Vital Signs

RESEARCH DIVERSITY LEADS TO PERFECT FIT

It was a lecture in her native Puerto Rico where Agnes Constantino first heard about UNMC. The topic, HIV and the blood brain barrier, related to her own undergraduate research interest.

When it came time to choose where she would earn her Ph.D., she remembered that lecture and applied to UNMC.

The Biomedical Research Training Program allows graduate students the opportunity to do research in 10 different areas, from pharmacology and genetic cell biology to pathology and cancer research. After rotations, students choose a home lab to conduct their research project.

The university has a great program in neuroimmunology, Constantino said. I applied to an umbrella program that allowed me to train in different labs and departments so I was exposed to greater research diversity.

Constantino found a home in Dr. Jialin Zheng's neurotoxicology lab in the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience. There, she studies different HIV isolates from Africa and the United States.

Constantino and other graduate students from her department participate in monthly meetings to discuss research, recruitment and other student concerns. The UNMC environment, she said, supports student's ideas and their scientific goals.