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Microbiology Alumna Credits UHD for her Success


Dr. Poonam Gulati (left) and Claudia Jimenez Sturman (right) at the SRC 2016.

Claudia Jimenez Sturman, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) alumna (’08) credits UHD for her continued love and respect of science.

Sturman immigrated to the United States from Peru in 2003, and enrolled in the UHD English Language Institute as an ESL student. While an undergraduate, she worked in the laboratory of Associate Professor Poonam Gulati, Ph.D., who became her science mentor, teaching Sturman the basic principles of research. In 2007, she was selected to participate in a student exchange program in Poland at the Technical University of Lodz.

Sturman graduated magna cum laude in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and minors in Biology and Chemistry.  “I genuinely enjoyed my research experience as an undergraduate student here at UHD,” said Sturman. “It inspired me to pursue my Ph.D.”

She added, “As an international student, UHD was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I’m very proud to be a part of this University.”

Prior to graduating, Sturman earned the Excellence in Microbiology Academic Award and became the first recipient of the Joan S. Abramowitz Undergraduate Research Scholarship, which enabled her to work alongside an international leader in anthrax research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC).

In 2009, Sturman was admitted to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UTHSC and graduated with a Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics May 2014. There Sturman studied interactions between the fungal pathogen Candida albicans and the mammalian inmate immune system. She has presented her work at national and international conferences and  been published in peer reviewed journals.

Sturman is a research scientist at Gene by Gene, a DNA-based ancestry and genealogy company that provide clinicians and patients with access to a variety of clinical and research genetic tests. Recently promoted, she will soon transition into her new position as assistant laboratory director. .