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SDGS Rising Star Awardees

About the Rising Star Speaker Award

The Rising Star Award was created to acknowledge the extraordinary accomplishments made by our trainees. A solicitation is sent out to GRTC member faculty who can nominate one postdoctoral researcher from their lab who is in the process of transitioning to an independent academic position. Submission should include the nominee's CV and a short motivation supporting nomination. A selection committee evaluates all nominations and selects the annual Rising Star speaker, who presents during the main SDGS conference. Nominations for SDGS 2023 will be solicited.


2022 Rising Star 

Dr. Kavita Agarwal earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Glycobiology from the National Institute of Immunology (NII) in India. She completed her doctoral studies under the mentorship of Dr. Srinivasa-Gopalan Sampathkumar and discovered a novel inhibitor of the mucin type O-glycosylation pathway in mammalian cells. Dr. Agarwal undertook postdoctoral research in Microbial Glycobiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis with Dr. Amanda Lewis. As a postdoctoral scholar, she investigated the impact of bacterial sialidase activity on host glycans and the role of sialic acid forging by vaginal microbes in colonization of the reproductive tract. She has received several fellowships and awards for her achievements, including graduate research fellowships from NII and the Stephen I. Morse postdoctoral fellowship from Department of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University. Dr. Agarwal continues her research in glycobiology as a member of the Lewis lab at UCSD. She is currently studying the structures and functions of host glycans in the reproductive tract, with the aim to understand their fundamental roles in women's obstetrics and gynecological health.


2021 Rising Star

Dr. Patricia Aguilar Calvo earned her D.V.M., her M.S. in Veterinary Research, and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). As a graduate student under Dr. Juan Maria Torres' mentorship, she determined the genetic resistance of multiple mammal species to prion diseases. Based on her research findings, selective breeding programs to eliminate goat scrapie were developed in the European Union. Dr. Aguilar Calvo performed postdoctoral research at UCSD with Dr. Christina Sigurdson, where she focused on (i) how post-translational modifications impact prion aggregation and neuroinvasion, and (ii) the role of heparan sulfate in the in vivo replication of prions. Dr. Aguilar Calvo is currently an Assistant Project Scientist at UCSD. She was recently awarded a K99/R00 award from the National Institute on Aging to investigate how heparan sulfate modulates the selective cell vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases under the mentorship of Dr. Christina Sigurdson and Dr. Jeff Esko.