessica Fox’s lab in the Department of Biology where he studies the neural integration of sensory information from fly halteres in the central complex of the fly brain. Within the PDA he currently chairs the benefits committee where he aims to help postdocs better understand their benefits and support the creation of overhead funds to be utilized for postdoc benefits (Ask for details). In his free time, he enjoys sports, gaming, cooking, hiking, dog training, and spending time with his family.
Raziyeh (Melina) Ghahremani - woman wearing red blouse

Raziyeh (Melina) Ghahremani, PhD
~ Co-Chair, PDA Professional Development Committee

Raziyeh (Melina) Ghahremani is originally from Iran and she earned her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Following her graduation, she joined the Energy Lab at CWRU as a postdoctoral researcher, where she is developing novel electrolytes for redox flow batteries. She joined PDA aiming to have a positive impact on the postdoc community and she believes that being part of this association provides an opportunity to advance her career along with her research experience at Case. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to audiobooks and podcasts, spending time in nature, and doing anything outdoors.
Portrait photo of Athar Khalil

Athar Khalil, PhD
~ Co-Chair, PDA Public Relations Committee

Athar Khalil is from Lebanon and she obtained her PhD from the American University of Beirut in 2018. She joined the McFarland lab in 2021 as a postdoctoral scholar in the department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Currently, she is developing a live mouse model, using the Tuba-seq technology, to further understand the role of the TBX2 subfamily in KRAS-driven lung cancers.

Athar joined the PDA to further develop her professional network and to support other postdocs at CWRU.

Rehan Khan - man in suit wearing name badge in a school gymnasium

 Rehan Khan, PhD
~ Representative, Faculty Senate Committee on Research
~ Co-Chair, PDA Visa and Immigration Committee

Rehan Khan is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the School of Medicine in the Department of Pathology. He has a PhD in Biosciences from the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He was a Gene and Mary Lou Kurtz Fellow at Mayo Clinic; MN and his research area was Oncolytic Virotherapy. He did his second postdoc at Mayo Clinic, AZ and explored the role of CXCR4 signaling in cancer. Rehan is currently exploring how the molecular machinery that controls proteostasis regulates immune cells with a specific focus on HSCs and T-cells. Rehan joined PDA as co-chair of VISA and Immigration committee to help postdocs to better understands the VISA and Immigration related issues and try to look for possible solutions. In his free time, Rehan loves to travel, explore new places, cook, photography and gardening.
Jeffrey McCausland - man in suit

Jeffrey McCausland, PhD
~ Co-Chair, PDA Benefits & Policy Committee

Jeffrey (Jeff) McCausland is a postdoctoral scholar working in the Department of Molecular and Microbiology in the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. Jeff originally obtained a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. Jeff’s research interests are geared towards understanding how the spatiotemporal organization of cellular membranes contribute to viral lifecycles and pathogenesis. His hobbies include being a full time parent and loving husband. Beyond that he enjoys woodworking, film photography, and cooking.

Nidhi Shukla - woman wearing hat with mountains in the background

Nidhi Shukla, PhD
~ Representative, Faculty Senate Committee on Women's Affairs


Nidhi Shukla is a Postdoc in the Department of Pathology. Nidhi is from India and she joined CWRU in 2020 after completing her PhD in Cancer Biology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is working in the department of Pathology and her research is focused on human ACE2 variants and their interactions with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in in vitro models. She is currently the postdoc representative on the Women Faculty Senate committee. In her spare time Nidhi loves gardening, painting, hiking and cooking.

Kimia Tajik - smiling woman with brown hair in pink top

Kimia Tajik, PhD
~ Representative, Faculty Senate Committee for Minority Affairs
~ Co-chair, PDA Women's Initiatives Committee


Kimia Tajik is a biomedical engineering postdoctoral scholar, working on prognostic and predictive models for brain tumors. She obtained her PhD in computer science from Oregon State University, where she worked on image encryption algorithms to balance privacy and usability. Kimia thinks that being a part of PDA is a great opportunity for her to learn about the exciting process of making positive changes for her community. In her free time, Kimia enjoys writing poems, working on theater projects, reading fiction books, and spending time with friends and family.
Sreelakshmi Vasudevan - woman in pink top sitting on concrete wall

 Sreelakshmi Vasudevan, PhD
~ Co-Chair, PDA Visa and Immigration Committee

Sreelakshmi Vasudevan is originally from Kerala, India and she received her Ph.D degree in Biochemistry from University of Kerala, India. She started her postdoctoral research in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Case Western Reserve University during 2018. Her current research projects are on retinal receptors. She joined the CWRU postdoc association in 2021 as a Co-Chair of Visa & Immigration Committee where she aims to help fellow foreign postdoctoral scholars to meet their needs pertaining to the US Immigration department. Other than family time and research, she is interested in exploring new places and cultures.