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
This photo exhibit explores the history and tradition behind the Mexican drink.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring the three finalist candidates for the position of vice president for the Office of Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
This event is an opportunity for students who are interested in the STEM field to meet with employers looking to hire UTSA students for internship and full-time jobs. Bring your resume and dress to impress.H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
This event is an opportunity for students of all majors to meet with employers looking to hire UTSA students for internship and full-time jobs. Bring your resume and dress to impress.H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
The effort and acumen required for students to pursue their dream of a college education is substantial, and the obstructions potentially preventing them from degree completion are many. Dr. Vanessa Sansone will explore how these roadblocks can hinder the ability of vulnerable/diverse populations to traverse class structures.SAY Si, 1518 S. Alamo St., San Antonio
Popular author of Das Floss der Medusa (The Raft of Medusa), Franzobel, visits UTSA to facilitate a discussion (in English) about the current influx of migrants to Europe, the up-tick of right wing parties, and the parallels to his novel. The discussion is free and open to everyone.McKinney Humanities Building (MH 3.01.28), Main Campus
The UTSA Technology Commercialization Center hosts this free webscast will discuss the critical steps when starting a business.Durango Building (DBB 2.112A), Downtown 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.
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