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Power Latina of the Week

Success Story - Dr. Cecilia Zurita-Lopez


Dr. Cecilia Zurita-Lopez received a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UCLA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). She has now returned to CSULA and is completing her first year as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. Prior to this appointment, she was a postdoctoral researcher, where, under the direction of Dr. Andrea Armani at the University of Southern California (USC), she took part in the development of a non-invasive detector for early-stage cancer cells. Having lost her mother to breast cancer, she was excited to contribute to the development of a device capable of detecting epigenetic markers prominent in cancer. Her research at CSULA is centered on the crosstalk between arginine methylation and phosphorylation of histone proteins. She is convinced that these types of interactions are critical to understanding fundamental processes and can lead the way to greater therapeutics and individual analysis of patients. She is committed to sharing her knowledge, skills and love of science with enthusiastic students. One of her goals is to make her research interdisciplinary so that students from a variety of backgrounds ranging from biology, biochemistry, physics and chemistry can benefit. As an under-represented minority of Latino descent she has benefited greatly from programs that have explicitly embraced diversity. She does not believe she would currently be an Assistant Professor without the positive experiences she received as an undergraduate student and without programs that offer support to minorities in science. She is excited to be back at CSULA, whose diverse community will allow her to reach out and do what others have done for her.

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