UP - UT Health San Antonio Postdoc Association

UT Health San Antonio Postdoctoral Association (UP)

UT Health San Antonio Postdoctoral Association (UP) is a volunteer organization dedicated to addressing the needs and concerns of all UT Health San Antonio postdocs. Our vision is to foster success among postdoctoral scholars today that will enhance their professional endeavors tomorrow. Our mission is to enhance, support and promote postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and help to prepare postdoctoral scholars for successful careers. UP serves postdoctoral scholars in all disciplines, schools, and colleges across the University. Our hope is to foster a sense of community, provide resources for career and personal development, and provide a framework for representation on campus and in the local community for postdoctoral scholars from all departments of the University.

We are here …

  • To build effective career management skills and develop the professional skills postdoctoral scholars need both in and outside of lab
  • To organize events and seminars that enriches the scientific experience of postdocs and encourages social interaction with the community.
  • To collaborate with other university organizations and services to address concerns that are unique to the postdoctoral scholar population
  • To advocate for postdoctoral scholars at UT Health San Antonio and educate them regarding university policy and postdoctoral rights



2021-2022 UP Officers

Contact UP via email: UP@uthscsa.edu


UP President 

Dr. Francisca Acosta was born in El Salvador, but raised primarily in Houston, Texas. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology former NCI T32 Scholar and current NCAT TL1 Scholar. Currently, she is studying the role of Osteocytic Connexin43 hemichannels in metabolic function. Her research interests are Metabolism, Musculoskeletal, Diabetes, Aging, Cancer Biology, and Biomedical Engineering/Regenerative Medicine. Beyond research, Dr. Acosta is incredibly passionate about scientific outreach, mentorship, and science communication.

As UP’s President, her goal is work in conjunction with fellow UP Officers/OPA to engage, promote, empower, and grow the postdoctoral community here at UT Health San Antonio.


Dr. Acosta can be contacted at acostafm@uthscsa.edu.


Dr. Acosta is fluent in Spanish.


UP Finance Officer

Dr. Sevan Alwan was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. As an IRACDA-SABER Postdoctoral Fellow at UT Health SA, she is working on developing novel drugs to treat schistosomiasis; a neglected tropical disease that affects over 250 million people in 78 countries. 

As UP’s Finance Officer, her current role is organizing financial documents and maintaining the association records in coordination with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. She also works with the other UP Officers to create opportunities for Postdocs to network and socialize. Dr. Alwan can be contacted at alwan@uthscsa.edu

Dr. Alwan is fluent in Arabic.


UP Networking Officer

Dr. Manpreet K. Semwal was born and raised in Mumbai (Bombay), India. As an associate SABER*IRACDA scholar at UT Health SA, she is working on understanding the mechanisms to improve age-associated metabolic diseases including obesity and diabetes in human subjects. 

As UP’s Networking Officer, her goals are to interact with various entities, to organize workshops, scholarly activities, and career discovery opportunities, both inside and outside of UT Health SA to facilitate and promote development of professional networks. Dr. Semwal can be contacted at semwal@uthscsa.edu.

Dr. Semwal is fluent in Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, & Urdu.


UP Professional Development Officer

Dr. Elisa Fanunza was born and raised in Italy. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at UT Health SA. Currently, she is studying the mechanisms adopted by Human Cytomegalovirus to evade an integral part of the host innate immunity: the APOBEC3 family of human DNA-cytosine deaminases. 

As, UP’s Professional Development Officer, her goal is to work with the entire UP/OPA team in helping develop events and resources to help postdocs at this and future stages of their career. Dr. Fanunza can be contacted at fanunza@uthscsa.edu.
Dr. Fanunza is fluent in Italian.


UP Communication Officer

Dr. Bojana Stefanovska was born and raised in Bitola, North Macedonia. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology. Currently, she is working on discovering synthetic lethal vulnerabilities in APOBEC-high breast and ovarian cancers.


As UP’s Communication Officer, her goal is to distribute information to promote the association among current and upcoming postdocs, and to enhance the dissemination of information about scientific achievements of postdocs within the community of UT Health SA. Dr. Stefanovska can be contacted at stefanovska@uthscsa.edu.

Dr. Stefanovska is fluent in Italian, French, and Macedonian.












Photo Gallery

UP mascot:
Erle N. Meyer!