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Executive Board

Kyle McClary - President and Co-Founder

Kyle is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry at USC. His research focuses on building 3D computer models of biological cells to accelerate drug development. His broader professional mission is to make science accessible, clear, and engaging to everyone. He believes that media is the language of the 21st century, so he co-created BASA to work with digital artists in carrying out this mission. His mantra is “work hard, sleep hard.”

Paymaneh Malihi - Director of Finance

Paymaneh is a 3rd year Molecular and Computational Biology PhD student at USC's Bridge Institute. She is working with Dr. Peter Kuhn on circulating tumor cells and their implication in prostate cancer. She is hoping that her contribution to BASA can help encourage more collaborative work between scientists and artists.

Laura Cechanowicz - Creative Director

Laura Cechanowicz is a researcher, a collector, and a designer. She works across mediums, including animation, film and virtual reality, production design, and sound design. Thematically and formally she explores identity, neuroscience, embodiment, and the ways people record and transcribe personal histories. Her experience includes fieldwork in the US, China, Colombia, and throughout Europe. During her iMAP PhD, from 2014-2016 she worked extensively with Alex McDowell, learning world building through practice and as McDowell’s iMAP Teaching Assistant.

Stephanie Shishido, PhD - Director of Information and Post-Doctoral Society Liaison

Stephanie is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California focusing on the identification and characterization of circulating tumor cells from the liquid biopsy received from clinical trial cancer patients. She earned a Ph.D. in diagnostic medicine and pathology from Kansas State University and a M.S. in muscle physiology from California State University. Herinterests focus on the interactions between the neoplastic cell and the microenvironment, specifically in relation to adhesion and intracellular communication, with an emphasis on cellular imaging, animal modeling, and molecular analyses. She aims to improve the quality of life for cancer patients undergoing treatment through contributing to the scientific community by performing innovative, high-impact cancer research while educating the next generation of scientists.

Barbara Zarzycka, PhD - Director of Communications

Barbara is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on structure-based design of modulators of G Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). Netherlands. During Ph.D. she used structure-based design of inhibitors of Protein-Protein Interactions (iPPIs) in inflammatory diseases. She is fascinated how scientists can find inspiration in the arts and how science can be communicated through art.

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Advisory Board

Raymond C. Stevens, PhD

Thomson Reuters named Stevens as having one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for 2014. The honor recognizes the authors of the top 1 percent most-cited articles in their field. His numerous research accolades include the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award, Beckman Foundation’s Young Investigator Award, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Outstanding Performance Award, the Jouan Robotics Award, the Sidhu Award, a Chinese Academy of Sciences Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, the Qian Ren Award, the Zhao Chenggu SIMM Award for International Drug Discovery and USC Alumnus of the Year.

Richard Weinberg, PhD

Richard Weinberg, Ph.D., is a research associate professor in DADA at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He earned a B.S. in computer science and psychology at Cornell University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the University of Minnesota, and received their Computer Science and Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003. Prior to joining USC, he developed computer graphics software for tropical storm analysis at Control Data, produced 3D computer animation software and animated films simulating future flights and operations of the space shuttle at NASA and Lockheed Electronics, and founded the Computer Graphics Group at supercomputer manufacturer Cray Research. He joined USC in 1985 as the founding director of the USC Computer Animation Laboratory, and has been instrumental in expanding the role of computer animation and digital technology at the School ever since.

Alex McDowell, RDI

Alex McDowell RDI studied Fine Art (Painting) at Central School of Art in London, where he collided with the music industry at the beginning of the punk era. He started designing record sleeves and music videos for musicians from the Cure to Madonna, which led to his work in commercials and cinema as a renowned production designer with more than 20 feature films to his credit, working with directors Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Terry Gilliam, Anthony Minghella, Tim Burton, Zack Snyder, and many others. His awards include Royal Designer for Industry by the UK’s RSA (2006), the President's Award (UK Designers & Art Directors, 2013), the Future Voice Award (Interaction Awards, 2014), the ADG Excellence in Production Design (2005), and SDFCS (2002); and nominations for BAFTA (2006), Saturn (2010), OFTA (2003, 2006), and VES (2003). He serves on the IDEAS board at Autodesk, the Freeman Design Council, the Technicolor Technology Committee, the Science and Entertainment Exchange at the Academy of Science.

