Alumni


Dr. Adan Colon-Carmona

Dr. Adan Colon-Carmona immigrated to the United States from Zacatecas, Mexico, when he was 6. He grew up in the Los Angeles area, primarily in the communities of Sepulveda and Norwalk. He comes from a working class family, and was the first of 6 siblings to attend college. Dr.Colon-Carmona completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at UC Santa Cruz and then went on and earned his Ph.D at UC Irvine in Plant Cell and Developmental Biology.Throughout his career he has focused on projects involving the regulation of the cytoskeleton, plant-microbe interactions, and science education and mentoring. He did his postdoctoral training at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UC Davis. He is currently the Associate professor of the Department of Biology at UMB and is focusing in providing high quality research in the areas of plant biology, educating the next generation of scientists, and promoting social justice via efforts in education access and equity.


 

  


Belem Avila, Ph.D.


Dr. Belem Avila received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Santa Cruz.  She then went on to work at a pharmaceutical company as an analytical chemist for almost two years. After gaining professional experience she joined Professor Mark Kurth lab at UC Davis and earned her PhD in Chemistry.  During her graduate career she worked on a variety of small molecule synthesis projects with biological application. One of her highlights in graduate school was doing a summer internship at Gilead Sciences, Inc where she gained invaluable skills in medicinal chemistry. Currently, she is an inclusive postdoctoral fellow at Santa Clara University working under the direction of Professor Michael Carrasco.


 

 

 

 

 

Dora Guzmán

Dora Guzmán participated in the ACE program and MBRS while an undergraduate at UCSC. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University in the Bioengineering Department. Her research investigates biophysical mechanisms of host defense peptides in health and disease, primarily, their involvement in neonatal immunology and development. She graduated from UCSC in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry, and  went on to obtain her Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCI in 2009. She is happily married with two children (her son is a freshman at UCSC, and her daughter is a first grader). She credits the ACE program at UCSC with having strengthened her foundation in science and further inspiring her to strive for more. 


 

George Negrete

George Negrete was born in Compton, California. He was one of five sons, and one out of three to go to college. He started at Stanford and then took 6 years off. It was not until the end of this year span that he returned to his studies at San Jose City College and SJSU. As a first-generation college student his dream has always been to contribute to promoting diversity in the sciences while having fun conducting research; therefore, completing his studies was an essential step towards achieving his goal. He began his doctoral studies and completed them under the supervision of Professor Joe Konopelski at UCSC and later did his Post-doc in the laboratory of Professor Tom Meehan at UCSF before proceeding to UTSA. Today he is a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he has taught for 19+ years. As part of his job he is also in charge of developing the infrastructure for academic programs designed to support and encourage students to proceed to doctoral programs and recruiting faculty to help achieve this goal. 


 

Alejandro Ramirez

Alejandro Ramirez is an alumnus of the MBRS program and completed his BA in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology in 2002. Following the completion of his undergraduate work he conducted studies aimed at understanding the molecular basis of nucleic acid:protein interactions as a research associate at the University of California, San Francisco. He went on to complete his doctorate degree from Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University in 2009. His doctoral research focused on identifying and characterizing mammalian tRNA splicing enzymes. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California where he focuses on HIV-1 vaccine development. 


 

 
 

Marina L. Ramon, PhD 
Senior Program Manager for Postdoc & Professional Programs

Marina L. Ramon, PhD, is Senior Program Manager for Postdoc and Professional Programs and has been a SACNAS member since 2005.  She coordinates, manages and develops leadership and professional development programs for SACNAS’ postdoctoral fellows and professional scientists.  She earned her PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As a research scientist she used molecular approaches to investigate fundamental processes in evolution and ecology of marine fishes.   Before joining SACNAS, she was a NSF Minority Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California. Dr. Ramon has participated in several programs to increase the number of underrepresented minorities and women in science and has mentored students at different stages of their science careers.  She continues to be active in biology research and mentoring.


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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