B.S., California Lutheran University
My current research interests are in the fields of biomedical science, behavioral neuroscience, and endocannabinoid signaling. Specifically, I look at how the endocannabinoid system becomes dysregulated during obesity and how this modifies eating behavior. The goal of my basic research is to uncover novel mechanisms that can be leveraged for preventative medicine and therapeutics to alleviate obesity. Additionally, I observe the onset of obesity and the dietary components that contribute to this and how they may be involved in reward and addiction circuitry.
My first experience in research was during my undergraduate studies at the California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, CA) under the direction of Dr. Craig Reinhart. Originally, my research focus was on automation of robotic assemblies using microprocessors. By the end of my research project, I had developed algorithms through learning literature searching, computer language coding, and troubleshooting processes. I presented these works at the Annual Research Symposium and Annual Festival of Scholars, both held at Cal Lutheran. I was pursuing a Bioengineering degree but wanted to conduct research in a more biology-centric environment.
I began doing research in the lab of Dr. Nicholas DiPatrizio in March 2015 as part of the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, while working towards my PhD in Bioengineering. Dr. DiPatrizio’s extensive knowledge of the endocannabinoid system and my desire to study the impact of obesity helped to form my current project. In summary, we have published and presented that increasing endocannabinoid signaling in the small intestine of mammals drives overeating and attenuating this signal can reduce overeating seen in obesity.
My continued research is into the cellular mechanisms that control the phenomena that we have observed as well as piecing apart the nuances of the system in largely understudied tissues. I hope to use this research to secure a post-doctoral position where I may study either drug-design for compounds that target key players of the endocannabinoid system, to further the basic research. In addition, I am also searching for post-doctoral positions that will allow me to teach at the University level.
My motivation for doing this research and wanting to become a member of the National Hispanic Science Network are tightly connected; coming from a Mexican-American and Guatemalan-American family, I have seen first-hand the toles that must be paid for obesity and addiction. Many of these concerns can be addressed through education and scientific knowledge, two things that I feel are still growing within my community. I would like to use this opportunity to grow my knowledge of science and education and to also meet and share my experiences with a broad community of scientists.