Todd Richmond, PhD

By day Todd Richmond is the director of the Mixed Reality Lab and Advanced Prototypes Group at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, as well as the Mixed Reality Studio at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. By night he is a musician and conceptual troublemaker. In a previous life Todd was a chemistry professor at The Claremont Colleges. Early-on he incorporated multimedia and web technologies into his teaching and research, leading him to pursue a broader understanding of technology and content at USC. He works in emerging technologies and their implications/applications for training, learning, operations, and humanity. On the music tip he has studied with Grammy-winning bassist Victor Wooten, and performs regularly around southern California in a variety of ensembles. Todd earned a B.A. in chemistry from the University of San Diego, Ph.D in chemistry from Caltech, and was a post-doctoral fellow in protein engineering at U.C. San Francisco. At USC he has also taught in the School for Cinematic Arts and Marshall School MBA program. As an invited speaker at TEDx, SxSW and other events, he often serves as a reality-check for AR, VR, AI, IoT, and other emerging disruptive technologies with abbreviations.

Helen Berman, PhD

Helen Berman is a Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and a former director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank (one of the member organizations of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank). A structural biologist, her work includes structural analysis of protein-nucleic acid complexes, and the role of water in molecular interactions. She is also the founder and director of the Nucleic Acid Database, and leads the Protein Structure Initiative Structural Genomics Knowledgebase.

Marientina Gotsis, MFA

Gotsis has a broad background in arts, design and engineering with a special interest in interactive entertainment applications for health, happiness and rehabilitation. She founded and leads USC's Games for Health Initiative since 2007, connecting health professionals with innovation in various forms of interactive media. She is co-founder and director of the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center, an organized research unit between the School of Cinematic Arts and the Keck School of Medicine, which was established in 2010. This center designs, develops and evaluates entertainment applications at the intersection of behavioral science, medicine and public health.

Rick Loverd

Rick Loverd directs a program of the National Academy of Sciences called The Science & Entertainment Exchange. The Exchange's mission is to inspire better science in Hollywood by introducing entertainment professionals to great science communicators. Since launching in 2008, they have completed more than 1,400 consults including IRON MAN 2, THOR, TRON: LEGACY, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, STAR TREK: INTO THE DARKNESS, MAN OF STEEL, Fringe, CASTLE, BOURNE: LEGACY, The Good Wife, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, BIG HERO SIX, and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE.

Angela Walker

Angela Walker is the Assistant Director of the Bridge Institute, a multidisciplinary research institute that connects scientists, engineers, and artists from all backgrounds. At the Bridge Institute, Angela leads efforts for program design, policy development, personnel administration, budget, intellectual property management; regulatory compliance; research dissemination; marketing and public relations, fundraising and teaching or research directly related to program.

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Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy is an MFA candidate in the USC School of Cinematic Arts John C. Hench Division of Animation. An artist and filmmaker, her work primarily takes form in documentary animation, poetic narrative and absurdist comedy.

Ana Carolina Estarita Guerrero

Ana Carolina Estarita is a Animation and Digital arts M.F.A. candidate whose work inquires about, memory, human perception, time and its effects on the organic matter, relating concepts of the visual arts with theoretical frameworks from the physics and the literature.

Maryyann Landlord

Maryyann is an MFA student in the USC school of Cinematic Arts Johns C. Hench Division of Animation. Her work focuses on combining animation and interactive technology to create experiences that affect human empathy in education, entertainment, and social behaviors. She hopes to create more opportunities for collaboration between different divisions through BASA and learn more about the scientific community.

Alexander March - USC Health Sciences Campus and USC Stem Cell Institute Liaison

Alexander is a researcher at the BROAD CIRM Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine.  He is the BASA liaison to the Health Sciences Campus and USC Stem Cell and specializes in synthetic biology and utilizing engineered cells to build multicellular tissues for applications in regeneration biology.  Alexander represents the advanced medical sciences in BASA and looks to help connect passionate doctors, researchers, and scientists to artists so that the beauty of medical sciences can be more accessible and educational for the general public.

Reed van Brunschot - Roski School of Art and Design Liaison

Reed van Brunschot  is an MFA Candidate for Fine Arts and the 2017 International Artist Fellow for the USC Roski School of Art and Design. She is best known for using sculpture, performance, installations, and video to explore memory and empathy through semiotics embedded in everyday life. Reed earned her BFA in Fine Arts /Audio Visual from the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Some selected exhibitions in both solo and group shows are Milk Gallery in Amsterdam, Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, Galeria Fita Tape, Porto Alergre Brazil, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, Bass museum of Art in Miami, and Spinello Projects in Miami.

Christopher Vidano - USC Marshall School of Business Liaison

​Chris Vidano is a Business Major and Cinematic Arts Minorat USC. He has experience in short films, writing andrecording music, and working for several companies gaining valuableselling and interpersonal skills. He hopes to bring a creative side tomarketing BASA and to bring their goals to other campuses around thecountry, and even the world.

