Office of Postdoctoral Affairs


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.

2023 - 2024 UP Officers

Dr. Francisca Acosta, 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. Michael Wedemeyer, Finance Officer

Finance Officer

Dr. Wedemeyer received his PhD in Biochemistry from the Medical College of Wisconsin and is currently a postdoctoral fellow working under the guidance of Dr. William Clarke and Dr. Kelly Berg in the Department of Pharmacology at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Wedemeyer's research is focused on improving pain therapies through understanding novel pathways of opioid receptor signaling and regulation.

As UP’s Financial Officer, Michael's current role is organizing financial documents and maintaining the association records in coordination with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. He also works with the other UP Officers to create opportunities for Postdocs to network and build soft skills.

Dr. Manpreet K. Semwal, Networking Officer

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 

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

Dr. Sven Hoekstra, Professional Development Officer

Professional Development Officer

Dr. Sven Hoekstra was born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow working within the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and the South Texas Veteran Affairs Hospital. His research aims to 1) understand the impact of spinal cord injury on chronic disease risk and 2) develop and test accessible interventions to improve cardiometabolic health in this population. Currently his primary research project assesses the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of passive heat therapy in persons with chronic spinal cord injury. 

As a UP Professional Development Officer he hopes to help strengthen the sense of community among Postdoctoral Fellows and to facilitate meaningful career development events and opportunities for Fellows. 

Sven is fluent in Dutch and has working knowledge of French. 

Dr. Bojana Stefanovska, Communication Officer

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 San Antonio.

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

Dr. Jyoti Baranwal, International Affairs Officer

International Affairs Officer

Dr. Jyoti Baranwal was born and brought up in Varanasi, India. She completed her PhD from Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER) in Pune, India where she discovered the unique mechanism of action of a small Ras-like GTPase, MglA and its effector protein, MglB in Myxococcus xanthus. Currently, she is working on RNA methylases involved in cancer at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (GCCRI). She is actively engaged in scientific outreach activities such as the Indian Science Theatre, and she is a volunteer for the scientific community “Biopatrika”. 

As UP’s International Affairs Officer, her goal is to improve the integration of international scholars by creating an open communication channel.