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
During the forums, the UTSA community will have the opportunity to hear each finalist give an overview of their qualifications, their interest in the position and their vision, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
All UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring finalist candidates for the dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.Various Locations, Main Campus
Co-sponsored by UTSA, the regional conference provides a venue to bring together scholars in the fields of archaeology, ethnography, art history and the general public to share information on research focused on the cultures of the Mesoamerican region. The conference is free and open to the public.San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., San Antonio
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event (weather permitting).Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughn Jr. Observatory, FLN 4th floor, Main Campus
Future Roadrunners experience life and opportunities at UTSA during this one day Fall Open House.Various locations, Main Campus
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will welcome historian Gregory Peek of Penn State University and a panel of music scene personalities to recount the Alamo City’s place in the heavy metal landscape.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA is an early voting site for the statewide General Election.H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
The UTSA Office of the President and the UTSA College of Public Policy present a discussion on San Antonio’s charter amendments. Event will be livestreamed to UTSA Main Campus, Travis Room – HSU 2.202Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus