Biochemistry Student Wins Prestigious Goldwater Prize for Pursuing Research That Will Demystify Sensory Dysfunctions | UTSA today | UTSA


These programs paved the way for Oviedo to conduct research in neurobiology and protein biochemistry in Lindsey J. MacPhersonthe laboratory. Working in his lab for more than two years, Oviedo developed interests in studying protein-protein interactions related to disease, including sensory dysfunction.

As a student of biochemistry in the chemistry department of UTSA, Oviedo also took courses with Hector Aguilar, who was one of his mentors in the ESTEEMED program. Aguilar writes that over the past two years, Oviedo “has quickly gained a reputation as the biochemistry major in our department.”

“Receiving this award would not have been possible without the guidance and support of faculty here at UTSA,” Oviedo said. “I am truly grateful to have mentors, such as Dr. Macpherson, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Aguilar, who believed in me and guided me towards my goal of becoming a biomedical research scientist. By winning this award and continuing my career, I hope to become a great mentor like them and guide underrepresented students like me.

As an undergraduate, Oviedo is already involved in research programs outside of UTSA. During the summer of 2021, she participated in a research program at Vanderbilt University and this summer will be an undergraduate summer researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

At Vanderbilt, Oviedo worked in the lab of Vsevolod Gurevichwhere she deepens her interest in the sensory systems of new disciplines.

Next year, Oviedo plans to apply for the Ph.D. programs in biochemistry, where she will conduct research on disease-related protein interactions that will aid in the development of therapeutics. Oviedo’s research mentor Macpherson knows she has the tenacity to succeed at the next level.

“Samantha sets high expectations and relishes challenges,” Macpherson said. “She is energized by the scientific process and will undoubtedly make great contributions to whatever field she chooses to pursue.”

Oviedo hopes to conduct this research as a principal investigator at a research university. Seeing the impact the ESTEEMED program has had on her, Oviedo plans to give back to future generations of scientists from underrepresented backgrounds.

“In addition to becoming a PI, I want to participate in STEM initiatives to help make science accessible to underserved and underrepresented communities,” Oviedo said. “One of my biggest goals in academia is to create a more diverse research workforce.”

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