Welcome to CienciaPR, an expert and resource network for all who are interested in science and Puerto Rico.
I was born in the tiny Caribbean island of Puerto Rico during the waning days of the Generation X, to a microbiologist and a registered nurse. Naturally, coming from a scientific family, I decided to "save" the world by becoming a scientist. I earned a BS in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus, where I was an active member of the Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Associations and of the Golden Key Honor Society. I graduated Magna Cum Laude, with extensive research and teaching experience, of which the Department of Energy Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award I received during my third year was of special significance. I spent a whole semester working under the guidance of Dr. Johnway Gao at the Pacific Northwest National Lab, where I learned a lot about applied and basic research. He also enticed me into applying to Cornell University where, a few years later, I was accepted in the BMCB Graduate Program, joining the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Bretscher. There I worked on the regulation of membrane trafficking using budding yeast as a model system. During that time I was heavily involved in recruitment activities for the department and the graduate school, visiting Puerto Rico several times, and activily participating in the SACNAS's graduate booth 3 times. About that same time I joined CienciaPR. I completed the PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and moved on into the host-pathogen interactions field, joining the lab of Dr. Tamara Doering at Washington University School of Medicine, studying the interactions between a pathogenic fungus and its human host. Most recently, I was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Biological Scieces at the University of Notre Dame, where I keep studying the cell biology of funal infections.
Currently, I'm applying my cell biology knowledge to describe the behavior of Cryptococcus during infection of host cells. My primary research goals are to understand how Cryptococcus can survive inside host phagocytes and cross cellular barriers, which are the main drivers of disease progression.
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