The NICHD Connection would like to introduce NICHD’s new Post-baccalaureate (Postbac) Institutes and Centers (IC) Representative, Ariel Lucas Eraso. Postbac IC reps serve on the NIH-wide Pre-IRTA Committee on behalf of the institute’s postbac fellow population. They also work closely with the NICHD Office of Education to plan events of interest to the postbacs, whether academic or social. NICHD currently has approximately 100 postbacs who are conducting both clinical and basic science research.
My name is Ariel Lucas Eraso! I was born in Argentina and moved to the United States when I was five. I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) in 2018 with a major in biology and a minor in theatre. My love for sciences developed first in high school when I took chemistry. My unique upbringing as a first-generation immigrant in a primarily Spanish-speaking neighborhood has pushed me to study health disparities. My ultimate goal is to combine these passions, with my love for theatre and performance, to research the molecular epidemiology of disease.
I spent the bulk of my undergraduate experience working with Dr. Peter Fields on projects involving the biochemical mechanisms that marine organisms undergo in order to compensate for heat stress. One of the two main projects I was involved with focused on characterizing seasonal variation in the transcriptome of Geukensia demissa (an intertidal mussel). The other project focused on using homology-modeled protein structures, for coral and their symbionts, to conduct in silico molecular dynamics experiments. This attempted to recreate how metabolic proteins, endogenous to these organisms, react to heat stress in vivo. Currently, I work under Dr. Pedro Rocha in Building 6B, using mouse models to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms governing organization of DNA in the nucleus. My project aims to characterize unknown proteins that may be involved in helping non-coding regulatory regions to initiate transcription of genes.
The change from undergraduate level work into full-time research can be difficult on the bench, and off. My goal as one of the postbac representatives is to help the new class of students have an easy transition into “postbachood.” I hope my tenure as a liaison for the postbacs will allow us to build a community that is rewarding to be a part of.
You can contact Ariel at firstname.lastname@example.org.