Meet the Authors

Riley Bannon's non-scientific passions include peanut butter, theology, sports, and harboring useless pop culture facts in her brain. If you have questions about crunchy versus smooth, Catholic social teaching, the Patriots, or any past or current Bachelor contestant, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Janine Bernardo is a neonatology fellow. Besides medicine and babies, her interests include (in no particular order) reading, travel, meeting new people, spending time with not new people, and her pet rabbit, Hazel. If she hadn’t pursued medicine, she would own a candy store or a bookshop.

Veronica Busa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Genetic Medicine. She is a fine-art aficionado with a tea habit and an implacable fondness for bad sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Howard Chang spent all his life in Southern California before coming to Baltimore for medical school, where he is now a second-year M.D. student. When not lost in reflection, he enjoys watching and playing basketball, drinking bubble tea, and writing long emails.

Afkera Daniel is a fourth year medical student who loves outside activities, especially runs by the water, yoga on a rooftop and touch rugby anywhere. You’d otherwise find her listening to music with a good book in hand. Her favorite day is Free Slurpee Day.

Alisha Dziarski is a first year medical student who spent her gap year completing items on her bucket list, with the help of running shoes, a fireworks store, hair shears, a secondhand guitar and some supportive wing-women. She is excited to complete another bucket list item by writing for the Biomedical Odyssey Blog.

Maria Fazal is a second-year M.D. student who loves art, dinosaurs, and trash TV. She recently adopted a kitten named Clyde and is well on her way to becoming a crazy cat lady.

After college, Talia Henkle became a volunteer English professor at a university in Bogota, Colombia, for a year. She’s now pursuing a Ph.D. in immunology and hopes to eventually work translating science into evidence-based policy.

Carli Jones is a Ph.D. candidate in the Pathobiology Graduate Program. Carli enjoys baking (Baker is her middle name), exercising, memes, and of course science. She aspires to combine her interests in human disease and outer space to work for NASA. Since moving to Baltimore, she has fostered 5 dogs.

Lisa Nicole Learman is a Ph.D. candidate in cellular and molecular medicine. She is passionate about public understanding of science, music and dystopian fiction.

Prior to medical school, Mark Lieber was a producer for National Geographic Television on Lockdown, a documentary series about prisons. When he has free time, he does freelance health reporting for CNN Health and other media outlets. He is an internal medicine resident and plans to focus on HIV and LGBTQ primary care. He enjoys swimming, yoga and playing with his cat, Chloe.

Emily Marcisak is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the human genetics program. She is a weightlifter, a national park explorer and a dog rescuer. As a frequent consumer of scientific nonfiction, she aims to blend her passions for reading, writing and science throughout her career.

Anna Moyer is a Ph.D. candidate in the human genetics program, where she studies brain development in Down syndrome. She enjoys knitting, drinking tea, and watching the Food Network with her cat, Matilda.

Coming back to the East Coast for medical school has Sumil Nair ready to dive into new experiences. He is excited to add to his core identities that include, but are not limited to, a passion for buffalo sauce, a love of lyricism, a wildly unpredictable musical taste and self-diagnosed sports fanaticism.

Ashton Omdahl is a Ph.D. student in the biomedical engineering program. While an engineer on paper, at heart he’s more of a philosopher who loves thinking deeply about great discipline-spanning questions. His writing helps his thinking take shape. When he’s not in the lab, you will probably find him training for his next triathlon — or eating.

Born and raised in Southeast Florida, Palak Patel is feeling warmer than ever in her new Baltimore home as she begins medical school. As a theatre lover, world traveler, adventure seeker, Gators fan, and birthday cake ice cream fanatic, she has defined herself by her experiences.

Emma Spikol is a Ph.D. candidate in the Johns Hopkins neuroscience program. When she’s not in the lab using transparent larval zebrafish to study the brain, she enjoys yoga, hiking and skiing. She subscribes to more than 20 podcasts and listens while cooking and driving, or whenever possible!

Grace Steward, a Ph.D. Candidate in Biomedical Engineering in the Chib neuroeconomics lab, studies decision making and psychiatric disorders. She enjoys theater, swing dancing and open mic nights. If she weren’t studying science, she’d be learning about anthropology.

Sara Wallam is a book and coffee enthusiast, and she loves romantic comedies that make you question your taste in entertainment. More seriously, she is passionate about social medicine and medical humanities, and is interested in the changing role of physicians in today’s society.

Izzy Wells is a doctoral candidate in applied health care systems engineering and a graduate in biotechnology and bioinformatics. She cares deeply about advocacy and using her voice, skills and knowledge to help alleviate suffering. She enjoys art that depicts facets of the human experience in a poetic and dynamic fashion, and she loves traveling, spending time outside with her dog, Juno, playing sports and reading.

Stephanie Yang is a Ph.D. candidate in the human genetics graduate program. Stephanie enjoys soccer, reading, and gaming.  Her favorite chip flavor is Honey BBQ (but only the ones by UTZ).