Who We Are

Our Mission

To foster entrepreneurship among UC Berkeley’s postdocs and graduate students, through education, awareness, and hands-on opportunities. We connect aspiring entrepreneurs with mentors, resources, and partners. Situated in a vibrant business climate and with access to the greatest pool of postdoc talent in the world, BPEP catalyzes productive collaboration on scientifically complex challenges with lasting economic benefits.

Our Team

The Executive Committee 2023-2024

We are a group of postdocs and visiting scholars with diverse backgrounds. 

Executive Director

Dr. Naresh Sunkara

Visiting Scholar & Post-doc Affairs (VSPA), UC Berkeley 

Naresh Sunkara is a Visiting Scholar and previously a postdoctoral scientist at UC Berkeley who worked on developing novel technologies for delivery of RNAi therapeutics for fighting viral infections. Naresh is the founder and currently the Executive Director of the Berkeley Postdoctoral Entrepreneurship Program and the Berkeley Science Fellows Program. Naresh works closely with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Intellectual Property and Industry Alliances Office (IPIRA) and is a Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor for Research (Postdoctoral affairs). He has experience founding and working with several startups. He is currently the COO for BioAmp Diagnostics.


Sarvesh Kumar

Sarvesh Kumar

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley

Sarvesh, currently a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Labs Chemical Science Division, is dedicated to unraveling the intricacies of electron-electron correlation and molecular dynamics within molecules of both fundamental and astrochemical significance. Sarvesh's Ph.D. focused on exploring electron transfer processes within biologically relevant molecules specializing in Applied Atomic and Molecular Physics at NOVA University Lisbon, Portugal. Since 2022, as a Postdoc, Sarvesh finds himself embarking on an exciting journey into the realms of molecular dynamics and astrochemistry. Check out his LinkedIn here.

Marjan FaiziMarjan Faizi

Quantitative Biosciences, UC Berkeley

Marjan Faizi is a postdoc at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at UC Berkeley, where her focus is on applying language models to explore questions related to post-transcriptional regulation. She is a Bioinformatician by training and completed her PhD at the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany, where she developed mathematical models and optimization problems to study phototrophic growth. Previously, she worked as a Postdoc at Harvard Medical School and developed a Python module for analyzing mass spectrometry data. Beyond her research, Marjan enjoys volleyball, ping pong, and practicing yoga.

Board Members

Shivani SharmaShivani Sharma

Associate Chair

Shivani Sharma joined University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Scholar and is a Fulbright Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Chemistry Department. Her present work focuses on developing solutions for critical metal ion entrapment. She completed her PhD from IISER Pune, India and is now at the University of Cambridge as a postdoctoral research scholar where she developed sorbents for the direct air capture of carbon dioxide to mitigate climate crisis. She likes to dance, travel, and read in her free time.

Domenico ImparatoDomenico Imparato

Vice Chair, Corporate Relations

Domenico Imparato is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Global Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and the University of Hamburg, Germany. Domenico’s academic work lies at the crossroads of international finance, corporate governance, and tax policy within the ever-evolving landscape of capital markets. His research encompasses diverse areas such as alternative asset management and private equity, family businesses, public corporations, tech and growth companies, venture capital.

Tom HataTom Hata

Vice Chair, Corporate Relations

Tom Hata is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the hydrodynamic consequences of form vs function in colonial protozoans to explore the origin of multicellularity in animals. He was previously Co-Founder and VP AI at LookDeep Health, where he led the development of AI-driven hospital patient monitoring. Prior to that, he was an R&D Process Engineer at RheoSense before becoming an independent data science consultant. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from Stanford University and B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley.

Yun ChenYun Chen

Vice Chair, External Partnerships

Yun Chen is a Visiting Scholar in the Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley where her research focuses on Evolution and Revolution: Legal Landscape for Foreign Direct Investment and Dispute Resolution in the People’s Republic of China. As one of founding members and equity partner of R&P China Lawyers, Yun advises and represents foreign and foreign-invested companies on foreign direct investment, international trade, general corporate matters. Yun has received recognition in major international legal directories such as Asialaw’s Leading Lawyers/Notable Practitioners in the fields of Corporate/M&A since 2014.

Monica R Cesinger

Monica R. Cesinger

Vice Chair

Monica is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. N. Cecilia Martinez-Gomez at UC Berkeley, where I am repurposing methylotroph metabolisms to develop biotechnologies for rare earth element sequestration.

Andrea Blanco

Andrea Rodriguez-Blanco

Vice Chair, Internal Partnerships

Andrea is a Visiting Student Researcher in the Chemistry Department at UC Berkeley. She works on error characterization and error mitigation for atom-based quantum computers under the supervision of Prof. Birgitta Whaley. During her time as a Ph.D. student at Complutense University of Madrid, she participated in entrepreneurship programs to learn how to launch a spin-off from her Ph.D. thesis project on quantum error correction. Check out her LinkedIn here. 

Sultana Anwar

Sultana Anwar

Vice Chair, Internal Partnerships

Sultana Anwar, postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at University of California, Berkeley. Trying to tackle the climate change by improving the plant carbon sequestration potential by genetic engineering and genome editing technology. Being a citizen of a developing country Pakistan, trying to bring positive change in the lower income families. Want to serve community by every possible way, maybe just a smile, positive attitude, motivation and positive energy. Check out her LinkedIn here.

Jacob Steenwyk

Jacob Steenwyk

Vice Chair, Internal Relations

Jacob L. Steenwyk is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) postdoc and has diverse research interests, including genome evolution and function, fungal pathogenicity, and software engineering for the life sciences. He has experience as a consultant and advisor for biotechnology companies. He looks forward to forging new relationships in academia and bioindustry alike. Check out his LinkedIn here.

Bidrea Alnasser

Bidrea Alnasser

Vice Chair, Alumni Coordination

Bidrea Alnasser serves as a vice chair of BPEP and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She is happy to help all startups affiliated with BPEP connect to Berkeley resources but is particularly keen on getting involved with startups working on digital assets and democratizing capital markets.

Alex Graeml

Alex Graeml

Vice Chair, Alumni Coordination

Alex Graeml is a former Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley and currently a full professor at the Federal University of Technology in Curitiba, Brazil. His research interstest include collective intelligence and social social computing. Alex is also a visiting professor at the Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieurs (Esigelec) Business Information Systems Masters Programme, in Rouen, France, where he teaches a graduate course every year.

Our History

We are the Berkeley Postdoc Entrepreneur Program (BPEP), made for, by, and of postdocs at UC Berkeley.  We are passionate about educating postdocs on entrepreneurship, fostering collaborations with scientists, faculty, MBAs and the entrepreneur community in the Bay area. In November 2010, Naresh Sunkara came up with the idea of establishing an organization aimed at fostering entrepreneurship amongst postdocs. Upon receiving enthusiastic support from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) office, he collaborated and set up an advisory board of faculty members from UC Berkeley, QB3, and the Lester center for entrepreneurship.