Postdoc Spotlight - Dr. Frances Belmonte

April, 2016



What is your area of specialization?

My PhD was in Molecular and Translational Toxicology. I arrived at this because I did a master's in environmental toxicology and wanted to continue studying tox but in human health. I also first became interested in tox. as an undergrad after taking tox. courses and doing undergrad research in immunotoxicology with commercial broiler chickens.


What is your current research project?

My current project is studying a PIF1 helicase knockout mouse that has mitochondrial complex I dysfunction, becomes obese, and is exercise intolerant. I am trying to work out the mechanism in vitro while characterizing the metabolic profile of the PIF1 knockout mouse.



Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.

A nice experience that I had was generating and maintaining the animal cohorts for my project. I've worked with animals in the past but not as extensively. It was nice to start the whole project from the ground up: ordering mice, breeding, weaning, genotyping, organizing the colony, etc. It doesn't sound like fun but it's been nice to be involved in all aspects of getting the mice ready for experiments.



What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?

I am hoping to make more progress in my postdoc and then see whether I can transition to an independent research career.


If not a scientist, what would you be?

I would probably be working as a toxicologist or doing some kind of outreach work. It would also be great to be a musician, too!