About Us

Dr. Sandy Chang
Associate Dean, Science Education

Dr. Chang grew up in NYC and went to the Bronx High School of Science. He received his BS from Yale College in 1988 in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. As an undergraduate he worked in two research labs, studying the molecular biology of trypanosomes and the role of homeobox genes in pattern formation. After graduation, he entered the Tri-Institutional MD/PhD program in NYC and received his MD degree from Cornell University Medical College and his PhD in Cell Biology from the Rockefeller University.  He went to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School to do a residency in Clinical Pathology, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Center. He started his independent research career at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. He was recruited to the Yale School of Medicine in 2010 as a Professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.  He runs a well-funded basic science lab with several senior scientists, postdocs, graduate, undergraduate and high school students, studying structures at the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. For his clinical duties, Dr. Chang signs outpatient cases in Clinical Chemistry at the Yale-New Haven Hospital one week per month. Dr. Chang teaches two Yale first-year seminars, “Molecular Medicine (MBB 60)” and “Topics in Cancer Biology (MBB 50)”, where he teaches first-year students how to read primary scientific literature, present scientific data, and write a scientific grant proposal. Dr. Chang is an Ezra Stiles Fellow and mentors several first-years and sophomores interested in the biological sciences. He welcomes all undergraduates to stop by and chat with him about doing STEM research at Yale! 

Dr. Alexia Belperron
Director, STEM Fellowships

Dr. Belperron attended Cornell University and double majored in Biochemistry and Business Management. After graduation she worked for a small start up company developing HIV therapeutics, which solidified her love of research. She then attended Dartmouth Medical School where she worked on malaria and toxoplasma parasites and received her PhD in Biochemistry. She came to Yale Medical School to complete a post-doctoral fellowship on Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. She stayed on at the Medical School and became faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine and continues to investigate tick-borne diseases, in particular Lyme Disease, Babesia, and relapsing fever. Her research is focused on developing a better understanding of the role of the immune response in both disease pathology and protection in response to these infections, as well as developing improved diagnostics.  In addition to research she teaches both undergraduate and medical students and has worked with Science and QR on STEM Fellowships and Responsible Conduct of Research Training for undergraduates participating in research.  She welcomes all students potentially interested in STEM research to reach out to her for more information.

Dr. Jacqueline Tanaka
Associate Director, STEM Student Success

Dr. Tanaka is a first-generation college student. She earned a BA in Biology and Secondary Education from Geneva College and taught at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago before attending the University of Illinois Urbana where she earned a PhD in Physiology. She did a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. At Penn, she became a Research Assistant Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics focusing on voltage-gated sodium channels. In 2000, she joined the Biology Department at Temple University where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses and continued her research in cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) ion channels. Collaborations with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine led to a molecular understanding of the loss of day vision in dogs due to naturally occurring mutations in the cone photoreceptor CNG channel and to successful gene therapy. Throughout her career, she has worked to promote women and underrepresented students in the sciences. From 2009-2019, she directed an NIH MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) program at Temple to promote diversity in the biomedical sciences. She became a Professor Emeritus at Temple and moved to Yale in 2020 where she joined the Science and QR team part-time.  In addition to her work at Yale, she hopes to develop basic science classes for incarcerated students while in New Haven.

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