Martha Bhattacharya, PhD

Faculty Director, VIP Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute

Martha Bhattacharya, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Department of Neuroscience, where her research focuses on the molecular pathways involved in the degeneration of axons, the threadlike cell structures that are critical for neuronal communication. Her lab’s work has broad applications, with potential to improve the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, peripheral neuropathy, and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Bhattacharya joined Vertically Integrated Projects in 2021 when she launched Brain Communication Networks, one of UArizona’s first VIP teams. That same year, she received the Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award from the College of Science, in recognition of outstanding classroom teaching in her VIP team and her undergraduate course “How to Build a Brain” (NSCS 440). In 2022, she was awarded the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award, a UArizona award for teaching and mentoring given by undergraduate students to one faculty member per year.

Since August 2022, Dr. Bhattacharya has also been the Faculty Director for VIP at UArizona. In this role, she leads the program’s efforts in faculty and student recruitment, as well as strategic initiatives to advance VIP’s research productivity; educational outcomes; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Bhattacharya earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University and a PhD in cell biology at the University of California, San Francisco. She completed postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2014, she was appointed to her first tenure-track faculty position at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy (now University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy). She began her position at the University of Arizona in January 2017.

Leah Callovini, MS

Undergraduate Research Coordinator, VIP Program

Leah Callovini (she/her/hers) supports the VIP programs administratively. Leah has spent the last five years working in higher education at two different institutions. Most recently, she spent three years at Campus Recreation at the University of Arizona prior to joining the VIP team in May 2022. She is passionate about her work with students and hopes to continue building on the current success of the VIP programs at the UArizona. She earned her BA from George Washington University and her MS from Temple University. Leah is also currently a PhD student studying Health Behavior Health Promotion in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.