Methodist Association of Professional and Trainee Affairs



The Methodist Association of Professional and Trainee Affairs is a self-governed association of translational science research professionals. They support our postdoctoral fellows, graduate trainees, and other translational science research professionals with education, networking, intramural activities, and career development and advancement opportunities. Our officers are always working tirelessly to serve you.  You can meet our them below.


We are proud to introduce our gallery! For the some of the things we have been up to, see below.


We at the Methodist Association for Professional and Trainee Affairs are well aware that much planning goes into being an effective scientist. Therefore, we wish to provide resources that will aid in your development as scientists. Below are a series of links that will aid in that development.


At Houston Methodist, BioScience Writers offers by-appointment editorial and writing services for employees, faculty and physicians at the Houston Methodist Research Institute campus.

Their services include (but are not limited to):
  • Manuscripts (clinical and basic science)
  • Grant Proposals
  • Abstracts
  • Book Chapters
  • Dissertations
  • Medical Editing
  • Product and Package Labels
  • Slide Presentations

For additional information:

Amanda Weiskoff, PhD
Project Manager 
BioScience Writers Office, Houston Methodist Research Institute

Meet the MAPTA Officers

Sahana Suresh Babu, PhD – Co-President of Postdoctoral Affairs
PhD – Biology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
MRes – Biomedical Science, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
BS – Biotechnology, Bangalore University, India

Sahana works under John Cooke, MD, PhD, and Ivone Bruno, PhD, in the RNACore and the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences. Her research focuses on the generation and delivery of a novel cancer immunotherapy molecule: a codon-optimized mRNA for adoptive T-cell transfer. Additionally, she is developing novel mRNA delivery techniques with an aim to improve cell therapies for cancer and cardiovascular complications.

Sara Nizzero – Co-President of Graduate Student Affairs
PhD – Applied Physics, Rice University (in progress)
MS – Applied Physics, Rice University
MS – Physics, University of Padova, Italy
BS – Physics, University of Padova, Italy

Sara Nizzero joined the Institute for Academic Medicine in January 2015, as part of her PhD program in applied physics at Rice University. Throughout her academic career, Sara has attended and presented at more than 15 international conferences in the fields of nanomedicine, optics, applied physics and material science, and has published in the field of plasmonics, material science, spectroscopy and nanomedicine. She has received several awards for scientific, entrepreneurial and outreach efforts. Her current research under the mentorship of Mauro Ferrari, PhD in the Department of Nanomedicine focuses on a combined computational and in vivo approach to transport oncophysics.

Cassany Anselme – VP of Outreach
PhD – Medical Clinical Sciences, Texas A&M University Health Science Center (in progress)
BS – Biology, Saint Leo University, Florida 

Cassy is currently a second-year graduate student with the Texas A&M University Health Science Center. She is from Haiti, and completed her undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry in the honors program at Saint Leo University. Under the mentorship of Jenny Chang, MD in the Houston Methodist Cancer Center, her work focuses on using radiotherapy in combination with immunotherapy as a treatment modality for triple negative breast cancer patients. Cassy currently serves as the vice president for outreach, and hopes to engage the Institute for Academic Medicine body with serving the community. She plans on organizing outreach events with local schools serving underprivileged communities, as well as relaying current volunteer needs from the community to members of the institute.


Stefano Casarin, PhD – VP of International Affairs
MS – Biomedical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
PhD – Fluid Mechanics, Université de La Rochelle, France

Stefano is a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Computational Surgery. He works in the lab of Marc Garbey, PhD, where his research focuses on the development of multiscale mathematical models to design effective therapies for vascular and tumor diseases, as well as the improvement of surgical planning.

Christian Boada – VP of Career and Professional Development
MD/PhD – Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (in progress)

Christian joined the Institute for Academic Medicine in September 2015 in the Center for Musculoskeletal Regeneration. He is pursuing his PhD in biotechnology, under the mentorship of Ennio Tasciotti, PhD, in conjunction with the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey Tech) where received his bachelor's and is currently part of the MD/PhD program. His current research focus is the synthesis of biomimetic apolipoproteins as a method of specialized drug delivery into atherosclerotic plaques for treatment and prevention of this disease.

Kelly Hartman – VP of Special Events
BS – Cellular and Molecular Biology, Ohio University

Kelly was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She first came to the Institute for Academic Medicine as an intern, and following her internship, became a research assistant in the laboratory of Ennio Tasciotti, PhD in the Center for Musculoskeletal Regeneration. Her research focuses on the synthesis, development, and application of nanoparticle-based platforms for targeted drug delivery.