AIA Members and Executive Board

The Executive Board is an elected group of active members in AIA who divided amongst the following positions: Chief Executive Officer(s), Chief Operations Officer(s), Chief Communications Officer(s), and Chief Financial Officer. These positions are reset every first general meeting of the academic year (August), with nominated individuals elected for respective positions.

2021-2022 AIA Executive Board

Executive Officers

Sean Korpela

Sean Korpela is a graduate student in the Pharmacology PhD program in Dr. Lynn Heasley’s lab studying head and neck cancer. His research investigates the signaling networks that function as oncogenic drivers and the role these pathways play in shaping the immunological landscape of the tumor microenvironment. He received his BS in biochemistry at Loyola University Chicago and upon completion of his PhD intends to pursue a career in translational research, with the goal of developing novel therapeutics to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients.​


Ian Shelton is a PhD student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz. He is currently working in a lab focused on translational cancer research. His interest is in bridging bench science research with large-scale omics studies to better understand the biological shifts that occur during cancer progression. Ian received his BA in Science and Management with a focus in Biotechnology from Claremont McKenna College. Upon completion of his PhD, he intends to pursue a career in bringing novel therapeutics to the bedside for cancer patients. He is a Denver native and enjoys hiking Colorado’s Fourteeners, biking, running, skiing, golfing, and fishing.


Bill Showers

Bill Showers is a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology Professional Science Master’s Program at CU Anschutz. He is pursuing a certificate in the Biomedical Data Science Program, and his research interests include the application of computational biology to genomics. He is also the Outreach Coordinator for the CU Anschutz Graduate Student Council. He obtained his BA in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder. 


Operating Officers

Courtney Buck is a Co-COO of the Academia Industry Alliance. Currently, Courtney is working towards her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Science and Biotechnology (BSBT) program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She is currently a member of the Walter lab wet team, assisting lab personnel with tasks such as mass tube printing, inventorying, and prepping solutions. Before joining the Walter Lab and the BSBT program, Courtney had worked as a laboratory technician specialized in bone marrow procedures for TriCore Reference Laboratories in New Mexico. Her interests lie within the field of Biomedical Science and Regulatory Affairs with hopes to be able to contribute to the improvement of patient’s quality of life. When Courtney is not working or studying for classes, she is practicing her art, learning new cooking recipes, and playing games with her friends.
Crystal Kim is a pharmacy student at the Colorado University of Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Crystal has received her BS in biology at the University of Colorado Denver. She has worked for Kaiser Home IV pharmacy as a pharmacist intern in which she developed skills in compounding and counseling medications to her patients. She is currently working on a research project looking at antimicrobial stewardship in ampC producing bacteria.

Communications Officers

Kelsey Lesteberg

Kelsey Lesteberg is a research associate in Dr. David Beckham's lab in the Division of Infectious Diseases at CU Anschutz. She studies how pregnancy affects the immune response to Zika virus infection. Kelsey received her BS in Biomedical Sciences at St. Cloud State University and her PhD in Immunology from Baylor College of Medicine. She is interested in the fields of immunology, infectious diseases, and cell biology, and she enjoys learning and developing new techniques and protocols for research in these fields.


Susana Restrepo

Susana Restrepo is a graduate student in the Pharmacology PhD program in Dr. Jason Aoto's lab where she studies the role of an abundant protein in the brain and its implications in synaptic signaling, as well as neuropsychiatric disorders through the use of molecular biology and electrophysiology. Susana received her BS in Biotechnology at the University of Florida where she was also trained in structural biology. She hopes to pursue a career outside of academia in research and development.



Nicholas Tieu is a 2nd year graduate student in the PharmD program at CU Anschutz and obtained my B.S. in Health Sciences at the University of Central Florida. Currently, I work for the Drug Utilization Review team at CU to aid in determining drug approval for the Colorado Medicaid formulary. I hope to pursue a career within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.


Financial Officer

Chidinma Onyia is third year pharmacy student at University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Chidinma has a love for learning and excitement to continuously challenge herself, develop and improve. She is passionate about solving healthcare problems to improve patient care and access on a global scale. Chidinma is the health ecosystem market research intern at Indivior. In this role, she analyzes the healthcare landscapes of different metropolitan areas interplay between hospitals, health-systems, payers, and alternative payment models to help guide more strategic and tactical decision making in an effort to drive market share, inform product commercialization, and catalyze effective field team planning. 

In pharmacy school, she wears multiple hats, where she serves as the president of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), tutors pharmacy students on pertinent topics in pharmacotherapy and serves as a student ambassador to advocate for the pharmacy profession. She has actively pursued teaching and leadership opportunities during her pharmacy school career in order to refine her communications skills and gain translatable skills that she can apply to the workforce. She is committed to being at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific discoveries in order to bring life-changing therapies to patients. 


Technical Officers

Starlynne Gornail is pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Colorado at Anschutz specializing in health behavior and informatics. She's applied her expertise working previously with healthcare payers, federal agencies, and academic institutions to her current position as a research assistant for the mhealth impact lab. Her existing projects involve developing protocols for pharmaceutical and life science companies. 

G. Devon Trahan is a Senior Professional Research Assistant working with Dr. Patricia Ernst and Dr. Michael Verneris in the Department of Pediatrics Section of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, and Dr. Mitchell Cohen and Dr. Christopher Silliman in the Trauma Research Center. He has processed and analyzed numerous single cell and RNA sequencing data sets that encompass a wide range of studies, including natural killer cell and innate lymphoid-like cell development, milk-derived mammary epithelial cells (MECs) transcriptional signature identification, and investigation of transcriptional drivers involved in the loss of blood brain barrier integrity following trauma. Devon strives to facilitate meaningful interpretations from such data sets using a variety of tools, primarily written in R and Python. He obtained his MS in Biotechnology at the University of Colorado Anschutz and a BS in Biochemistry and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. 


University Liason


Bruce Mandt, Ph.D. is an Assistant Dean in the Graduate School and Director of the Postdoctoral Office and the Career Development Office at the University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Denver/Anschutz). Bruce’s primary function is to ensure that CU Denver/Anschutz provides a supportive and effective training environment where graduate students and postdoctoral fellows can acquire the professional skills and experiences requisite for successful career transitions. Bruce believes that participation with trainee organizations, like AIA, is critical for trainees to test drive different career interests, gain valuable career skills and experiences, and expand their professional networks.