Graduate Student Directory
Research interests: HIV, HCMV
I was born and raised in a country with a rich diversity of flora and fauna, El Salvador. When I was seven, I received a microscope from my dad, and I was completely fascinated with anything I could fit on the stage. Noxious chemical mixing was also on the menu of fun activities. I once somehow managed to get stung by a swarm of bees while testing my latest chemical mixture on an ant colony near their hive. When I was thirteen, I moved to the United States. After transitioning and graduating high school I was fortunate enough to join a laboratory at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, a premiere plant biology research institute in my hometown, Ardmore, Oklahoma. After a summer of research my decision was solidified. I would pursue a career in research.
I attended the University of Oklahoma (OU) and majored in Microbiology. At OU I was exposed to a wide variety of anaerobic bacterial research. I decided to join a lab that focused on molecular systematics. While microbe hunting was interesting, I was more fascinated by viruses and their uncanny ability to commandeer the cell to execute their selfish instructions. So, I decided to go the University of Wisconsin-Madison to work with Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV). After completing my internship I was convinced that viruses were my passion. While taking a virology course my senior year I became interested in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) so I decided to apply to several schools with strong HIV research.
I chose Duke University because of their strong program in HIV vaccine research. I joined Dr. Sallie Permar’s laboratory, which focuses on protection correlates of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and HCMV. My interests lay at the nexus of virology and immunology. Specifically, identifying immunological correlates that confer protection from virus acquisition in infants.
When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy reading, listening to music, playing with my dog (a Sheltie named Nina), riding my motorcycle, learning about historical relics of the Cold War (i.e., North Korea), unsolicitedly educating people around me about science, and better understanding the world around me.
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