Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
B.S. Biochemistry, California State University, Los Angeles
About me: Dr. Diana Azurdia has been a member of SACNAS for 16 years. She is a Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute (2014 LPSI) and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Advanced Leadership Institute (2016 SACNAS - HHMI ALI) Alumni. Currently, Dr. Azurdia serves on the national SACNAS Board of Directors and as a UCLA Chapter Co-Advisor.
Dr. Azurdia leads UCLA’s effort to enhance diversity in the biomedical graduate student population by cultivating a strong inclusive graduate training culture focused on personal wellbeing, professional development, mentorship and leadership. She has directed several programs that broaden participation in science, served as adjunct faculty in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department at CSU Los Angeles and performed postdoctoral research in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, investigating the role of Wnt/betacatenin signaling on histone modification and its role in metastasis and proliferation of triple-negative breast cancer cells. She earned her PhD in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry from UCLA, where she was a NIGMS Predoctoral Fellow (F31), and graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from CSU Los Angeles, where she was a NIH MARC trainee and participated in the NSF LSAMP program. Dr. Azurdia is a first-generation Guatemalan-American and the first in her family to attend college. She grew up in a low-income household with very limited resources and her first exposure to the idea that science could be pursued as a career came through the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program. As the beneficiary of broadening participation programs she believes that initiatives that promote access to STEM degrees are important for equal representation of all identities in science, the creation of innovations that serve all communities and income equity. Consequently, Dr. Azurdia has devoted her career to promoting initiatives that serve those causes. Additionally, she attributes her ability to navigate her academic career to key mentors and therefore a major focus of her work centers on the propagation of effective mentoring of underrepresented individuals in STEM.
Maria Flores email@example.com Standing: 4th Year Graduate Student Major: Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology Hometown: Elkhart, IN Research Project: I work in Jose Rodriguez's lab where I utilize structural methods- primarily electron microscopy, to study a highly disordered but functional protein in different conformational states. About me: I grew up in a small town in Indiana and attended Indiana University Bloomington for my undergrad. I moved to LA to work on my PhD. As a first-generation student and the first in my family to attend a traditional four year college and receive a bachelors degree, I recognize the importance of effective mentoring and outreach and commit my time to ensure all students receive the same opportunities to allow them to succeed. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, my dog, watching reality TV and going to the beach!
Clara Cano firstname.lastname@example.org Standing: 3rd year Graduate Student Major: GPB-Gene Regulation Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Research Project: I work in Kathrin Plath's lab where we study X-chromosome inactivation (XCI). This is the transcriptional silencing of most genes on one of the two X- chromosomes in placental female mammals and ensures the balanced expression of sex chromosomes required for development and tissue homeostasis. We focus on the Xist, which is the lncRNA regulator of XCI. I utilize a combination of genomics and proteomics methods to learn more about Xist and XCI. About Me: I grew up in Monterey park, CA and attended California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) where I obtained a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry. At CSULA I was an MBRS-RISE fellow and received a Masters of Science in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. As a first-generation college student I recognize the importance of effective mentorship and community play a role in student success. As a graduate student I am excited to be a part of SACNAS! In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, my dog and my guilty pleasure...reality TV!
Internal & External Affairs Chair
Standing: 2nd Year Graduate Student Program: Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Doctoral Program Hometown: Fontana, CA Research Project: My undergraduate research focused on increasing efficacy of targeted and immune therapies in Melanoma. I am currently in the Lowry Lab studying the molecular mechanisms and metabolism of epidermal squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and hair follicle stem cells. About me: I grew up in Fontana, CA and come from a traditional immigrant Latino background. As a first-generation college student, I believe in the importance of inclusion and diversity in higher education and that all students should have an equal opportunity to pursue their educational ambitions. I graduated from UCLA in 2019 with a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry as a MARC Scholar and hope to continue to participate in SACNAS and foster a scientific community. For fun, I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.