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Project Leaders

Tyler Marks

Tyler is an undergraduate attending the University of Southern California for Biomedical Engineering, associated with the Stevens lab at the Bridge through the BUGS (Bridge Undergraduate Science) program. His interests lie in neuroscience as well as the cinematic arts, and of course the combination of the two. He is responsible for many of the photographs, videos and documentation on this site and is a valuable asset to our team.

Ailish Ullmann

Growing up surrounded by Florida’s unique wildlife, Ailish’s passion for nature conservation

started at a very young age. However, it wasn’t until she spent a month volunteering with an

environmental management team at a South African nature reserve that she knew she wanted

to dedicate her life to saving the world’s remaining untouched wilderness areas. A newly

graduated USC alum, Ailish is combining her background in environmental research and virtual

reality film production with her passion for wilderness conservation to help shape the way

people think about global environmental issues.

Andrew Reid, MFA

Hello, my name is Andrew Reid and I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Migrating to America at a young age, I learned diverse storytelling is essential for the world to stay connected and it is our duty as filmmakers to create honest portrayals of the topics we present on screen. I am a final year graduate student pursuing a Masters of Arts in Film Production at the University of Southern California (USC). I earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Advertising from the University of Florida. At the age of 21, I became paralyzed from the chest down. A malformation of my blood vessels resulted in a rupture which compressed my spine when I was sleeping, leaving me completely paralyzed. I was told by doctors I would never walk again but with dedication and perseverance I regained movement. Today, I walk again and continue to progress in strength and health. I became an advocate for the disabled community and expanded my production skills by moving to Los Angeles. My goal is to foster my directing skills to bring new and diverse perspectives to Hollywood that promote a culturally progressive future for our society.

Christopher Corzett, PhD

Christopher Corzett is a Senior Research Associate in the Molecular and

Computational Biology section at the University of Southern California. Trained as a

microbiologist, he has studied how bacteria eat sugars in seaweeds to develop

alternative sources of renewable energy, how microbes respond and adapt to

environmental change, and how pathogens cause disease. Long fascinated by the

intersections of art, science, and society, he also uses photography to explore and

illustrate the societal impacts of scientific abstracts. Images can communicate in

ways words cannot, and he aspires to extend the reach and resonance of scientific

storytelling through the visual arts.

JP Francis

John Paul Francis is a multimedia developer and producer. He graduated from USC with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Business and a minor in Interactive Media. Currently, he is a Virtual Reality producer for USA Today's channel VRtually There. In addition to producing, he also freelances for projects across various LA VR studios, among them a USC Bridge collaboration with the World Building Media Lab. He is interested in live-action interactivity and rich multimedia that inspires a sense of community.

Patrick Bender

Patrick Bender is an Interactive Media & Games MFA candidate in the School of Cinematic Arts.  He studied Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Sciences at both Tufts University and University College London.  His work explores personal identity in relation to virtual space, connecting traditional human-computer interaction theory with new theories of mind that incorporate body and world.  Recently, he has performed research in framing virtual reality as a useful tool for neuroscientists.  He also has experience developing applications for both virtual reality and augmented reality.  Patrick’s interests include 19th century Russian literature, playing electric bass, and convincing himself Vaporwave is a legitimate cultural movement.

Nicholas Manting Brewer

Megan Simon

Nicholas Dobkins

Behnaz Farahi

Elizabeth Gu

Adrian Hernandez

Jaqueline Howard

Jonah Sanchez

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Evan is a multidisciplinary artists and MFA candidate in the USC School of Cinematic Arts John C. Hench Division of Animation.  As a co-founder of BASA he is concerned with connecting disparate disciplines to develop new approaches in art making and scientific thinking.  Though his personal work weighs heavily on the art side of this alliance the SC communities’ wealth of brilliant scientific minds is inspiring in him more scientific themes.

Hamed Mirzaei, PhD

Dr. Hamed Mirzaei is a scientist and educator at the University of Southern California. His research focus is the biology and genetics of aging and aging-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart failure. He developed a course titled, “The Public Understanding of Science,” which bridges the divide between science, art, and everyday people. Hamed has made science and evidence-based education a priority in his life, and subsequently established the Hamed Mirzaei Foundation for Arts & Sciences, a 501(c)3 public charity that promotes collaboration between artists and scientists to enhance science-awareness in the community. HMF hosts monthly Art and Science talks for the local community under the banner Byte of Science.

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