MIT-trained neuroscientist turned professional science storyteller, Caitlin Vander Weele, PhD, leverages her analytical background to develop data-forward strategies that enhance messaging effectiveness and reach target audiences. As the founder and CEO of Stellate Communications, she is passionate about accelerating science and helping her clients maximize their potential in both research and life.
Caitlin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in neuroscience from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focused on the role of dopamine in emotion and decision-making – work that has been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Cell, and Science.
Before establishing Stellate, Caitlin honed her expertise as a PR professional specializing in executive thought leadership and social strategy for biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies. She is a sought-after speaker on topics such as professional brand building, thought leadership, and science communication. She resides in New York City with her husband, daughter, and golden retriever.
Gabi Serrato Marks, PhD
Dr. Gabi Serrato Marks is an MIT-trained scientist with a passion for expanding access to science. As a Partner at Stellate Communications, she primarily supports academic researchers, facilitating greater engagement with scientific and non-scientific audiences alike. Gabi received her B.A. at Bowdoin College and her doctorate in geochemistry from MIT. Her research focused on generating records of past climate change using cave deposits.
She enjoys creating all types of media: Dr. Serrato Marks has published work in Scientific American, Audubon, and the PBS Eons YouTube Channel, and has been featured in several articles and podcasts (Nature Career Guide, Physics Today, Disability Visibility). Gabi is also co-editor of Uncharted, an anthology of personal stories from disabled scientists (Columbia University Press). Gabi is based in Boston and spends her free time drinking iced coffee with her husband and two cats, Spock and Moose.
managing director, web
Fernanda Graciolli has been building websites since she was 11 years old. From Geocities to hard code, her skillset has evolved alongside new emerging technologies. While keeping up with tech as a hobby, she attended the University of Maryland and graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and Neuroscience. She went on to work in neuroscience labs at the University of California, Davis, where her research ranged from human EEG to non-human primate electrophysiology. She has since been working professionally in web development and design.
At Stellate Comms, she combines her academic background with her tech expertise to help academic clients build a visual web presence through websites, logos, illustrations, and animations.
When not at her desk, you can find Fernanda at one of Massachusetts’ beautiful parks with her partner, twins, and dog.
Kathryn (Kitty) Flaherty
Kathryn (Kitty) Flaherty is a Controller and Corporate Content Strategist with 23 years experience in guiding small businesses as they launch and grow. In these roles, she has managed the finances, accounting, and human resources, working closely with owners and managing partners in all the aspects of the business.
Kitty has a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Accounting from Grand Valley State University. She is an avid fan of University of Michigan athletics, plays pickleball, and cherishes relaxing family time at her lake home in western Michigan on the shores of Silver Lake. She resides there in the summer, and at Nettles Island, Florida in the winter with her life partner, Ken Smith. She has three adult children and is ecstatic to be the grandmother of Liliana Pearl Feghali.
Ariana White, MA
Senior Account Supervisor
Ariana White is a Senior Account Supervisor, specializing in media relations, thought leadership and visibility, and account management. She is passionate about translating nuanced science into engaging, creative, and easily digestible content for both general and specialized audiences. As a veteran, 3-year team member of the Stellate team, Ariana leverages her expertise to lead our nonprofit and patient organization clients.
Previously Ariana worked at Syneos Health Communications, working across high-profile pharmaceutical and biotech clients. Within her role she supported product launches, FDA submissions and other major milestone announcements, media strategies, and award submissions.
She holds a MA in Biotechnology and a dual BA in Cognitive Science and Psychology from Johns Hopkins University.
Yewande Pearse, PhD
Yewande Pearse, PhD is a neuroscientist who has dedicated over 10 years of research to understanding how to treat various brain disorders at both King’s College London, The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and The Lundquist Institute at Harbor-UCLA.
Yewande comes to Stellate Communications with experience in the biotech industry where she specialized in competitive intelligence of global biotech markets in neuroscience and other therapeutic areas to help serve more patients.
Yewande is a passionate science communicator, her communication work exists at the intersection of science and culture, where she strives to make science accessible for all. She produced and hosted Sound Science on Dublab Radio and has collaborated with Headspace, Natural History Museum, Female Collective, SEED, Science Gallery Detroit, NAVEL, Fathomers, Massive Science, TEDMED, DEEM Journal, Grow Magazine by Ginkgo Bioworks and more.
Clare Reynell, PhD
Clare Reynell, PhD, is a neuroscientist with over 13 years of research and academic administration experience. She has worked in several competitive labs internationally and across multiple disciplines, including the University College London, University of Montreal, Cedars-Sinai, and Caltech. As a scientist, she has spent most of her career preoccupied with astrocytes–investigating their role in neurovascular coupling, synaptic plasticity, and injury repair.
Beyond the bench, Clare has helped establish and support multiple labs through management, grantsmanship, technical writing, marketing, and relationship development. With a passion for science administration and communication, Clare is excited to build new relationships with Stellate’s investigator clients and use her experience to help their research programs grow and thrive.
Clare is based in Pasadena, where she lives with her wife, daughter, and dog. Outside of science, she enjoys hiking, swimming, and book clubs.
Milena Pirozzi, MSc, PhD
Milena Pirozzi, MSc, PhD is a neurogeneticist with a passion for patient advocacy, community building and equal access to health care and education. Milena’s work focused on in vitro human 2D- and 3D-neuronal models for neurodevelopmental disorders; genotype-phenotype associations; genome editing; and high-throughput drug screenings in both academia and industry. At Stellate Communications, she aims to use her knowledge, creativity and leadership experience to help others achieve their scientific milestones and professional goals.
Milena completed her MSc in Genomics and PhD in Molecular Genetics in Italy, where she contributed to identify and characterize new genes, mutations and neurodevelopmental disorders. She went on to complete two postdocs (KU Leuven-Belgium, Case Western Reserve University-Cleveland) before taking on a role as senior scientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Eventually, Milena led the Neuroscience Division for a biotech start-up in Seattle before joining our team.
Jessa Alexander, MPHis a neuroscientist and public health researcher with 10 years of experience in academic research. She uses her experience in research management to help scientists communicate their research goals clearly and build sustainable lab structures. She brings with her a passion for program development and amplifying the impact of scientific findings for public benefit.
Jessa completed her MPH at UC Berkeley where she studied the relationship between built community environments and wellbeing. Previously, Jessa coordinated the research program at the Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics (C-ACT) at theIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, served as a staff research associate at the UCSF Weill Center for Neurosciences, and acted as lab manager for theDirector of the Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech.
Outside of scientific work, Jessa is a career mentor for young LGBTQ+ scientists. She enjoys caring for carnivorous plants and exploring small towns in the Hudson Valley of New York with her spouse and dog.
Stefania Cerisano, PhD
Stefania Cerisano, PhD is a cognitive scientist specializing in working memory, divided attention, and psychological indices of cognitive effort. At Stellate Communications, she aims to use her research and leadership experience to help others achieve their science communication and professional goals.
Stefania completed her PhD in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University, where she studied the complex relationship between listening in noise, dual-task demands, and cognitive effort. While at McMaster, Stefania had the opportunity to lead two student groups focused on community engagement, science communication, and the promotion of equity in science and academic study.
Beyond Stellate, Stefania loves baking, hiking in the waterfall capital of the world, and playing flute with a concert band of talented local musicians.
Kaila Parker, PhD
Kaila Parker, PhD is a behavioral neuroscientist specializing in translational research, spanning bench to bedside. At Stellate, she uses her basic and clinical research experience to help researchers, organizations, and institutes share their science. She brings with her a passion for engaging and communicating with underrepresented populations.
Kaila completed her PhD at The University of Texas at Austin where she studied recovery after traumatic brain injury and exposure to early life stress. Her work examined early inflammation as a biomarker for neuron loss in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. She also received F31 funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Previously, Kaila served as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic.
Outside of Stellate, Kaila is a certified yoga instructor and teaches in and out of the studio. She loves traveling with her husband, competing against herself in all the NYT word games, and taking her dog Cooper on trail walks.
Deb Joye, PhD
Senior Account Supervisor
Dr. Deb Joye (they/she) is a Milwaukee-based neuroscientist who received their PhD from Marquette University and a BS in Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience from UC San Diego. Her scientific research focused on the neural circuitry of circadian rhythms.
Deb is a talented science communicator and loves making complex ideas accessible and engaging for a wide range of audiences. Their experience includes collaborating with UCSD's BioClock Studio, leading outreach seminars, and volunteering as a writer and editor for BrainPost, a blog that simplifies neuroscience research findings.
As seasoned Stellate veteran, Deb specializes in helping academic researchers find innovative and approachable ways to share their scientific stories with the world. Outside of work, Deb enjoys listening to music, reading, spending time with friends, exploring the Midwest's natural beauty, and spending time with her partner and their cat, Ramona.
Rhien Hare (she/her) is a reproductive health researcher and employs her passions for women’s rights and science communication to create a research-directed platform focusing on the science communication surrounding menstrual and reproductive health.
Rhien holds an Honors BSc. in molecular biology from the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada where she completed her undergraduate thesis examining menstrual effects of COVID-19 vaccination and appropriate streams of communication surrounding them. She is currently working to complete her Master of Public Health (MPH) at Simon Fraser University, with a specialization in knowledge translation.
At Stellate, Rhien aims to use her strong social media and communications background to support clients in telling their own science stories. Outside of work and studying, Rhien loves exploring the beautiful province of BC, indulging her deep appreciation for coffee, and nurturing her ever-growing collection of houseplants.
Beatrix (Trix) Nerisse Reganit
Trix finished her BS in Agricultural Economics with a major in Production Economics and Farm Management at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. During her training in agricultural economics, she discovered a passion for supporting others as a virtual Executive Assistant.
As a 2-year team member at Stellate, Trix brings a unique and systematic approach to her role as an Account Assistant. She adeptly manages administrative tasks on behalf of clients, the company, and its executive team. She combines her economic insights with precision and detail-oriented work to ensure that everyone’s needs are met quickly and efficiently.
Beyond her virtual desk, Trix enjoys exploring local coffee shops, watching live musicals and plays, and engaging in outreach activities.
Bailey C. Sarka, PhD
Bailey C. Sarka, PhD joins the Stellate team with a passion for making science both fun and accessible. She enjoys using creative visuals and analogies to break down complex ideas to bridge the gap between scientific and non-scientific communities.
Bailey received her PhD in behavioral neuroscience at the Medical College of Wisconsin where she studied the comorbidity of neuropathic pain and drug-seeking behavior. She earned her BA in biology from Adrian College where she played collegiate soccer.
During her doctoral program, she was deeply involved in wellness initiatives and promoting inclusivity. She co-led the conception and implementation of the first-ever Wellness Lounge at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Outside of science, Bailey enjoys co-ed soccer, weightlifting, hanging out with her dog, and tackling a good DIY project.