11:13 AM

Adjunct Earns Two Awards at Prestigious New England Science Symposium

mesias pedroza2Mesias Pedroza, UHD alum and natural sciences adjunct, recently presented research at the 2014 New England Science Symposium Conference at Harvard Medical School.

"This time it was really competitive, high caliber research was presented from top places across the nation, and not to mention, the judges were drilling me with tough questions, he said. "But I thought, 'I survived the UHD faculty, I should be prepare for that'."

Pedroza was presented with two awards:

-Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research Postdoc Award, Harvard Medical School, 2nd Place, 2014 New England Science Symposium Conference, Boston, MA

-Ruth and William Silen, M.D. Award, Harvard Medical School, 2nd Place, 2014 New England Science Symposium Conference, Boston, MA

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Postdoctoral Awards recognize postdoctoral participants who create outstanding scientific posters, while the Ruth and William Silen, M.D. Awards recognize participants who deliver outstanding oral presentations and who create exceptional scientific posters.

Pedroza performs research as a post-doctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, which focuses on Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive, irreversible pulmonary disorder. According to Pedroza, IPF is associated with an appalling prognosis, much worse than that of many cancers, generally lethal within three to five years from the time of diagnosis. Currently, there are no known effective treatments for IPF. Therefore, understanding how patients develop IPF is of great importance in order to identify potential therapeutic targets.

At UHD, Pedroza teaches the lab for biochemistry.

"Since I graduated from UHD, I know the significant effects that guided experience and mentorship can have in the life and career path of disadvantaged students," Pedroza said. "As a freshman at UHD, a general biology course completely changed my perspective on science. The faculty at UHD instilled in me the passion for science and the confidence to pursue my career goals, that is to become an independent research scientist seeking to translate advances in science to the care of patients. Throughout these mentoring experiences, I recognized the importance of inspiring and educating younger students. Because of such great role models, it is my determination to make a difference in the life of students as well."

The New England Science Symposium, established in 2002, provides a forum for postdoctoral fellows; medical, dental and graduate students; post-baccalaureates; college and community college students (particularly for African-American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals) to share their biomedical and health-related research activities through oral or poster presentations, to engage in discussions related to career development in the sciences, to exchange ideas and to expand their professional networks.