Being a part of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) has been an incredible academic and personal journey for me. I joined UTMB as a Postbaccalaureate Research Education Scholar (PREP) in 2015 and decided to continue pursuing my PhD in the Microbiology & Immunology program. The individuals I have worked alongside have been key players in nurturing my growth as a scientist and my accomplishments throughout the years. The support and training from my research mentor, Dr. Alfredo Torres, have been essential in my scientific and academic development and he continues to foster my curiosity daily. Other important sources of inspiration stem from my experiences as a scientist of a minority background. The numerous challenges I faced emigrating from Mexico at an early age only fueled my desire to obtain a graduate degree in biomedical science.
My dissertation project focuses on the development of vaccines against bacterial diseases. My project centers on the optimization of novel vaccine delivery platforms capable of providing protection against pathogenic Burkholderia species. Another goal of my project is to assess the immune mechanisms of vaccine-induced protection and their relation to disease outcomes. My dissertation project has allowed me to evaluate a challenging scientific question through a multidisciplinary approach. My future career goal is to continue developing my skills as a scientist and train in an area where I can make a positive impact on an individual level.