We hope our research in brain function will impact the lives of patient populations as well as the general public. Our research studies how the brain works and how the brain may change with different genetic disorders, health conditions and the basic human experience of living. Specifically, we hope to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that cause brain disorders, such as childhood epilepsy. By studying these ideas in our laboratory, we can translate basic discoveries into cures and preventative strategies to help improve the lives of people living with different disorders.
What is one major goal you have for your life or your career?
My goal is to be an example and mentor, and my major objective is to train the next the generation of scientists. I especially want to promote, support and advocate for the advancement of women in science.
Have you had any mentors? How do they inform what you do now?
Yes, I have had many mentors throughout my career. I believe solid mentorship is essential for a successful career in scientific discovery, and my mentors today provide a constant source of inspiration and career guidance.
What would you say to a student who is interested in entering your field?
My best advice for someone who is entering this field is to identify the most important problem in the field and to not be afraid of taking risks. Don’t do something because everything else is doing it. Do something truly new. A career in scientific discovery requires a curious, creative mind, and I would encourage new scientists to embrace and trust this creativity.
What do you think the biggest challenge researchers in your field are facing?
The most talked about challenges are funding concerns, and issues with rigor and reproducibility in science. What is less talked about is that science is poorly communicated. To improve science communication, being able to explain your work to a non-scientific audience is just as important as publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. But this skill is under-rewarded in the current system. Another challenge is the incredibly stressful life of a Ph.D. or postdoc. I believe we need to focus on supporting a work/life balance to cultivate successes in the laboratory. For example, family leave policies and child care solutions can help support the next generation of researchers.
What is the most important thing going on in your field that no one is talking about?
One idea that isn’t discussed too often is the regulations and laws behind research with human subjects. Right now, Congress is working to change these laws in the favor of scientists to decrease administrative burdens for collecting patient information and patient samples, which I believe would increase research activity.
Specifically, the regulations for biobanks of human biospecimens is under review. If this is approved, patients would be able to donate their information and biosamples to large research systems and biobanks in a more streamlined, highly ethical way. We will see if these new regulations go into effect in July of this year.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.” -- Marie Curie
In honor of UTSA's 50th Anniversary in 2019, the university is hosting Roadrunner Days Spring Edition - two weeks of semester-launching activities built around our deeply held values of student success, student involvement, community service and fun!Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Opening Reception got exhibit featuring artists Miguel Aragon, Aaron Coleman, Sandra Fernandez, Annalise Gratovich, Marco Hernandez, Kristen Powers Nowlin, & Patricia Villalobos EcheverriaMain Art Gallery, Arts Building (ART 2.03.04), Main Campus
Tracy Cowden, Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music and chair of the UTSA Department of Music launches the UTSA 50th Anniversary Scholars Speaker Series with Music as Medicine: The Power and Influence of Music on our Health.Radius Center, 411 E. Martin, San Antonio
UTSA African American Studies Program presents this series featuring Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus)
Join fellow Runners to walk for 10 minutes on the Main Campus. The event reminds us of the importance of exercise, diet and healthy habits in protecting our hearts.Outside the North Paseo Building, Main Campus
The annual event features authentic foods, music, dance, martial arts, shopping, games and entertainment from China, to the Indian Sub-continent, and the island nations of the Pacific. The Festival features two stages, a martial arts demonstration area, children’s hands on crafting area, anime activities, bonsai and ikebana displays, mahjong table and more.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA Libraries will host Bryan Gervais, UTSA assistant professor in the Dept. of Political Science & Geography, for his presentation "Political Incivility in the Digital Age." Pizza will be provided to UTSA students while supplies last.John Peace Library Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22)
Level up your career with a graduate business degree from the UTSA College of Business. Join us for this Open House to learn which of our 13 degree programs is right for you.Business Building (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.