La Monarca Vol 4 FINAL - Page 17



DOCTORAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT
D i e g o O rt e g a D e l V e c c h y o
to improve human health.” While his stated goal is not
to save humanity, Diego is currently collaborating with
other researchers examining the genetic factors contributing to autisim.
Reflecting on how he has become part of such a complex field, he says, “I had no idea when I first started
my studies that I wanted to do bioinformatics. The
human genome had just been sequenced and I thought
about all the ways it will influence human health and
the way we’re living.” Since then he has only become
more interested in this area.
Although he just completed his Ph.D. at UCLA, he
already has eight peer-reviewed publications in toptier journals, with several more on the way. Says Diego
about his time at UCLA, “I think I got what I came
for!” •
DOCTORAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT
Janin Guzmán-Morales
Continued from page 5
as well as when a climate mode known as the Pacific
Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is in a warm phase. With
El Niño and the PDO warm phase aligning during
2016, and the legacy of the extreme drought lingering
in California, many people are paying close attention
to these results in anticipation of another devastating
fire season.
While Janin’s academic goals are now clear, the pathway to this point was not so straightforward. After
majoring in chemistry at the Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México, she was accepted to the graduate program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
one of the leading climate research centers in the
world. She initially conducted research on atmospheric chemistry, switching her focus later to climate science. It was only then that she discovered her interest
in the Santa Ana winds, which was driven as much by
scientific curiosity as by a sense of social obligation.
As she explains, “If I invested all this time in science, I
wanted it to be useful to someone...I have an opportunity that a lot of people would like to have, so I better
take advantage of it.”
Santa Ana Winds, El Niño and PDO. For now, she
has much more data to pore over and several more
papers to write. As for the future, she hopes to be
engaged in research that has strong potential for social
benefit. With predictions of future impacts due to climate change, drought, El Niño and wildfires, Janin’s
research is critical and central to understanding, quite
literally, which way the wind blows. •
Indeed, she has already published an important
paper highlighting the links she’s found between the
UC MEXUS-CONACYT DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP NEWSLET TER
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