Each of the students has participated in the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) or Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) programs, federally funded undergraduate research training and support programs that aim to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing careers in the behavioral field. and biomedical sciences.
Helal is currently a student at Honors College and Juarez and Tritley are recent Honors College graduates. Helal came to UTSA three years ago as a transfer student from Loyola University Chicago. She joined Teja Gudain the fall of 2019 and studies the mechanisms of tracheal stenosis, a respiratory condition prevalent in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Cruz joined the biomedical engineering laboratory of Chris Rathbone in early 2021 to study the effects of diabetes on skeletal muscle. She plans to pursue research in neuroscience while obtaining her doctorate. and hopes to learn more about the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease.
Juarez ’20 is now a second year Ph.D. student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint academic partnership between Emory University and Georgia Tech in Atlanta. His research focuses on the bioengineering of synthetic immune organs in a box or on a chip. By developing these mini-organs, she intends to study responses to vaccines, infections and changes in the gut microbiome. During her undergraduate studies at UTSA, she worked with a researcher in macromolecular bio-interfaces Gabriela Romero Uribe.
Tritley enrolled at UTSA as an undergraduate student after medical issues ended his Air Force career. He is the first National Science Foundation graduate researcher in UTSA and UT-Health’s joint doctoral program in biomedical engineering, where he is currently researching new ways to model the human brain with Eric Brey and Amina Qutub.
UTSA students Claudia Necklace, Ray Hagimoto and Linh tram received honorable mentions from the NSF.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is the oldest fellowship program in the nation that directly supports graduate students in various STEM fields. Since 1952, the NSF has awarded more than 60,000 graduate research grants among 500,000 applicants. Currently, 42 scholars have become Nobel Laureates and more than 450 have become members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.