Why did you choose the Nutrition Program at Texas A&M?
As part of my role as a Licensed Dietitian in Mexico, I worked closely providing nutrition care and education to patients with various types and stages of cancer. Experiencing firsthand how devastating cancer can be, motivated me to pursue a deeper understanding of this disease and how nutrition can aid in preventing it. With this purpose in mind, I seek for a graduate degree program abroad focused on dietary interventions for the prevention of cancer. While looking at the different graduate programs offered in the United States, I found in the Nutrition Program at Texas A&M University the best fit for my interests due to its large concentration of researchers investigating distinct dietary compounds as chemopreventive agents to fight against different types of cancer. Additionally, this program offered me the opportunity to combine my doctoral academic requirements with the Didactic Program in Dietetics, to become a Registered Dietitian and further fulfill my professional goals.
What is the subject of your dissertation research?
My research is focused on the role of dietary components and cancer biology, specifically colorectal cancer. My dissertation research aims to elucidate the mechanisms by which the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor modulates colorectal cancer development. Through the use of a novel mouse model fed a high-fat diet, an increased number of premalignant lesions and tumors have been hypothesized. I expect to characterize the signaling pathways using various molecular biology techniques such as PCR, RNA-sequencing, mass spectrometry, cell culture, histology, among others. After identification of this receptor as a protective target against colorectal cancer, novel therapies and dietary interventions could be implemented in the future.
Why would you recommend the Department of Nutrition and Food Science?
The Department of NFSC has provided me with a nurturing environment full of opportunities to grow in my professional career. Thanks to the expertise and support of its wonderful Faculty, especially my graduate advisor, Dr. Clinton Allred, and my doctoral committee members, I have been able to expand my potential as a young international scientist. Moreover, the Department of NFSC is a small yet multicultural community with a welcoming environment where you can be confident on being heard no matter where you come from.
How has the department prepared you for your future career?
The Department of NFSC frequently provides travel awards to supports graduate students like myself to attend local and national conferences, offering a valuable opportunity for networking and exposure to the current advancements in my field. Additionally, weekly lab meetings and annual symposiums organized within the Department, have allowed me to share my work and receive invaluable feedback to improve as a researcher. During my time in the graduate program, I have been able to gain expertise in novel laboratory techniques and to employ state of the art equipment through training and collaboration with highly skilled faculty and staff within and outside of the Department. The combination of these experiences should prove a valuable asset in my future career as a nutrition researcher.