An Amgen Scholars Journey From Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México to the University of Tokyo
Julia Carrasco Zanini Sánchez
Mexico City, Mexico
Host University: The University of Tokyo
Home University: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Amgen Scholar Year: 2017
Major: Bachelor's Degree in Basic Biomedical Research
Expected Graduation: 2018
Journey to Science
How did you become interested in science?
When I was a high school student, I took a serious interest in biology and chemistry, and I always asked my teachers: "But how did they find that out?" This was my first approach to scientific discovery and, from there on, I made the decision to get a science-related degree. Upon my entry to university, I started to work on basic science research projects, however I realized that I wanted to do research that would have an actual impact in human health and disease.
Academic and Professional Ambitions
What’s the larger significance of your Amgen Scholars research? What’s your ultimate career goal?
My project at the University of Tokyo focused on understanding the involvement of epigenetic regulation in trophoblast (embryonic cells) stem cell differentiation. As trophoblast cells are directly exposed to maternal blood, they are particularly susceptible to undergo modifications in their epigenetic status in response to the maternal environment. Understanding the impact of such modification will provide knowledge into fetal adaptations and alterations in response to adverse intrauterine conditions. After I graduate, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. with a focus on translational research.
Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?
I think that one of the best ways to learn is by conducting scientific research. It makes you aware that scientific knowledge is dynamic and constantly advancing, always challenging current knowledge. Therefore, I thought that the Amgen Scholars Program would be a great opportunity to learn and get involved in current research questions, still unanswered, in stem cell biology.
What aspects of the program did you enjoy most? What do you love about the Amgen Scholars Program?
The program provided me with the opportunity to discuss my research project and results with all my lab members and to propose experiments to develop and further understand my research questions. I enjoyed meeting people from all around the world who are enthusiastic about collaborating with a common objective to further develop scientific knowledge. Creating these networks will be very important for the future generation of scientists.
To learn more about the Amgen Scholars Program, please visit AmgenScholars.com and check out the #AmgenScholars hashtag on Twitter. Follow @AmgenFoundation to stay up to date with all STEM-related news from the Amgen Foundation.