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 2020-2021

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

Naresh Sunkara

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.

Saad Mouti

Dr. Saad Mouti 
Consortium for Data Analytics in Risk (CDAR)

Saad Mouti completed his Ph.D in Financial and Actuarial Mathematics at Pierre and Marie Curie University in 2017. Prior to that, he obtained a financial engineering diploma from the National School of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science of Grenoble in 2010 and an M.Sc. in Statistical Processing of Information from Paris-Dauphine University in 2011. Saad’s thesis was funded by AXA to address different financial risks for the life insurance industry englobing pricing and hedging of life insurance products, policyholders’ behavior, rough volatility modeling, and market impact. His current research interests include SRI investing, market impact and volatility modeling and forecasting.

Prof. Alexandre Graeml
Federal University of Technology, Brazil

Alexandre is a full professor in the Business Administration and the Applied Computing graduate programs at the Federal University of Technology - Parana, in Brazil. He was a visiting scholar at UCB in 2018-2019 and keeps involved with the BPEP program since. He is currently supporting the generation of multimedia material based on the events BPEP organizes.

Dr. Hyunjin Shim
Earth and Planetary Sciences, UC Berkeley

Hyunjin is a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Berkeley. She is interested in biotech startups and incubators - to transform innovative ideas from academic research into a tangible solution to the problems of public health. Through the activities of BPEP, she is motivated to bring diversity and originality to the start-up culture.

Dr. Tadesse Alemu
Earth and Planetary Sciences, UC Berkeley

Tadesse Alemu is a UC President's postdoc at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Berkeley. Currently, he is doing a (U-Th)/He dating combined with paleomagnetic constraints to provide the necessary data for the testing of mechanisms for large scale landscape evolution following Precambrian mountain formation in Africa and Arabia. He is also interested in continental rifting and geomorphic processes, particularly in the East African Rift System. Tadesse worked as a Visiting Professor at Skidmore College teaching earthquakes and volcanoes among others and interned on the application of geodetic tools for societal issues project with UNAVCO. He also serves on the board of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Education and Public Outreach Standing Committee. Tadesse’s startup interests are related to natural hazards and geodetic consulting and educational services.

Mr. Benson Jung
Materials Science & Engineering, UC Berkeley

Benson is a PhD student working with Prof. Ting Xu on a nanocarrier platform for drug delivery to the brain. 

Dr. Srinidhi Bheesette 
Detector development group, LBNL 

Srinidhi Bheesette (Shri) is an experimental physicist working at the Berkeley lab. He specialises in the development and the characterisation of detectors for laser and medical imaging. He pursued his PhD at the University of Otago, Christchurch, NZ in collaboration with Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN, Geneva, Switzerlanad on the CMS-NZ Medipix project. He enjoys hiking, camping and long drives during his free time.


Dr. Yan Zhang 

Yan joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Dec 2018 as a NERSC Postdoctoral Fellow working on machine learning related scientific applications. He is currently working on using deep learning models to analyze spatial-temporal data (fMRI images of human brain) on HPC systems. Yan has a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering at Northeastern University, Boston, MA where he worked on using signal processing and x-ray scattering techniques to study biomacromolecular structures in biomass. After graduation, he worked at Argonne National Laboratory on machine learning and smart sampling for scanning electron microscopy. Yan also worked at Seagate Technology and Rudolph Technology as interns on SEM and AFM image analysis during graduate school.


Dr. Ajay B Harish
Civil & Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley


Ajay B Harish is a developer at the SimCenter and Post-doc at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. He obtained a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from Leibniz University Hannover (Germany); Masters in Aeronautics from California Institute of Technology (USA) and a Bachelor from NITK Surathkal (India). He has been a part of three start-up companies over the last decade. 

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.