Contributed by Franklin Garcia, PhD, UCI MIND Postdoctoral Fellow
“On this Research Diversity Day, I would like to share my early undergraduate experience that paved the way for my interest in aging research.
The concept of pursuing a career in scientific research was new to me since, as a first-generation university student, I didn’t have mentors or older peers that could shed some insight or guidance. Fortunately, during my last two years as an undergraduate student at UC Irvine, I received mentorship from my research advisor, Prof. Frank LaFerla and the faculty advisors in the Neurobiology major. As an undergraduate, I studied how co-morbidities, such as ischemic strokes can influence Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology. Prof. LaFerla’s mentoring style and input by the wonderful lab community inspired me to continue to study aging related disorders.
Now, as a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow, the National Institute on Aging is supporting my research in the laboratory of Prof. Marcelo Wood to investigate how epigenetic mechanisms change during aging and adversely affect gene expression patterns necessary for long-term memory formation. The span of my undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral experiences has each played a key role in shaping my decision to pursue a career in neuroscience research and eventually lead studies that focus on collaboration across disciplines and openness to mentor the next generation of researchers.”
Supporting undergraduate research is critical for helping promote #diversity in the research workforce. Join @Alzheimers_NIH and the #ResearchDiversity Twitter chat today to hear from students and investigators, like Franklin, about their experiences with research and NIH training programs!