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VPA Leadership

Ralph J. Hazlewood II, Ph.D., Senior Co-Chair

senior co-chair

Ralph is a third-year postdoctoral research fellow at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Born in the US Virgin Islands, he attended the University of the Virgin Islands receiving his bachelor’s degree in Biology and later joined the Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a 1 year-fellowship in human genetics. He then obtained his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Iowa in 2015 studying optic nerve diseases similar to glaucoma. His current work focuses on repurposing existing FDA-approved medications for new glaucoma treatments based on regulating growth factor signaling and pressure buildup in the eye with goals of preventing cell death. 


Geoffrey Li, Ph.D., Junior Co-Chair

Geoffrey Li Geoffrey is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Sanders lab in the Department of Biochemistry. He received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of the Philippines Manila and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in March 2017. At Vanderbilt, Geoffrey's research uses NMR spectroscopy to determine the structure-function relation of peripheral myelin protein 22, a membrane protein whose genetic alteration is associated with peripheral neuropathy known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease. His hobbies include hiking and biking.


Anel Jaramillo, Ph.D., Treasurer

Anel JaramilloAnel is currently a second-year postdoc in the department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research. She obtained her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests are to understand the neurobiology underling negative affective states and drugs of abuse. Additionally as a member of the VPA, Anel is passionate about advocating for postdocs’ rights in order to enhance postdocs’ time and training while at Vanderbilt.



Monica Ridgeway, Ph.D., Secretary

Monica Ridgeway Monica L. Ridgeway is a postdoctoral research fellow at Vanderbilt University with the Academic Pathways Fellowship Program in the departments of Teaching and Learning and the School of Engineering. She has joined the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI) research team lead by Drs. Ebony McGee and William H. Robinson. Monica has recently received her Ph.D. in Science Education from the University at Buffalo. As a former science educator, Monica is concerned with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning for historically and contemporarily marginalized students of color. Her research focuses on the role of identity, racialized experiences, and marginalization in K-12 and Higher education STEM spaces. Her work seeks to challenge and problematize traditional notions of STEM teaching and learning and present solutions for marginalize groups to gain access.