In what field was your PhD? How did you arrive at this specialization?
My PhD was in environmental toxicology and chemical carcinogenesis. I studied centrosome defects caused by the lung carcinogen hexavalent chromium, which is a metal of environmental and occupational concern. I came to this field through my previous work with whales (yes!). I used to be a field biologist but while doing fieldwork with cetaceans in the Argentine Patagonia, I became interested in the detrimental effects of environmental contaminants, specifically on genome stability. A laboratory in Maine merged all my interests so I moved to the USA to pursue my PhD.
What is your current research project?
My current research project aims to understand the role of a novel protein complex, the Shu complex, in homologous recombination repair which is one of the main pathways to repair DNA double strand breaks. Double strand breaks are one of the most toxic DNA lesions and defects in their repair are associated with cancers as well as syndromes characterized with genome instability.
Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.
I was selected to give a flash (3 minute) talk at the UPCI annual retreat. It was a fun experience and also quite challenging to summarize intro, methods, results and conclusions in pretty much 3 slides. I never had to practice so much for a presentation!
What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?
I would love to be able to start my own lab and contribute to our understanding of how environmental exposures lead to human disease.
If not a scientist, what would you be?
A professional dancer.