Watch graduate student semi-finalists present their research in just 3 minutes!


We’re thrilled to announce that Adélaïde Bernard was awarded first place in the Berkeley Grad Slam for her presentation titled, “Hungry Unicorns: How Antennas in Your Neurons Control Appetite,” and then third place in the UC-wide championship competition as she represented Berkeley. Grad Slam is a UC-sponsored competitive speaking event designed to showcase graduate student research in three-minute talks pitched to a general audience.

Watch the Berkeley Grad Slam event above, and the UC Grad Slam event below:

UC Berkeley Semi-finalists:

Neta Gotlieb headshotNeta Gotlieb, Psychology, Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Area

The Impact of Stress on Pregnancy

A final-year Ph.D. student from Israel, Neta currently studies the neural circuits and hormonal mechanisms underlying ovulation, pregnancy, and birth. After graduating she plans to pursue a career outside academia where she will solve challenges related to female reproductive health.

AJ White headshotAJ White, Anthropology

Making History from Poop

A fourth-year Ph.D. student from Laguna Niguel, California, AJ wants to teach and mentor the next generation of archaeologists, research the impacts of climate change on humans in novel and impactful ways, and engage the public to make informed decisions on the environment.

Michelle Phillips headshotMichelle Phillips, Sociology

The System of Transnational Migrant Domestic Workers

A seventh-year Ph.D. student, Michelle identifies as a lifelong migrant. She wants to work in research and communications for human rights and social justice internationally, particularly seeking the best routes for reform regarding social policies, economics, and equity.

Rana Iemaan headshotIemaan Rana, Environmental Health Sciences

From Chemicals to Chronic Disease: How Formaldehyde Exposure Can Lead to Neurodegenerative Disease and Brain Cancer

Iemaan is a first-year PhD student who is also attending medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. By integrating her fascination with environmentally-mediated disease and her commitment to serving those in need, she hopes to address poignant questions in both basic and translational research as a physician-scientist.

Rachel Woods-RobinsonRachel Woods-Robinson, Applied Science and Technology

Solar Searching: Clever Contacts to Combat Climate Change

A fifth-year Ph.D. student, Rachel believes complex challenges like climate change require that scientists collaborate on tech-based solutions, and also connect with the non-scientific community to develop trust-based solutions. Her research interests range from solar cells’ tiny crystal contacts to their societal impacts, and her career goal is to contribute to an equitable renewable energy transformation.

Wren SuessWren Suess, Astrophysics

Tons of Fuel, But No Fire

Wren is a sixth-year PhD student from Raleigh, North Carolina. Next year, she will continue studying the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time as a joint UC Santa Cruz – Stanford postdoctoral fellow. In addition to research and mentoring, Wren views outreach as a fundamental part of her job as a scientist.

Adélaïde Bernard, Metabolic Biology

Hungry Unicorns: How Antennas in Your Neurons Control Appetite

A sixth-year PhD student from Belgium, Adélaïde studies how cells in our brain sense our energy status and modulate hunger and weight gain. Upon completing her PhD she will be looking for a postdoc focused on neuroscience. As a non-native English speaker, being part of this competition and getting to share her research to a broad audience is a very exciting challenge.


UC-Wide Grad Slam Championship

On Friday, May 7, 2021, 9:45-11:15 a.m., Berkeley’s champion will compete against graduate student peers from other campuses at the UC-wide championship competition. This livestreamed event will be emceed by UC President Michael V. Drake. Competitors will be judged by notable leaders in industry, government, and media.

The top three prizes at the system-wide competition are $1,000 (People’s Choice), $2,000 (third place), $4,000 (second place), and $7,000 for the winner of the prestigious UCOP Grad Slam “Slammy” award.

Want to learn more about Grad Slam?


Watch the full 2019 Berkeley Grad Slam:

Learn from the System-Wide Finalists

Check out the previous system-wide UC Grad Slam events and winners:

Watch the full 2019 UC Systemwide Grad Slam: